Malwarebytes, maker of the security application Malwarebytes, released the first beta version of the upcoming major release Malwarebytes 4 to the public.
Anyone may download and install the beta version. Existing users should note that the new version will be installed over the old even if the current installation of Malwarebytes is a stable version (except for previous version 4.x releases). It is recommended to install the beta on non-production machines only to avoid any issues.
You could also remove any existing installation of Malwarebytes before installing the new one to start with a clean plate.
The first thing that veteran users of Malwarebytes will notice when they start the program for the first time is that the user interface has been redesigned completely.
Malwarebytes opens the dashboard that display the detection history, scan options, and real-time protection settings on the screen. The largest part of the screen is an ad for the Premium version of the product.
A click on Scan starts a scan of the system for malware and other unwanted programs right away. You may also click on the widget instead (and not the scan button) to open the interface without running a scan.
The scan interface has been redesigned as well.
You can pause and cancel scans here, or switch to the scan scheduler and reports tab. The scheduler displays scheduled scan tasks and reports the results of previous system scans.
When you open the scanner interface without clicking on scan, you get options to open advanced scanners. There you find options to run a quick or custom scan, the latter supports the selection of target drives or folders, to include a scan for rootkits, and to change the handling of potentially unwanted programs and potentially unwanted modifications.
The Malwarebytes 4 Beta changelog highlights that the company added a new detection engine to the security program that "improves zero-hour detection" and "dynamically extends detection to mutating malware". Malwarebytes notes that scans should run faster than in previous versions and that performance has been improved in the new version as well.
Scans did not take long on a test system and it is certainly possible that scan time improved but one would have to run benchmarks to confirm the impression.
Malwarebytes 4 displays banners at the bottom of the screen when scans run. All highlighted features that are only available in the Premium version of Malwarebytes and suggested to upgrade to it. There is no way to disable these in the free version and since they change quite frequently, can become a source of annoyance.
Real-time protection modules can be enabled or disabled right from the main dashboard. A click on the widget opens the real-time protection overview. It lists the items that real-time protection stopped in the last month and divides them further into the four categories "malicious sites", "malware & PUPs", ransomware, and exploits.
Options to toggle certain protections right then and there are provided as well. The page features a security news widget that was not active at the time of testing. It is likely that Malwarebytes will highlight new blog posts and announcements using it.
The settings provide a good range of options. Note that Malwarebytes submits usage and threat statistics to the company by default; you can disable that under General > Usage and threat statistics.
Options to manage automatic updates, Windows Explorer integration, notifications, scan, quarantine and Windows Security Center integration options, and more can be managed here.
Functionality is limited for non-premium users. Malwarebytes 4.x disables scheduled scans, all real-time protection modules, and several preferences and options in the Settings.
In other words: Malwarebytes 4.x Free supports on-demand scanning only just like previous versions.
The new interface looks a lot cleaner than the old but that comes at the expense of some information that is no longer displayed on the dashboard. The Malwarebytes 3.x dashboard listed information about previous scans and updates, the new dashboard does not display the information anymore.
Another change is that you cannot jump to reports right away anymore. You need to click on scanner and then on reports to access the data.
Some of Malwarebytes recent acquisitions, Windows Firewall Control maker Binisoft in particular, are not integrated in the client.
The three Malwarebytes processes MBAMService.exe, mbamtray.exe and mbam.exe use still quite a bit of RAM but the situation has improved since the release of the first Malwarebytes 3.x version which used a lot of it.
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