Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Beta has been available to anyone interested in the product for some time now. I have reviewed the security program back in 2013 when it was made available publicly for the first time and came to the conclusion that it could become a great addition to the security tools that you are running on your Windows PC.
In fact, I'm running it along with EMET and have not noticed any issues doing so. Malwarebytes on the other hand advises users against this as it can create conflicts.
Malwarebytes launched the stable version of Anti-Exploit yesterday, and just like with Anti-Malware, it is offering a free, premium and business version of the product.
You can download the free version of the software directly from Malwarebytes. While I did not notice any issues with existing security software on test systems, you may want to run a couple of tests just to make sure that everything is compatible and not causing conflicts on the system.
Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit free vs. premium vs. business
There are several differences between the free and premium version of the product. The free version is limited to protecting browsers, browser add-ons (including plugins) and Java from, while the premium version adds pdf readers, Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, media players, and options to add shields for custom programs.
The business edition adds a management console and remote endpoint management & centralized reporting to the application.
|Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Free||Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Premium||Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit For Business|
|Protection for browsers, add-ons and Java||yes||yes||yes|
|Protection for PDF readers, Office and media players||yes||yes|
|Activate/Deactivate pre-determined Shields||yes||yes|
|Add and manage custom applications||yes||yes|
|Remote endpoint management & centralized reporting||yes|
The free version covers two of the areas of the operating system that are attacked regularly, while the premium version expands on that by adding additional program types that are targeted regularly and offering options to protect custom programs as well.
The premium version is available for $24.95 for three PCs and 1 year of free upgrades, the business edition is available for $29.95 for a single PC and one year of free upgrades.
The free version of Anti-Exploit runs on its own for the most part. You can bring its interface to the front to check the version and that it is running, or check the logs, but that is about it.
While that works out fine for many users, some may prefer more control over the program. It is necessary in this case however to purchase the premium or business version as it offers that.
The program offers three layers of protection against exploits:
- Protection against operating system security bypasses - Techniques that detect and prevent that operating system protections such as Date Execution Prevention are bypassed by exploits.
- Memory caller protection - Prevents exploit code from being executed from memory.
- Application behavior protection - Blocks application exploits such as memory mitigations from running successfully.
How good is the protection?
As far as I know, there have not been any independent tests yet that pit Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit against EMET and a boatload of different attack programs.
Tests have been conducted, but they have been sponsored by Malwarebytes. According to the test, Anti-Exploit blocked all of the exploit kits from running successfully.
Tested kits included Nuclear Pack, Angler EK, Infinity EK, FlashPack EK, Magnitude EK, Fiesta EK, Grandsoft EK, Sweet Orange EK, Styx EK, RIG and Gondad.
Note that some targeted applications may only be protected by the premium and business version of Malwarebytes.
The protection that the free version of Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit offers is limited to two key areas on Windows. While that may be sufficient for some users, it may not for others.
This is especially the case if you compare it to Microsoft's free EMET offering which provides you with all the customization options that you need.