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What are the differences between Malwarebytes and a premium Anti-Virus? By premium, I mean anti-virus suites that isn't free (e.g. Norton and McAfee).

Better yet, what are differences between Malwarebytes and Norton Internet Security. Other than the firewall that is included with Norton's software, I don't see any other different. Yet, I am always recommended by other techs to download and install Malwarebytes.

So what's the reason to have both program beside the obvious double protection?

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great question. –  bbatman Sep 5 '11 at 14:58
    
they are probably both just anti malware applications. I don't think there are traditional viruses anymore like infecting lots of important programs.. they tend to infect the main system executables so just where they need to, and they don't tend to spread to hit any and every executable. Infact if they did that they might get caught quite easily! –  barlop Feb 14 '12 at 20:10
    
No matter what Antivirus and/or Security Suite you have installed. Malwarebytes Antimalware is an an absolute must have on your PC. Malwarebytes also introduced an antirootkit recently, which I believe is still in Beta, but when it is finaly released that will also be part of my Antimalware arsenal...Oh Yeah. Bring on a Mac version I say –  Simon Dec 5 '12 at 13:26

2 Answers 2

The biggest difference between the free version of Malwarebytes AntiMalware and most anti-virus programs (paid or free) is the operating mode.

MBaM is a scanner that runs when you choose to run it. It searches your system for malicious programs and gives you the option to remove them.

Most anti-virus programs monitor system operation while things are happen. When a file is executed, opened, or written, they scan it. If an attempt is made to create or access a file that matches the virus database, a warning is produced immediately and the access is prevented.

Each mode has its advantages and disadvantages. MBaM's passive scan mode consumes no resources when you aren't specifically scanning and it doesn't interfere with normal operation at all. However, it won't protect you from malware between scans at all. The active monitoring of anti-virus programs will catch threats much quicker. But it consumes resources at all time and can interfere with normal operation.

The general recommendation is to use scanning programs like MBaM in addition to a normal anti-virus such as Microsoft Security Essentials. The anti-virus will catch most threats immediately, and the scanner will get any that slipped through the cracks. (For example, if they weren't in the database when your computer first encountered them.)

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+1 Thank you for explaining in a detail way. @David Schwartz –  bbatman Sep 5 '11 at 14:57
    
What about Malwarebytes Pro? It has an active scanning mode which is just like a traditional "anti-virus" program. –  Brian Dec 21 '11 at 20:10
    
Yep, that's one of the reasons I recommend the free version. It's not really an anti-virus, and it conflicts with an anti-virus. So I'm not sure what it's supposed to be good for. –  David Schwartz Dec 21 '11 at 22:42
    
It 'catches' malware deployments, the same way the AV on access scanners catch virus deployments :) –  HaydnWVN Feb 14 '12 at 11:26
    
i'm not sure about what you've said, it seems wrong. MBAM and "anti virus" programs surely both have "passive" and "active" modes don't they? I thought I recently tried MBAM and it was active.. YES.. MBAM has something called "protection mode" in the protection tab. –  barlop Feb 14 '12 at 20:03

If you are looking for malware protection the main difference is reputation.

Malwarebytes has a good reputation with techs because it does what they need and nothing else.

Norton has a horrible reputation for being bloated software that tells the consumer how well its doing every 10 seconds, slowing down the computer, and coming bundled with computers that will nag you to purchase it.

Personally I recommend Microsoft Security Essentials because it has a very good detection rate and a very low false positive rate if any... I have not had any false positives myself. It is also non-intrusive and most importantly it is free :)

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+1 for MSE for home use. For corporate use I would deploy Semantic Endpoint Protection. Seen customers use other packages before, SEP seems to the best. My comments are about SEP AV only, not the SNAC network/firewall stuff (I abhor Symantec network tools). –  ta.speot.is Sep 3 '11 at 22:03
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A notable point as well is product support. If you pay for an AV and it doesn't remove a virus most vendors will let you call them and they will provide further assistance. –  ta.speot.is Sep 3 '11 at 22:05
    
I have heard maybe from a review 12 or so months ago, that Norton has improved. But certainly there was a time when Norton like mcaffee was all bloat and AVG was what people used..and only idiots used the pay ones. I recall the last time I used AVG a version like 2010 or v11 or something was all bloat, a complete nightmare even to download! it needed a monsterous installer program from AVG which downloaded the rest of the monsterous program so I quit AVG for good. But that demonstrates too, that things change.. and maybe Norton is OK now or as bloated or not bloated as other good ones. –  barlop Feb 14 '12 at 20:06

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