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MalwareBytes 1.45 Free Review and Download

2. April 2010

main screen malwarebytes

    Malwarebytes 1.45 is one of the most famous free antispyware available.  The software has won numerous awards from PC magazine and is the fifth most downloaded program on; even my dad has read about malwarebytes on the wall street journal.  The antivirus scanner is known for its fast scanning and extensive database.  While, malwarebytes has gained a lot of publicity, I still feel it lacks several important features (aka real-time shield) when compared to other free antispyware such as Spyware Terminator.
    The first thing allows Malwarebytes to stand out, is the absence of any bundled program.  Today almost 95% of free antivirus include some sort of toolbar or bundled software.  This means that MalwareBytes 1.45 is really a true freeware application.
    The scanning process is where MalwareBytes really shines.  In the 1.45 version, there are now 3 different scanning options including a quick system scan, a full system scan, and a flash scan.  The quick system scan really is “quick” and completed in 1 minute and 56 seconds.  The second time the scan was run it completed in exactly 1 minute.  Ironically, the full system scan completed in an even faster 25 seconds and scanned 85165 files total.  In order to achieve these impressive scan times, MalwareBytes has to have some sort of memory scan in which it only scans non-trusted or newer files.  While, this is a trend in the antivirus industry I believe that hackers will have the ability to eventually game this functionality but, enjoy the fast scanning times while they last.

virus scan in progress malwarebytes

    The virus scan picked up a false positive that I reported a few months back called Hijack Display Properties.  This false positive surprisingly hasn’t been fixed even in the latest 1.45 version.  I am pretty sure that MalwareBytes has known about this issue for years and pretty much ignored it.  I guess this might have to do with that fact that the software is a one man operation and potentially lacks the resources to fix the definitions (not necessarily a good sign)?  Anyone who runs a 64 bit Windows OS will detect this false positive and probably think that it is a virus  or spyware.  So, this is a pretty serious issue.

    There are also some other concerns with MalwareBytes 1.45.  In the settings section, I noticed that Malwarebytes already has checked the option to participate in their threat network.  This means that whenever MalwareBytes 1.45 detects a virus or spyware (or maybe after every scan), it will send system information, the files detected etc.  to MalwareBytes servers.  Unfortunately, since the option is already selected a user might not know that this information is being involuntary sent.  Almost all antivirus software will at least alert the user with a courtesy message with the option to enable or disable the sending of system information.

sending usage data malware bytes

    MalwareBytes offers some additional features called more tools.  Inside there is a bug reporting tool and a fileAssassin tool.  The fileAssassin tool can delete locked files on command.  This is excellent if a virus is in use by a process and gives the user an access denied message when trying to delete the file normally within Windows.  However, it is important that a user actually knows what file they are deleting because they could potentially delete a system file.

    The malware bytes installation file is only 5 megabytes in size and the update was about 4 megabytes in size.  During scanning, MalwareBytes 1.45 utilized about 78 megabytes and remained at about 15 percent CPU usage throughout the scan.  I personally have had a lot of success running Malware Bytes on older systems with Windows 2000 installed.  In fact, MalwareBytes was at times the only scanner I could run on some really old systems.

    MalwareBytes does lack a real time shield and does not actively protect against any system modifications.  However, this could be considered beneficial because the software can coexist with any other antivirus software and can be installed on the fly without any potential system conflicts.   

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