Free Anti-Virus Comparison ReviewGuest_Jim_* - April 9, 2013
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Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a different variant of malware protection than the others on the list; at least its freeware version is. This software does not offer real-time protection from malware, nor does it have any feature to block infections. Instead it is only a scanner, but a scanner many swear by. (You are able to purchase a version of this software that has real-time protection and other features typically found with antivirus software.)
The free version of Malwarebytes, which I am using, exists, more or less, to get you out of a jam when other software have failed to find the malware plaguing your computer. To assist with that, the developers developed "Chameleon Technology" to get around a malware's attempt to protect itself by blocking the installation and operation of antivirus software. Of course I have no way to verify that, but it is a neat idea. Once installed you have the selection of a Quick or Full Scan, with Flash Scan listed, but only available to licensed users. The settings for the scanner are a little different from your typical antivirus because instead of asking if it can look inside of archives, Malwarebytes asks if it can check out memory objects, startup objects, registry objects, and a couple more.
With every option ticked, I started a full scan which took just shy of 52 minutes, as reported in the log file of the scan. The log file is actually quite nicely designed as it provides information about the system it is running on, along with information on the scan itself. The scan options enabled, objects scanned, how long the scan took, and what it found is all listed very neatly. Unfortunately I had stupidly forgot to start recording performance data before the scan, so I had to start another full scan after the first one completed. Curiously this second scan took only 34 minutes, 39 seconds. Why such a disparity exists for identical scans with otherwise identical results, I do not know.
Speaking of the performance data, Malwarebytes performed essentially as you would expect. Starting the scan triggered a jump to between 50% and 60% of CPU usage, which is actually not very high, relatively speaking. The memory usage did not change much, though there are some spikes in usage, and these seem to coincide with significant drops in CPU usage. The fluctuations were short lived though, and soon both memory and CPU usage returned to where they had been. The disk usage however varied quite a bit, but stayed consistently low, unlike other programs I tested. Of course the low number of transfers could be because the scanner was focusing on objects already in memory.
At the end of the day the question is, 'how well does Malwarebytes Anti-Malware perform?' The answer unfortunately hinges almost entirely on its ability to detect infections, which I have no data on. Performance wise, while it can take a reasonably short period of time to scan your system, it only scanned 406,486 objects on my computer, which is the second least of the software I have tested. Of course all that matters is if the program can find and stop malware on your system, but it would be nice if it could be faster about it.