What’s New in PC Matic 4.0?
PC Matic 4.0 was just released, and is a major update that improves the usability, stability, and appearance of the program, read on for my review of the computer security tool that I use and recommend...
PC Matic 4.0 – My Review
I’ve been a happy user of PC Matic since September 2018, after having finally given in to the many reader suggestions that I try it and post a review for AskBobRankin readers. Long story short, I was pleasantly surprised -- enough so to ditch the antivirus program I was then using, and give my enthusiastic recommendation to PC Matic.
Over the years, PC Matic has continued to improve, offering advanced protection from evolving online threats, and upping their game when it comes to optimizing PC performance. The latest version 4.0 addresses some of the minor gripes I had with the program, and significantly improves the user experience.
Let’s talk about protection first. PC Matic’s SuperShield uses a whitelist approach that allows only known, trusted programs to run on your computer. Anything that is not on the whitelist is sent to the PC Matic malware research team to be tested. Within 24 hours it is categorized as either trusted or malicious. If you have an app that you know to be trustworthy, but PC Matic has not yet classified it, you can add it to your own personal whitelist.
PC Matic prevents attacks from zero-day exploits, rootkits, cryptominers, keyloggers, and ransomware by blocking it before it can begin to execute. Ransomware is an insidious form of malware that can infect a user’s computer and encrypt the hard drive until a ransom is paid. It’s become so common that we read about new ransomware attacks on home users, schools, and businesses almost every day. It should be obvious that in all of these attacks, the installed antivirus software FAILED to protect the computer that was infected.
When first installing PC Matic, I worried that the whitelist feature might cause me many false positives and unnecessary interruptions, but PC Matic knew that LibreOffice and other programs I use were legitimate. There was only one instance where PC Matic questioned a 30-year-old DOS program that I occasionally need. But I was able to allow it to run with just one click.
The whitelist approach also protects users from “time bomb” attacks, in which a downloaded program waits a predetermined amount of time before it activates. This idea was based on the concept that legitimate software uses to create a free trial period, but is used today by malware authors to evade detection from traditional antivirus solutions.
Additional Protection Features
Fileless Script Blocking is another component of SuperShield protection. It stops hackers from using scripting tools such as Windows PowerShell to execute super-sneaky “fileless” malware, that can slip in without the installation of an executable program. PC Matic’s SuperShield is able to identify and block this malicious scripting activity.
PC Matic also offers protection to identify and defeat the fake virus scam. You’ve probably seen websites that display a dire warning that your computer is infected, and pop up a phone number for you to call. The scammer posing as a tech support rep will instruct you to download a fake virus scanner, and try to persuade you to pay for a solution to the non-existent problem. PC Matic blocks any website that shows a phone number inside a pop-up window, unless it’s a whitelisted phone number from a legitimate company. In addition to blocking the malicious page, the user is provided with information about the scam.
In addition to keeping your computer safe from online attacks, PC Matic does automatic patch management and driver updates to ensure that all software on your computers are kept up to date. Cyber criminals exploit known vulnerabilities in popular software to load viruses.
The PC Matic Ad Blocker works with the Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Edge and Firefox browsers to protect your computer from malvertising -- malicious ads that can infect PCs without the user even clicking on the ad.
The PC Matic User Interface
The Dashboard button on the Home Screen gives “under the hood” details of your PC, including CPU, RAM, disk, performance trends, and PC history.
The SuperShield button lets you install or turn on the SuperShield protection for your computer. SuperShield is an optional component of PC Matic that runs continuously to protect you from viruses and other malware. SuperShield uses a “whitelist” approach that stops all known and unknown apps from running on your computer. The automated and customizable whitelist, along with fileless script blocking and brute force attack mitigation, stops what other computer security tools can’t.
If SuperShield is installed, you’ll see “Protected” with a checkmark in green under the computer name on the Home Screen. If you see “Not Protected” in red under the computer name, click to turn it on. If you already have a real-time virus protection program such as Norton, McAfee, Avast, AVG, Bitdefender, etc., you will need to uninstall or disable it before activating SuperShield. I recommend doing this, as it will provide superior protection against online threats.
The Scheduler lets you schedule a scan for one or all computers on your account. You can schedule a PC Matic scan to run Daily, Weekly or Monthly, at a specific time of day. A “Quick scan” is the default option, which I recommend for your Daily scan. I also advise that you schedule a “Full scan” with the Weekly option. Run your Full scan during night-time hours, and select the “Email results” button to send the scan results to your inbox.
There are options on the Scan settings screen to “Fix Malware”, “Update Vulnerable Apps”, “Update Drivers”, and “Clean Registry”. Leave each of these sliders in the On position.
The Scan button will run a scan with the current settings. After the scan, you’ll see a report showing the amount of junk files removed, any PC or Internet performance settings that were tweaked, malware that was identified and quarantined, software updates, driver updates, and registry fixes performed, and any harmful browser extensions and “craplets” that were removed.
Click the “Add New PC” button to download and install PC Matic on another PC or Android device. You can have up to 5 computers or Android devices on your account. If you need help with PC Matic, click the Support icon at the top of the screen.
At the bottom of the screen, you can click the Maintenance statistics link to see what PC Matic has done to improve security, stability and performance. You’ll see the number of viruses removed, patched vulnerabilities, registry corrections, the number of unnecessary services and startup items disabled, how many megabytes of junk/temp files have been cleaned, and any drivers that have been updated.
I just checked my stats, and found that since I started using PC Matic, it has blocked 25 viruses, patched 9 vulnerabilities, and stopped 3 system services, and disabled 11 startups. (Those 25 viruses were all allowed to sneak in while I was using my previous antivirus software!)
The Bottom Line
PC Matic Version 4.0 seems to be a clear improvement over the previous version. The interface is cleaner and more intuitive. Scanning is faster also. The minor glitches I encountered with the older version seem to be gone. (See my review of PC Matic 3.0 in my article PC Matic Gets a Zero!)
PC Matic is developed entirely in the United States. As far as I know, PC Matic is the only internet security product that's entirely US-based, including research, development and support. The PC Matic Data Integrity Pledge outlines how the company collects and protect your personal information. In summary, they promise not to sell or distribute your personal information, web browsing history, or data about the performance of your computer.
So is PC Matic worth $50 a year, to protect up to five computers? That compares favorably with most PC optimizer and security suites. They do offer an "Evergreen" option, which costs $150 and never expires. Versions are available for PC, Mac and Android devices.
I've been running PC Matic with Super Shield for a little over two years, and so far I'm pleased and impressed. Over the 2+ years, it has done a great job of protecting several computers in my home and office from ransomware and other threats. The regularly scheduled scans and optimizations keep them running smoothly.
If you are looking for an all-in-one PC optimizer/cleaner/security tool, PC Matic is an excellent choice, and remains my current recommendation. Have you tried PC Matic? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 11 Jan 2021
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- What’s New in PC Matic 4.0? (Posted: 11 Jan 2021)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved