Malwarebytes AdwCleaner - worth the hype?
In this day and age, no one is impervious to malware. For a long time, there was a pernicious rumor that Mac computers were invulnerable which was never true and is becoming less true by the day. Windows users haven’t generally made the same dangerous assumption but they are still faced by the same problem: how do I defend myself against malware and which software will do the best job for the lowest cost?
Malware literally means ‘malicious software’. This umbrella term includes everything from adware, viruses and spyware to Rootkits, Trojan Horses and Ransomware. These malwares range from unfunny to annoying right the way through to down right scary. No one wants malware and to tackle this huge catalogue of potential threats is a big undertaking. Malwarebytes offer a variety of solutions, including Malwarebytes AdwCleaner. It’s free to download with unlimited free use. Let’s find out if free of charge means free of problems.
A great tool for your armory in the fight against malware
Great malware detection software but, without real-time protection, it is not an all-in-one solution
While Malwarebytes have a premium version which also serves as an anti-virus software, exploit and ransomware detection kit, Malwarebytes AdwCleaner is purely a malware detection and cleanup software so you will get no real-time protection. To put it simply, this software will not stop your system getting infected, it can only help you to find and remove it afterwards. For some more aggressive and fast-acting malware, this could be too little too late.
Malwarebytes AdwCleaner should be used in conjunction with one or more security software. If you’re prepared to use a multi-layered solution (which is generally speaking the safest way to go) and rate this software for what it can do and not for what it cannot then it scores very highly. In the same way it’s no longer safe just using one password, you should be looking for variety of security software to protect yourself against the numerous channels of attack which we are exposed to these days. It wouldn’t be fair to judge this software by outdated standards!
There is no perfect security system. In the case of ransomware, for example, attacks are extremely difficult to defend against. Like a human virus, their coding is continually changing and internet security providers will always be one step behind. Malwarebytes AdwCleaner searches for adware, spyware, PUPs (potentially unwanted programs) and browser hijackers and it has one of the highest detection rates for these. It will also remove unwanted browser toolbars which you may have inadvertently agreed to installing.
One of the most important features of any internet security software is, of course, its usability. Installation took me less than one minute and it is widely reported to be a quick and easy process, whether you’re using a Mac or PC. Next, and all-importantly, the speed it took to scan my computer and search for malware. I had nearly 20,000 'objects' for Malwarebytes AdwCleaner to scan and this was completed in under one minute. They advertise it as being 'in seconds' but it was still very quick. No need to leave it working away in the background! The fact it didn’t find any 'threats' is unsurprising as I run regular scans with different malware scanners and I have real-time protection (using Sophos Home).
There is increasingly little person-to-person customer support, as technology has begun taking its place. We all know, however, that such a transition is still premature and nothing beats chatting to a fellow member of our species. Fortunately, Malwarebytes does offer this service both via online chat and by phone. They also have a comprehensive knowledge base of potential issues, as well as a community forum. There’s no reason you should expect to encounter problems, as far as I can see, but it’s always good to know there’s help if you need!
Where can you run this program?
Malwarebytes AdwCleaner is compatible with Windows 7, 8 and 10. Mac users must be running macOS 10.10 or higher in order for it to run. I have not tried or seen a way to download this software onto Android or any mobile device or tablet. If you wish to secure your phone or tablet which are also prone to malware, there are plenty of options to choose from. It’s easy to assume they are safe but, like the MacBook rumors of old, it’s not true (though they are in general much more secure).
Is there a better alternative?
You’ll find plenty of alternative malware detectors online. McAfee and Kaspersky Lab are just two of a number of big names which offer very similar services. That being said, you can’t argue with the price (free). The quality of its service is comparable to its biggest competitors and while it can feel like you are being pushed to buy their premium version, you do not need to.
If you are someone who prefers to bundle as much internet security software into the same provider then one option is to upgrade to Malwarebytes’ premium suite. If you are considering ‘going premium’, however, I would recommend using Norton, Sophos or AVG. These all offer great malware detecting software and surpass Malwarebytes on their quality of anti-virus defense. Incidentally, Sophos and AVG both have free anti-virus software which will keep you well protected in real-time. The question is, what’s the harm in adding Malwarebytes AdwCleaner to your toolkit?
If you are looking for free software to solve these issues and you want a software which takes up very little space, downloads, installs and scans your system in seconds then this could be the solution you’re looking for.
Should you download it?
That said, don’t download it if you are looking for an all-in-one internet security solution. Malwarebytes AdwCleaner has no real-time protection so you cannot rely on it to keep you safe while you’re online. Do download it if you are concerned about your internet security, particularly if you have had problems with adware, spyware, PUPs, browser hijackers and unwanted browser toolbars.
- No real-time protection
- Unsuitable as stand-alone protection