Malwarebytes acquires AdwCleaner

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 21, 2016

Malwarebytes, makers of the popular Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, Anti-Exploit, Anti-Ransomware and other security tools, announced on October 19, 2016 that it has acquired AdwCleaner, a program for Windows designed to clean adware from computer systems.

We have reviewed the standalone version of AdwCleaner back in 2013 the first time, and then again in 2015 when AdwCleaner 5 was released. The team released version 6 of the application in 2016, but we have not reviewed that yet.

AdwCleaner, compatible with all versions of Windows starting with Windows XP, has been designed to scan a Windows PC for traces of adware, and to provide you with options to remove those traces.

Adware in the context refers to any unwanted software, setting or file that is not considered malicious. So, all those potentially unwanted programs (PUP) that you may get while installing another software count as adware for instance, but also changes to a browser's homepage or search engine, services added to Windows, advertisement popups, or cookies planted to track users.

Malwarebytes acquires AdwCleaner


Malwarebytes plans to improve the company's programs in regards to the detection of potentially unwanted programs. Check out the company's definition of potentially unwanted programs if you are interested in how Malwarebytes classifies potentially unwanted software.

The company did acquire another tool in that vertical not long ago for that very same purpose, called Junkware Removal Tool.

Like Junkware Removal Tool, AdwCleaner will remain available as a free standalone program. This means that users who rely on the program currently may continue to use it after the acquisition.

Malwarebytes plans to integrate the technology that is powering AdwCleaner into its Anti-Malware product.

According to the company, AdwCleaner is downloaded more than 200,000 times every day, and has been installed "about" 200 million times in total.

Both AdwCleaner and Junkware Removal Tool are already listed on Malwarebytes official product site. The AdwCleaner download link points to an external site for now and files are not downloaded from Malwarebytes servers.

This is probably going to change very soon though. You will notice however that is is already showing up as Malwarebytes AdwCleaner when you run it.

Closing Words

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a popular second opinion scanner -- the free version lacks real-time protection -- and the premium version is quite popular as well as a replacement for traditional antivirus solutions.

I like how Malwarebytes handles its acquisition for now. Keep the programs free and available as standalone versions, but integrate the technology into the main products.

Now You: What's your take on Malwarebytes and the acquisition in particular?

Malwarebytes acquires AdwCleaner
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Malwarebytes acquires AdwCleaner
Security company Malwarebytes announced on October 19, 2016 that is has acquired AdwCleaner, a program to remove adware from Windows PCs.
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  1. Scott M Sayman said on October 22, 2016 at 7:05 am

    I have been very impressed with Malwarebytes’ product strategy (R

  2. Anonymous said on October 22, 2016 at 3:55 am

    Another tools this vampire company can acquire :

    Use regular backups instead to lose your time during hours scanning your machines.

  3. intelligencia said on October 22, 2016 at 1:12 am

    This is my first Off Topic:

    Can Someone Answer This For me . . .

    I set the Windows 10 Advanced Firewall to totally B-L-O-C-K all connections. The Mozilla Firefox Browser and Internet Explorer are Both Blocked (as expected) . . . no problem. However, can someone me tell WHY is the Microsoft browser EDGE still open?
    I can Still get internet access through EDGE. This is Strange.


    1. Decent60 said on October 25, 2016 at 1:27 am

      Many Microsoft system programs bypass firewall rules and some even bypass the host file associations.

  4. Decent60 said on October 22, 2016 at 12:25 am

    I hope the leave AdwCleaner as a stand-alone scanner. That program can cause potential damages, like HiJackThis, if not used properly. It’s a good thing for Malwarebytes to scan for but I’d rather leave it as a stand-alone scanner since, like HiJackThis, it’s only needed for certain kinds of infections.
    Also, as far as I’m aware, AdwCleaner is a stand-alone scanner, meaning it can’t be downloaded. In fact, if the program is over a week old, it’ll tell state that you need to download a new copy to get the proper definitions. Unless things have changed recently.

  5. T J said on October 21, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    I have been using the Pro versions of Malwarebytes Anti Malware (MBAM) and Anti Exploit (MBAE) for more than 2 years. For the added security and peace of mind which they offer, it is well worth buying licences.
    MBAM Pro catches PUPs in real time at least 4 times per week. MBAE has stopped an attempted exploit attempt 3 times in the last year.

    Imo, the acquisition of AdwCleaner and Junkware Removal Tool will improve Malwarebytes overall software portfolio a lot.

    The fact that both can still be downloaded free from the Malwarebytes site is great.

    NB I am NOT an MBAM / MBAE shill :)

    1. R T said on October 22, 2016 at 10:02 am

      Sure sounded like it.

  6. meepmeep said on October 21, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Thanks for the info Martin. Reading through the Malwarebytes “How do we identify potentially unwanted software?” link,
    reminded me a lot of the “Get Windows Ten” tactics used by Microsoft.

  7. Yuliya said on October 21, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    I rely so much on my own good practices that I forgot how to deal with an already ‘infected’ PC. Few days ago this could have come in handy for me, as I did try removing all sorts of things from a friend’s PC manually. Ah well..

    I like Malwarebytes as a company, from what I read and from using their software a couple of times. Their own product getting better is always good and keeping what they aquired available separately for free is even better.

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