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Malwarebytes FREE and PRO/Premium - Mini-Review.

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Originally posted:2012-10-30 - for the version series v1.x on XP, Vista Ultimate and Win7HP (64-bit)
2014-06-28 - for the version series v2.x on Vista Ultimate and Win8, 8.1 (64-bit) and PRO
2017-02-02 - for the version series v3.x on Win10-64 PRO
Last updated2014-03-17 - this was my final/last update for the version series v1.x on XP, Vista Ultimate and Win7HP (64-bit)
2014-09-26 - this relates to updates regarding the later version series v2.x on  Vista Ultimate, Win8, 8.1 (64-bit)
2015-03-27 - version 2.1.4 update.[/b]
2015-05-12 - note re McAfee Stinger.(Refer: How it compares to similar products)
2017-02-02  - version (with the "Awesome" screens...)

Basic Info
App Name
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (MBAM) $FREE and PRO/Premium
"Because your anti-virus alone is not enough"Thumbs-Up Rating :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup:App URL Version Reviewed$FREE versions v1.x on XP and Win7.
(PAID) PRO versions up to v1.75.0.1300 on Vista Ultimate and Win7.
(PAID) Premium v2.0.4.1028 on Win8,8.1-64 PRO.
(PAID) Premium v3.0.6.1469 on Win10-64 PRO
(Not tested/reviewed $FREE versions v2.x on Win8,8.1.)
Current VersionPremium v3.0.6.1469 as at 2017-01-28Test System SpecsWin XP
Vista Ultimate
Win 7-64 Home Premium.
Win8,8.1-64 PRO.
Win10-64 PRO
Supported OSesCompatible with Win 64-bit/32-bit.Support MethodsDownload:
Help file: comes with the software.Upgrade PolicyUpgrades are FREE to the $FREE version
and also to the paid PRO and Premium versions.Trial Version Available?$FREE - as reviewed in this review.Pricing SchemePRO/Premium version US$26.00 (approx.).
See: What's the difference between the Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free and PRO/Premium versions? : Malwarebytes Support
The free and PRO/Premium versions are only available for non-commercial use.
Non-commercial licences are valid indefinitely (lifetime).
For commercial use, there is an extended licence costing approx. $6 for 2 years
Licencing notes:

* 1. In the discussion below, @mwb1100 mentions that, from an old thread in DC Forum - here, a 20% discount coupon code (from March 2012) for Malwarebytes was still valid as at 30 October 2012: BM6-3S7-665.
* 2. Refer also the discussion thread Malwarebytes is moving away from lifetime licenses
Intro and Overview:
MBAM (Malwarebytes Anti-Malware) is a malware detector/avoider/fixer, not an anti-virus checker. It protects you from sources of infection by malware/adware - stuff that can get past an AV checker because it does not behave like a virus. It also can be used to "forensically"  (that's my term for it) clean up PCs that have already been infected by malware/adware - and viruses.
I originally started trialling MBAM (the $FREE version, with version series 1.x) on PCs/laptops using Win XP, and then Win 7, just as a suck-it-and-see exercise. I then purchased the PAID (PRO) version, as my trial had proved MBAM to be a superb tool for malware avoidance, detection and removal - and virus removal - and there seemed to be nothing else quite like it on the market (or not that I was aware of, anyway) until I came across McAfee Stinger Portable | (which I have not trialled).
I later installed MBAM Premium (PAID) on a temporary laptop using Vista Ultimate, and then another laptop using Win8 and its upgrade to 8.1 (using my existing MBAM PRO licence). The Win8 version was different to the Win7 version, and used the version series 2.x. On 2014-07-03, I noticed that the Vista Ultimate installation of MBAM updated itself from version series the newer version series 2.x, so I would guess that the version series 1.x might now be obsolete.

This review is split up below into three parts:

* 1. Using MBAM version series 3.x (on computers with the Win10-64 PRO operating system).
* 2. Using MBAM version series 2.x (on computers with the Vista Ultimate (32-bit) and Win8, 8.1-64 operating systems).
* 3. Using MBAM version series 1.x (on computers with the WinXP, Vista  (32-bit) Ultimate or Win7-64 operating systems).
1. Using MBAM version series 3.x Premium (PAID)
UPDATE 2017-02-02: Release of version (with the "Awesome" screens...)
General notes re v3.x:

* I have not had the time to exhaustively check this version out yet, having only just updated to v3.x
* I would have updated a couple of weeks ago but was delayed because the v3.x updater could not seem to run standalone or automatically from the GUI update command (the installers kept crashing with the same obscure error). This went on for a couple of weeks, so I had to wait till I had the time to fix it.
* I then used the latest version of the special MBAM uninstall software to force a clean uninstall of the v2.x, before running the v3.x installer. That seemed to work OK.
* NB: Before uninstalling MBAM v2.x you need to Deactivate the licence.
You then install the new version and Reactivate the licence.
I found from experience that failure to understand this (it decrements/increments a counter in the licencing database at MBAM HQ), means that the user will exhaust the allotted number of key uses, and will have to file a request with MBAM support to get the licence revalidated. MBAM Support were very helpful.    :-[ 
* An initial glitch in MBAM seems to be that v3 sometimes starts up from a cold boot with "Realtime protection disabled", when it had been enabled at setup time. Then the user cannot then enable it in the GUI (you press the button and it sits there thinking, but apparently doing nothing). The workaround I have for this is simply to close/terminate MBAM and then restart it. Not sure if the settings are always persistent for the next boot though.
* This update otherwise looks like it has a few relatively minor changes/improvements, including to the GUI (again), which now exudes an irritatingly positive colloquial personality, telling the user that things are OK with the cliché "Awesome".     :huh: 
* I intend to search up for an independent review of MBAM v3.x and post the link here.
2. Using MBAM version series 2.x Premium (PAID)
UPDATE 2015-03-27: Release of version 2.1.4

* This update includes some major changes and improvements, including to the GUI. There is a good review of this update here: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 2.1.4 brings new UI redesign | 404 Tech Support
General notes re v2.x:
Having taken delivery of a refurbished Toshiba L855D laptop running Win8-64, one of the first things I did was to install MBAM PRO using my existing installer backup copy and my existing MBAM PRO licence. However, I then found that the real-time checking functionality of MBAM was disabled - presumably by the pre-installed Norton AV that came with the laptop. In the discussion thread below, I describe how I uninstalled/expunged Norton AV, then enabled MS Security Essentials (which is now part of Windows Defender and which had been been disabled by Norton AV), then re-installed MBAM - which could then operate its real-time checking functionality unimpeded.
On running a full scan with MBAM, it detected and removed a PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program) that Norton AV must have missed. After I had connected the laptop to the Internet, MBAM automatically updated itself to the latest version of MBAM Premium, and I subsequently got the Win 8.1 update to complete successfully (it would not do so before).

There's not a lot to report otherwise, except that the latest MBAM Premium version 2.x GUI and modus operandi are different/improved to the MBAM PRO version 1.x. These differences are discussed in a rigorous test review report of MBAM Premium, by the excellent Neil J. Rubenking - Lab Results Looking Up - Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 2.0 Review & Rating |
So, for more information, please refer to that review - which also includes 10 or so screenshots of the MBAM GUI and windows.
(My thanks to @Arizona Hot for pointing out the PCMAG review in his comment Re: Interesting "stuff".)

Summary rating from that PCMAG review:
Note that Install and scan in Safe Mode is a newly-added feature, and the Chameleon and rootkit scan features were previously functions that were separate to and not integrated with MBAM v1.x.
Installs and scans in Safe Mode.
Chameleon technology resists malware attack.[Note: this is always ON by default]
Excellent results in malware removal lab test.
Improved user interface and ease of use.
Integrates previously separate rootkit scan.
Premium version has real-time protection against attack.
FREE version has No real-time protection against attack.
When other antivirus products fail, tech support agents turn to Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 2.0.
It remains a very effective cleanup tool, and with version 2.0 it gets significant improvements in appearance and ease of use.
3. Using MBAM version series 1.x ($FREE) and PRO (PAID)
Examples of use:

* Cleanup #1: I had seen MBAM referred to in DC Forum and other forums, and first downloaded the FREE version in 2010 to help me clean a friend's new laptop. The laptop was running Win7-64, and had been infected with a particularly tenacious hijack trojan.
The trojan had somehow got past the Microsoft Security Essentials anti-virus software that I had installed in the laptop. The user had clicked on a link in a piece of spam email that he had received, and that had triggered the trojan to download.
The laptop being unusable (locked by the Trojan), I removed the 2.5" format hard drive and attached it via a USB caddy to my laptop - having previously already installed MBAM onto my laptop (WinXP) for this purpose.
The ease with which MBAM scanned, quarantined and helped eradicate the trojan was very impressive.
I realised that the features which were not enabled in the FREE version of MBAM - realtime scanning and blocking of incoming/outgoing URLs - would be necessary for this user's laptop.
So I bought two MBAM PRO licences - one for the user and one for myself.

* Cleanup #2: In early 2012 I used MBAM PRO again to clean up another user's laptop. This one was running Win XP, and had seven (7) viruses and trojans on board. It didn't have a current anti-virus proggy, and they let their 8 y/o daughter play games online with it. C'est la vie. Children are notoriously casual and click-happy with a mouse.
Again, the ease with which MBAM scanned, quarantined and helped eradicate the malware was very impressive.
After cleaning-up the laptop with MBAM, I installed Microsoft Security Essentials on the laptop.

* Realtime protection: I use MBAM PRO on two laptops (both using Win7-64 HP), and have set it in always-on realtime mode. I and my daughter are the users of both laptops - she mainly uses one that we call "hers". The realtime activity is not intrusive and has no apparent excessive overhead - seems to leave performance unaffected.
When the logs of the realtime mode show that MBAM PRO has blocked a site, I always check up that site's bona fides, and so far they have all turned out to be dodgy sites. This is great for peace-of-mind - especially mine! I know that my daughter's casual click-happy antics as she browses are unlikely to cause any malware/adware to be downloaded. (I saw from the second cleanup described above how a child can inadvertently wreak havoc like that.)
Note the comment and screenshot from @dcwul62 regarding resource loading/ usage and sluggishness on his system when MBAM is running - Re: Malwarebytes FREE and PRO - Mini-Review.. From my experience, if the user initiates a malware scan, then, though MBAM is unobtrusive, there may be an intermittent sluggishness, but this is little different to what one might expect when initiating (say) an MS Security Essentials virus scan. Again, in my experience, when MBAM is running and just in real-time protection mode, there is no noticeable delay, but YMMV.

* Other users: The following comment by @Innuendo in the discussion thread Malwarebytes is moving away from lifetime licenses was echoed by some other users on the DC Forum:
I bought a MBAM license a few years back, not because I wanted/needed the real-time protection, but because I wanted to support them because they have helped me get *metric tons* of crap off of the computers that people have dragged in front of me begging me to fix over the years.
-Innuendo (March 15, 2014, 06:39 PM)
--- End quote ---

Here are some screenshots of the tabbed UI:

Here is proof of it having done its job: (Quarantined some nasty adware in a downloaded program.)

Who this software is designed for:
The software is designed for any home or business user who is keen to mitigate/avoid the risk of infection by malware/adware.
It is also an excellent tool for detecting and eradicating malware/adware on already-infected PCs, and for preventing further infection.
If you feel you have no need for the always-on realtime checking feature, then you may only need the FREE version rather than the PRO version. Here is a comparison between the two, from the website:
(Thanks to @tomos for pointing me to this.)

The Good:

* Does a superb job of cleaning malware/adware off an infected PC. (FREE and PRO versions).
* Does a superb job of realtime blocking of incoming/outgoing traffic to "bad" URLs whilst browsing. (PRO version only)
* Works well and without conflicting the anti-virus package. (FREE and PRO versions)
The needs improvement section:
Nothing to comment on here.
When I first started using MBAM in 2010, the UI had seemed a bit sluggish to me, but this disappeared after 2 or 3 updates later.

Why I think you should use this product:

* Risk mitigation: and it's probably only a matter of time before you belatedly discover that you should have bought the PRO version.
* Cost-effective: MBAM (FREE and PRO version) is a relatively cheap and cost-effective security tool to have on board to treat malware/adware infection, and (PRO version) to mitigate against future infection.
How it compares to similar products:
I do not have any knowledge or experience of comparable tools to MBAM. It seems to sit in a niche.
On 2014-07-03 I came across McAfee Stinger Portable | (which I have not trialled).
2015-05-12: Also see ghacks post about Stinger and a PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program) here - McAfee Stinger installs McAfee Validation Trust Protection Service

Get this anti-malware tool!
It is extremely effective.

Links to other info sources/reviews of this application:
You will be able to find various references to MBAM if you google "Malwarebytes". I have not so far come across any particularly critical or adverse comments about it.

On the MBAM More Tools tab, there are 4 other applications you can get from software authors:

* Secure Backup
* Anti-Rootkit
* Chameleon
* StartupLite

In the discussion thread: FBI ALERT SCAM - Malware or Virus ? one DC Forum member had used one of those apps and recommended it - the Chameleon app. The Chameleon helped overcome an infection of a newer version of the FBI Scam. Once installed, Chameleon killed the process and enabled normal use of the PC again.

If you get the FBI scam hoax/hijack virus, you will apparently see an alarming "WARNING" screen. There are apparently different screens you might see. Do a Google search for "FBI scam images" and you will see them.

Thanks Iain
I've had a license for the pro version for a couple of months now, but haven't installed it yet - this might be me moving.

Here's their 'compare' link for the two versions:

Thanks Iain
I've had a license for the pro version for a couple of months now, but haven't installed it yet - this might be me moving.
Here's their 'compare' link for the two versions:
-tomos (October 30, 2012, 07:28 AM)
--- End quote ---

@tomos: Thanks for pointing that link out. I have added the comparison table to the OP.
If you have the PRO licene, then you really should install the thing. It's doing no good whilst it remains uninstalled, and who knows but that if it was installed, then it just might stop your PC from becoming infected with some nasty malware/adware hijack.

Thanks IainB, nice review. 

Thanks for posting this.  Friend got hit with a nasty virus the other day and the guides on removing it suggested MalwareBytes, which performed well.  One nice thing is that it is easy to use only on demand when you need it, rather than having it stay resident, which makes it a good secondary tool to have in addition to a resident antivirus.


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