With a history of about nine years, Malwarebytes is now one of the biggest anti-malware solutions. The first version of Malwarebytes was launched at the beginning of 2008 by Marcin Kleczynski and Bruce Harrison. Located in San Jose, California, this security corporation offers protection for more than 250 million computers.
In 2016, a new version of their flagship product was launched. Malwarebytes 3.0 includes protection against ransomware, malware, threats and infected sites.
1. System requirements and installation
For this review, we downloaded the latest version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware from the producer’s website. The application is compatible with the Windows-based operating systems. It can be installed on Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and Windows 10. You need to have Service Pack 2 installed, for Win XP and Service Pack 1, for Windows Vista, to be able to use Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 3.0.
The official system requirements ask for at least 2GB of memory and a 2MHz processor. We’ve installed Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 3.0 on a few machines, from a Win XP with 512MB of RAM and 1GHz, to a Windows 10 machine with 16GB of memory and 3GHz Intel Core i7 processor.
The installation process is straightforward and fast. During installation, the interface displays the main features of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. We found no problems at this level, even if we installed it on about seven different machines.
After installation, you need to use your credentials (username and key) to activate the Premium Edition on your machine. The activation is very similar with Bitdefender’s and Norton’s activations, previously reviewed by our team.
Malwarebytes 3.0 comes with an excellent and well-designed interface. The main screen displays the active features, the scan status, and the protection history. In a single screen, you can see all the potential problems of your machine. The number of infected files, the last update and the number of scanned items are also displayed on the same screen.
The latest version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware comes with a few interesting protection modules. Its main features are:
- a powerful web security module;
- a strong anti-malware section;
- an anti-ransomware module;
- an anti-exploit area;
You need to know that all these features are only available in the paid edition or the trial mode. The free version doesn’t have these capabilities active. The free edition allows only system scanning and does not offer real-time protection against the threats.
The web security module
This feature offers full protection against infected sites or other potentially infected hosts. The sites are automatically blocked and a message is displayed, as you can see in the screenshot below. The IP address, the file responsible for connection and the port are also present in the report.
Malwarebytes Anti Malware allows you to exclude the uninfected sites using the Manage Exclusions area. You can access this section using the next path Settings > Exclusions. Once here, add the banned websites into the list.
What we didn’t like was that the module is not smart enough to recognize only the domain name. This means that the entire URL needs to be added as exclusion instead of the domain name. This potential problem should be fixed in a future release to avoid any confusion. However, it’s up to Malwarebytes engineers to implement this suggestion.
We tested the web protection module for this review by visiting multiple infected websites. This feature works very well, and we were pleased to see that all of them have been blocked. Another capability which could be eventually added is to display a message in the browser, instead of a blank page. The popup displayed could be ignored by a non-familiar user, a better solution could be the described one.
The anti-malware module
The main core of Malwarebytes 3.0 is its anti-malware module. This great security module comes with a series of additional settings, which offer more liberty when the computer owner decide to scan the machine.
You have three scanning methods: Threat scan, Custom scan, and Hyper scan. The Hyper scan is only available in the paid version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, the free version allows you to use the first two scanning methods.
The scans can also be configured as you can see in the screenshot below. You may scan memory objects, startup and registry settings. Malwarebytes can also scan for rootkits, for Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUP), for Potentially Unwanted Modifications and archive content.
You can choose to ignore the detections, to display only warnings or treat all the detection as malware. The scan can be done partially, by selecting only the area where you think the virus is located.
For this review, we tested the anti-malware module in multiple ways. We suggest you run at least a Hyper scan if you want to make sure your computer is safe. Threat scan is the most effective. If you found nothing, the PC is probably healthy.
The scan has a few steps, displayed on the app’s interface. The scan is always performed after a threats definitions update. The memory, the startup files, and the registries are examined on the first stage. The last two steps are the scan system files and the heuristic analysis.
The heuristic analysis uses various algorithms so detect any unusual or suspicious activity. The heuristic scan is the main reason because Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 2021 is so effective. Zero-day threats, and dangerous spyware, unseen until that moment can be detected and blocked in a matter of seconds.
When a threat is detected, Malwarebytes displays a message, as you can see below.
Depending on threat type, sometimes the screen color vary. We’ve not sure, but probably if the threat is dangerous, the color used for the warning is red.
The detected unwanted malware is automatically moved into the quarantine. If you think some of them are false positives, you can choose to restore them. However, we advise you to follow Malwarebytes’s recommendations and completely remove the threats.
Malwarebytes can detect and remove a large range of threats: adware, malware, worms, viruses, Trojans and spyware.
The anti-ransomware module
The latest version of MBAM includes a ransomware protection module. Notice that this feature only prevents the ransom files encryption. This module is also unable to decrypt the files encrypted by ransom.
We were unable to test it against a real ransomware attack because we don’t want to work with such kind of files. For ransomware removal, Malwarebytes offers a free beta tool, available for download, here. They are planning to introduce this feature in the following version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
The anti-exploit feature
The anti-exploit module is included in the anti-malware section. It could be disabled if you don’t want to keep it active.
We suggest you keep it active, to make sure you’re protected against zero-day attacks and other unwanted vulnerabilities.
3. Other functionalities
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 2021 comes with an interesting scan scheduler. You can use it to run in-depth scans when you’re not using your computer. The frequency scan can be customized, also the moment when it should start and the type of scan.
You can also establish various rules in the event of a missed system scan.
Another interesting and useful feature is its capability to protect itself against unwanted modifications. We advise you to keep this option active. Go to Settings, select Enable self-protection module and activate it.
We also suggest you to check it the Automatic Quarantine is active, to make sure the detected threats are moved into a protected area before negatively impact the computer’s activity.
Keeping the running at startup active is also a recommended setting if you use the Premium Edition of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 2020.
4. Loaded resources
The main downside of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is its resources consumption on scanning. If you need to perform a full or a partial scan, you need at least a medium computer because the machine can be slowed down. However, you can schedule a scan when you don’t use the computer.
The real time protection does not have a substantial impact on computer’s resources, we’ve only seen the effect on computer’s speed when a scan has been performed. If you don’t plan to scan your computer very often, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 2021 is an excellent choice.
6. Value for money
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium Edition comes with a very good price. With only 39.99 USD per year, you’ll get a one-year license and protection for one Windows based computer.
If you’re a Mac owner, you can get a compatible version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, for free. Make sure you run at least Mac OS X 10.9 before decide to use it. We did not test the Mac version for this review, and we can’t say if it’s good or not.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 3.0 Premium is an excellent product. If you don’t plan to use it for daily custom scans, you can trust this application for a complete computer protection.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 3.0 Premium has received international reconnaissance as one of the most reliable anti-malware solutions.
Even if this solution is not multi-prized, like our top three antivirus applications, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 2021 is an excellent choice for your Windows computer protection.
8. Associated products
Malwarebytes also offers a mobile version of its application. You need to run at least Android 4.1 Jelly Bean to be able to install it on your device. The Mac version described before is available for free download and use. Another free software offered by Malwarebytes is the free anti ransomware beta tool, available here.
Malwarebytes also provides custom business solutions against threats and malware. If you’re a company concerned about security, you’ll make no mistake if you choose this company for your business protection.
9. Pros and cons
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware comes with a series of pros and cons.
- Great effectiveness
- Impressive detection rate
- Protection against ransomware
- Excellent removal capabilities
- Easy to use interface
- Protection against zero-day threats
- The custom scan can slow down the computer’s speed
10. Review conclusions
We were pleasantly surprised to see how effective and good this antivirus is in the tests performed for this review. With a nice and easy to use interface, a great effectiveness in malware detection and removal, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 2021 is an excellent choice for any computer owner.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware offers full protection against threats, viruses, worms, spyware and adware.
Our rating: 9.1/10
Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and 10
At a price of only 39.99 USD, the latest version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium is a good deal. Try to check our page for new offers. We will keep this page updated with their latest deals and coupons.
Updated: January 06, 2021