Will MBAM Protect Against ALL Malware?
A reader asks: 'Based on advice from you and others, I have installed MalwareBytes Anti-Malware (MBAM). It claims to detect and remove viruses, spyware, rootkits and other nasties. So do I still need a separate anti-virus program, or will MBAM provide all the protection I need?' Read on for my advice...
Is MBAM Enough Security?
MalwareBytes Anti-Malware (MBAM) is a program that I've written about on several occasions. I've often recommended it as an additional layer of security, to be used in conjunction with your anti-virus software, or for situations where the first line of defense has failed to prevent a specific malware infection. (Malware is a generic term for all harmful software, including viruses, spyware, worms, trojans, rootkits, etc.)
I'd always thought of it more as a spyware removal tool, but MBAM has improved over the years, to the point where it now rivals a general-purpose Internet security tool. But is it all that? Here's my analysis and opinion...
MBAM comes in both free and paid versions; you can download either or see a feature list at Malwarebytes.org. The most important difference is that the free version is an on-demand scanner, meaning it does not provide real-time (always on) protection against installation of malware. You have to manually run a scan when you suspect a problem, or remember to scan on a regular basis.
But the free version of MBAM does an excellent job of finding and eradicating malware that's already present on your computer. Some people combine a free real-time defense (see my article Free AntiVirus Programs for some examples) with occasional MBAM scans to catch any malware that the real-time scanner might have missed, or just for peace of mind.
The paid version of Malwarebytes, costs $39.95/year and can be used on up to 3 PCs. That includes frequent updates of the malware signature database. Most other anti-malware programs cost quite a bit more, so MBAM Premium is a bargain. It's also a real-time defender against malware. I've warned in the past about running multiple real-time security tools, but this is an exception to that rule. I can confirm that MBAM "plays nice" with other anti-virus tools.
Benefits of MBAM Premium
The Real-Time Active Malware Prevention Engine blocks known malware types, while heuristic protection blocks potentially harmful programs based upon their behavior. That seems to be a very effective one-two punch to defend against both known and unknown threats. Malicious websites are blocked by the Pro version of MBAM, and scanning is faster than with the free version.
Whereas the free version must be run manually, the Premium version includes a scheduler for more thorough scans. Also, malware signature database updates can be scheduled in Premium, but must be done manually in the free version.
If you've ever had to deal with a nasty virus infection, you may have found that some malware tries to block you from downloading, installing or running certain anti-malware programs. Both free and paid MBAM versions include Chameleon technology that can overcome this annoying problem. Even if you're infected with NastyPanda V27x.4, MBAM will find a way to sneak in and run its seek & destroy mission.
Like any anti-malware program, MBAM is better at detecting some types of malware than others. Generally, MBAM is excellent at detecting viruses, spyware, and adware. It's been known to miss some rootkits and keyloggers. But on the flip side, I've found that MBAM has often succeeded at detecting and removing malware where some well-known anti-virus applications failed.
So Is MBAM Good Enough?
Here's the bottom line, if you want to use the free version of MBAM, you definitely MUST combine it with some other (free or paid) security solution. It's just not possible to protect and defend against all incoming threats with an on-demand scanner. You'd be running it constantly - which is the entire point of a real-time scanner.
MBAM Premium is only $39, and claims sophisticated anti-malware techniques to provide comprehensive protection against all forms of malware. I have no reason to doubt that, but neither can I confirm that MBAM Premium is an adequate replacement for a traditional anti-virus program. Malwarebytes does not make this specific claim on their website, and I don't know anyone who recommends it in that manner. You might imply as much, but that's opinion where facts are really what matters.
MBAM Premium is probably good enough, most of the time, for most users. But why take chances, when there are excellent, free antivirus programs that you can use in conjunction with MBAM? I do heartily recommend MBAM, and if you can afford the 25 bucks, buy the Premium version to add a second layer of defense to your antivirus protection. I think it's also a nice way to say thanks to some of the good guys on the Web.
What's your opinion? Are you using only MBAM, or do you use it along with another dedicated antivirus program? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 16 Oct 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Will MBAM Protect Against ALL Malware? (Posted: 16 Oct 2014)
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