Beware! Malwarebytes Secure Backup for Android is trialware

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 17, 2014
Updated • Jul 18, 2014
Google Android

Update: Malwarebytes have updated the Google Play store page which makes it clear now that the app is designed to be a companion app for the Windows service and that it comes as a 14-day trial version. We have added an official response to the end of the article.

What would you do if your backup program would suddenly turn into a paid application asking you to sign up for a paid account to keep accessing the files that you have backed up?

If that is not communicated in the app or on the website prior to it happening?

This sounds like yet another ransomware ploy but that is not the case this time.

If you happen to install Malwarebytes Secure Backup for Android, everything appears fine at first. You can use it to run manual or scheduled backups of data that is stored on your device to the cloud.

The app enables you to backup apps, pictures, videos, music and files that you select manually to the cloud. Once backed up there, you can access the data from your device and versions of Secure Backup for other devices.

Probably the most interesting feature of it is that Malwarebytes will scan the files that you upload to the cloud with its antivirus engine to make sure they are safe.

malwarebytes secure backup

Everything seems to work just fine for the next 14 days but once you reach the end of the second week, you will receive a notification that your trial has expired and that you need to sign up for a plan to continue using the application.

You won't be able to access your data unless you do so. The main issue here is this is not mentioned on Google's Play Store or when you create an account using the application.

This is different to how this is communicated on the Secure Backup page on the Malwarebytes website. Here you are informed directly that what you get is a free trial, and that there are three plans that you can choose one from starting with the basic plan for $29.95 per year.


If you happen to have installed Secure Backup for Android, you better make sure you have access to the backed up files on your Android device as well as you may lose access to them otherwise if you don't sign up for a paid plan to continue using the application.

It is unclear why Malwarebytes has not resolved the issue by adding information on the Google Play store page and in the app itself so that users are informed about it before they start to use the application.

The app has not been updated since 2013 on the other hand does not bode well either for its future.

Malwarebytes response

“Hi, I’m the product manager at Malwarebytes.  I wanted to apologize and say this was an oversight on our part.  We should have made it clear in Google Play that this app is only intended to be used in tandem with the Windows version of Malwarebytes Secure Backup.  This comes with a 14 day trial, which is clearly marked.  Used alongside the desktop version, the app provides access to data previously sent to the cloud, as well as the ability to backup media from the Android device.    We had no intent to mislead anyone and have now updated the wording on Google Play.   We will also  make a change within the app itself to make sure people aren't using it in isolation.   Hopefully this clears up the confusion.”


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  1. Albert said on August 18, 2023 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks for the tip Martin.

    It is for these kinds of posts that I follow GHacks.

    1. Mike Williams said on August 26, 2023 at 8:55 pm

      What’s up with the generic comment, are you a bot?

  2. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:23 pm


    Where on the planet is that still in use? I was forced to give up using my RAZRV3 years ago because 2G was phased out by AT&T.

    1. arbuz said on August 20, 2023 at 5:02 pm

      Everywhere 3G has been turned off and you don’t have LTE coverage, and believe me there are many developed countries where this is the case and if it weren’t for 2G you wouldn’t even be able to make a phone call.

    2. Doc Fuddled said on August 31, 2023 at 5:55 pm

      Maybe I missed it, but I don’t believe tha term “2G” is in the article. Perhaps you are referring to “AGM G2”??

  3. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:27 pm


    Your website has gone insane.

    When I the post button I then saw my comment posted on a different article page. When I opened this article again, it is here.

    1. Martin P. said on August 31, 2023 at 4:39 pm

      @Tachy @Martin Brinkmann

      ” Your website has gone insane. ”

      Same here. Has happened several times.

      1. owl said on September 1, 2023 at 3:42 am

        @Martin P.,

        For over two weeks now,
        I’ve been seeing “Comments” posted by subscribers appearing in different, unrelated articles.
        For the time being,
        it would be better to specify the “article name and URL” at the beginning of the post.

  4. Anonymous said on August 18, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    @tachy a lot of non-phone devices with a sim in them rely on 2G, at least here in europe.
    Usually things reporting usage or errors/alarms on something remote that does not get day to day inspection in person. They are out there in vast numbers doing important work. Reliable, good range. The low datarate is no problem at all in those cases.
    3G is gone or on its last legs everywhere, but this stuff still has too much use to cancel.

    Anyhow, interesting that they would put that in. I can see the point if you suspect a hostile 2G environment (amateur eavesdroppers with laptop, ranging up to professional grade MITM fake towers while “strangely” not getting the stronger crypto voip 4G because it is being jammed, and back down to something as old ‘stingray’ devices fallen into the wrong hands).

    But does this also mean that they have handled and rolled out a fix for that nasty 4G ‘pwn by broadcast’ problem you reported earlier this year? I had 4G disabled due to that, on the off chance that some of the local criminals would buy some cheap chinese gear, download a working exploit and probe every phone in range all over town in the hope of getting into phones of the police.

  5. Andy Prough said on August 19, 2023 at 3:04 am

    >”While most may never be attacked in stingrays, it is still recommended to disable 2G cellular connections, especially since it does not have any downsides.”

    The downside would be losing connectivity. I spend a lot of time way out in the countryside where there’s often no service or almost none. My network allows 2G, and I need it sometimes. I have an option on the phone to disable 2G, I may do that when I’m in the city and I have good 5G connectivity, but not out in the country.

    I would imagine that the stingray exploits, like most of the bad things in this world, are probably things you will run into in the crowded big cities.

  6. owl said on August 21, 2023 at 3:40 am

    I stopped using it in a mobile (Wi-Fi line) environment, so I’m almost ignorant of the actual situation,
    But the recent reality in Japan makes me realize that “the infrastructure of the web is nothing more than a papier-mâché fiction”.

    It is already beyond the scope of what an individual can do.
    What we should be aware of is the reality that “governments and those in power want to control the world through the Web”, and efforts to counter (resist and prevent) such ambitions are necessary.

  7. Anonymous said on August 26, 2023 at 9:27 pm

    Why do you want people to disable the privacy features? Hmmmmm?

  8. Anonymous said on August 27, 2023 at 2:30 am

    Now You: do you plan to keep the Ads privacy features enabled?

    I’d like to tell you, but apparently if you make a post critical of Google, you get censored. * [Editor: removed, just try to bring your opinion across without attacking anyone]

  9. Tachy said on August 27, 2023 at 5:15 am


    You website is still psychotic. Comments attach to random stories.

  10. John G. said on August 28, 2023 at 2:46 pm

    @Martin please do fix the comments, it’s completely insane commenting here! :[

  11. ECJ said on August 28, 2023 at 5:37 pm


    The comments are seriously messed up on gHacks now. These comments are mixed with the article at the below URL.

    And comments on other articles are from as far back as 2010.

  12. Naimless said on August 29, 2023 at 12:57 am

    What does this article has anything to do with all the comments on this article? LOL I think this Websuite is ran by ChatGPT. every article is messed up. Some older comments from 2015 shown up in recant articles, LOL

  13. Paul Knight said on August 31, 2023 at 3:35 am

    The picture captioned “Clearing the Android Auto’s cache might resolve the issue” is from Apple Carplay ;)

  14. Anonymous said on August 31, 2023 at 9:57 pm

    How about other things that matter:
    Drop survival?
    Screen toughness?
    Degree of water and dust protection?

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