Everybody (I realize there’s no real “everybody”) says that as a last resort
to download Malwarebytes as though it’s the ultimate in malware detection, but
I’ve never seen it on a list of malware programs one just ought to run
routinely. Why is that?
Malwarebytes for standard security
Malwarebytes is in an interesting position in the anti-malware world:
They don’t claim to be an “anti-virus” program – and in fact, they often suggest that you run a different anti-virus program in conjunction with Malwarebytes.
They are kind of, sort of an anti-spyware program. If you wanted to run it most of the time, or regularly, you could run it in place of an anti-spyware program (I think.)
But it’s that lack of our ability to really define what Malwarebytes truly is that makes it difficult to make it part of a standard recipe for computer security.
That’s why I tend to recommend that you get an anti-virus program; get an anti-spyware program. Usually, I bundle those two together in Microsoft Security Essentials, but as long as you’ve got both virus and spyware covered, you’re good.
Catching the rest
Now, Malwarebytes has an interesting characteristic. They’re probably a reasonably good anti-malware program, but I guess they’re not covering all of the edges that an anti-virus program and an anti-spyware program would actually catch.
However, for what they do catch, they do seem to be better at catching those things than many other programs.
When to use Malwarebytes
That’s why when we’re facing a problem – we pull it out. It’s a very quick first-line tool to run as soon as you suspect there’s a problem.
Now, I realize that’s a real fuzzy answer. Part of it is because the definition of what Malwarebytes anti-malware really is, itself, is kind of fuzzy. Frustratingly so, I will admit.
But, it’s a good tool. It’s a good tool to run when you’ve got a problem that your other tools haven’t fixed.
If you get their paid version, you can in fact run their automated regularly scheduled scanner on a schedule. I personally just wouldn’t do that in lieu of an anti-spyware program. I’d be tempted to make sure that was in addition and cooperating with some other anti-spyware program.
So, it’s a tough question to answer because there’s really no clear “here’s why” – other than to say, “Well, you know, Malwarebytes isn’t really an anti-virus program and it’s not a complete anti-spyware program, but whatever it is it does, it actually does pretty good, so we ought to be able to have it available if we run into a problem.”
(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)