Spotlight: Malwarebytes

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Viruses and spyware are more prevalent than ever.  It seems like a fresh round of ransomware  crops up every few days (Android users are the
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latest to be hit).  It used to be that threats could be easy to avoid – just don’t open an email attachment from someone you don’t trust.  Well, that security blanket went away in the late ’90s.  Hackers have been very creative over the past twenty years and it’s a constant game of cat-and-mouse for anti-virus software makers.

This has led some users to give up on anti-virus all together, such as one of my former bosses.  He came to me one day with his little Dell laptop all bogged down.  “I’m not sure what’s wrong with it,” he said.  When asked what he used for his anti-virus, he said, “Nothing for a while – the anti-virus software just slows it down so much.”  Certain anti-virus companies, especially in the early part of this century had horrible issues with their software bogging down some computers to the point of unusability (I’m looking squarely at you, Symantec).  This led my former boss to forgo the use of such software.  The result: 52,363 malware infections on his Dell!  Um, yikes.

There are lots of options for anti-virus software and the aforementioned Symantec products are much better performance-wise than they used to be.  However, there is one piece of software that – to me – stands out from the rest: Malwarebytes.  I’ve cleaned off many an infected computer with Malwarebytes – and most of those had some kind of anti-virus already installed.  In my experience, Malwarebytes is able to find things that most anti-virus programs miss and with the addition of real-time monitoring it has turned from a “rescue product” into a full-time protection suite.  It also includes a mode called Chameleon that allows it to run even when a virus has disabled the main program (many viruses will disable your anti-virus, preventing it from scanning and finding the infection, even if you try to run it manually).  Here’s how to run Chameleon mode if you’re already infected.

Endpoint security has come a long way and my top recommendation, Webroot SecureAnywhere is one of the finest pieces of security software, but I come across a lot of computers that are already so bogged down with infection they are super slow. This is where Malwarebytes really shines.  I’ve rescued over a hundred PCs with Malwarebytes – these PCs would have been candidates for a “reformat the hard drive and reinstall Windows” course of action had it not been for Malwarebytes. I often use it in conjunction with System Mechanic to repair computers after the infections have been cleared. If you’re computer is running mysteriously slow or you’ve got tons of mysterious pop-ups going on, download and install Malwarebytes and run a scan. You’ll be amazed at all the stuff it finds.

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