Malwarebytes is a fantastic anti-virus program but it’s a little off the beaten path when it comes to online security. Are you considering getting Malwarebytes to protect your devices and want to learn about it? I’ve used Malwarebytes and today I’ll explain how it works and who it works best for. So, how does Malwarebytes work?
Here I’ll explain what malware is and the signs your computer might be infected. And most importantly, I’ll explore the protections that Malwarebytes offers, including the tasks that this app performs to keep you safe.
Let’s dive into it with a brief primer on malware.
What is Malware?
Malware is a term meaning “malicious software.” Malware often tries to invade your device, possibly damaging or disabling it. Different kinds of malware have different ways of attacking your device. They can range from the subtle to the obvious.
Different kinds of malware can affect devices, networks, computer systems, mobile devices, and tablets. They will often take control of your device’s operations.
In some cases, malware will steal your data, possibly encrypting it so you cannot access it. It may also delete the data.
Malware may also hijack the operations of your computer. You may be completely unaware of this.
How Does Malwarebytes Work & Keep You Safe?
Malwarebytes offers anti-malware protection to end users. It has an enormous database of malware definitions (these are also referred to as signatures). Malwarebytes works by recognizing malware by looking for the definitions and signatures in its database. When Malwarebytes recognizes a match, it will flag the potential malware and stop it from infecting your computer. Malwarebytes also uses heuristics and sandboxing to make sure you are never victimized by malware.
How to Tell if Your Computer Is Infected with Malware
There are several possible symptoms of a malware infection. I’ll go the most common ones below:
Many intrusive ads tend to appear on your screen. One of the most common signs of malware on your computer is unwanted pop-up ads.
There is a type of malware called adware, and this is what you probably have if this happens. What makes this even more of a problem is that if you click on one of the ads, you will probably end up with more malware.
Loss of Disk Space
You have suddenly lost a lot of disk space. Malware can hide within your device’s hard drive in the form of bundleware that takes up a lot of space on your drive.
You Have a System Crash
A system crash can appear as a freeze. In the most severe cases, you could see what many call the Blue screen of Death (BSOD).
This blue screen will come up when Windows has a fatal error.
Your Browser Settings Have Changed
You notice the settings on your browser have changed. If there are new plugins, extensions, or toolbars on your browser that you didn’t put there or changes appear on your homepage, you may have a kind of malware infection.
A common cause is if you clicked on a pop-up on your computer, especially a “Congratulations” pop-up promising that you have won something (you didn’t).
You’re Unable to Access Your Computer or Your Files
You are unable to access your computer or your files. If this happens to you, your computer may have a ransomware infection.
When there is a ransomware infection, the hackers may send you a ransom note. They may also alter your desktop wallpaper to make that into a ransom note.
The hackers will usually say that they have encrypted your data and that you must give them a ransom payment before they will decrypt your files.
How People Get Malware
Most people end up with malware through an email or by visiting infected and/or malicious sites online. You’re vulnerable if you don’t have protection against malware.
You can end up with malware if you do one of many different things:
- Visit a hacked website
- Visit a legitimate site that happens to have malicious ads
- Download files that are infected with malware
- Install apps or programs that are infected with malware
- Open malspam (a malicious email attachment)
- Do one of many other things that may expose your computer to malware (I’m only listing the most common culprits in this article)
What Protections are Offered by Malwarebytes?
There are several different Malwarebytes subscription plan tiers. The kind of protection you get will depend on the tier you select.
If you go with the free tier of Malwarebytes, you will only be informed if there is already malware on your computer. This is a great option if you’re afraid that your PC has been infected because it checks free of charge.
Of course long-term, you want better protection than this (my mom always said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”).
That is why most people will benefit from the real-time protection offered by the paid tiers of Malwarebytes.
Malwarebytes for Windows
If you get Malwarebytes for that new college laptop or your home computer, you will get the free Malwarebytes scanner as well as the other paid features available in whatever tier you choose. The scanner identifies threats such as viruses and malware.
It also points out possibly unwanted programs that might be slowing your computer down.
With real-time protection, your privacy, files, and your device as a whole are always protected. Malwarebytes’ Real-Time Protection utilizes AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning.
It will protect you from online threats, including emerging threats that other programs might not be able to identify.
And the truth is that if you’re serious about cybersecurity, you may want to use more than one antivirus and malware solution at the same time. On my computer I use both Malwarebytes and Norton. Each has strengths and weaknesses, and using several apps together provides more robust protection.
The Web Protection features from Malwarebytes block out malicious links, infected sites, and online scams (such as phishing scams). Phishing scams use fake sites to trick you into giving them private information (especially financial information).
Malwarebyte’s Ransomware Protection has proprietary technology that fully defends you against the kind of malware that keeps your files hostage.
Malwarebytes for Mac
There is also a version of Malwarebytes for Mac. You will get all of Malwarebytes’ most important protection features.
It will make sure that your Mac runs at optimal speed. The app also has incredibly fast scanning.
The Malwarebytes scanning feature takes less than 30 seconds on Mac. You can even scan in the background as you complete other tasks, even including booting up another program.
Remember you can customize the times at which Malwarebytes scans and you can make the times when you are not using your computer.
Malwarebytes has features to block out unwanted applications. The program watches out for any applications from software producers that are known for creating malware and other problematic kinds of software.
As always with Malwarebytes, you will automatically get constant updates to your protection. There is active protection against adware and other unwanted programs.
Malwarebytes will clean your infected computer.
Malwarebytes Plans for Business
If you get an enterprise plan for your business, you will enjoy extra advanced features. You will get even more than you do with the premium (paid) personal plans.
There is exploit mitigation and application hardening. There are three different kinds of enterprise or business plans. These are:
- Malwarebytes for Teams
- Malwarebytes Endpoint Protection
- Malwarebytes Endpoint Protection and Response
Malwarebytes for Teams
You can use Malwarebytes for Teams on Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, and Android. This is the least expensive of the business plans with Malwarebytes.
You can cover up to 20 devices with this plan. This may be a great plan for you if you have a small business.
There is just one difference between Malwarebytes for Teams and the personal premium plans. This is the provision of priority support and additional protection for Android devices.
Malwarebytes Endpoint Protection
You can use this only for Windows and Mac devices. It will cover anywhere from 10 devices to any number of devices you choose.
In other words, it will cover an unlimited number of devices. You will get all the features of Malwarebytes for Teams, plus a dedicated technical account manager, security policies, and centralized cloud management.
Malwarebytes Endpoint Protection and Response
The Malwarebytes Endpoint Protection and Response plan can only be used on Windows devices. If you have PC devices for your business, you can go with this tier. Malwarebytes Endpoint Protection and Response has all the features of the other plans, plus it has response (EDR) capabilities and endpoint detection.
Malwarebytes is Easy to Install and Use
To install Malwarebytes, simply open the program file that you have downloaded. Go through all the prompts for installation.
The software package for Malwarebytes is under 250 MB. This is impressive, as most other anti-virus programs take up to or more than 1 GB.
Malwarebytes’ dashboard is intuitive to use.
The elements of the dashboard are easy to navigate, and you will have the chance to scan your device from the very beginning. That is the first action you will be able to take with Malwarebytes.
Malwarebytes is Effective, Dependable & I’m a User
Now you know how Malwarebytes works! Without a doubt, the paid tiers of Malwarebytes are excellent options for your anti-virus and security software. If malware is a concern for you, I think it’s one of the best options available (which is why I use it).
Remember that the free tier of Malwarebytes won’t be enough as your only online security software. It will only scan for malware existing on your computer, and it will not provide any real-time anti-virus or anti-malware protection outside of the 2-week free trial (but absolutely take advantage of that to experience it in action for yourself).
Malware is among the greatest dangers to our computers and devices. If you have a business, malware getting onto your computer can cost you a huge amount of time and money. It’s why I invest in protection and prevention instead.