Malwarebytes is a very capable anti-malware program which was initially available for Windows and Android. I was a regular user of this software and it never let me down. I really loved its clean interface and also the fact that it didn’t hogged up all my system resources. Now, a couple of years back when my trusty Windows machine finally died (after serving me for 4 long years), I bought a Mac, just to see what all the hype was about, and I love it as much as I loved my Windows machine. So, the point is, when I came to know about the fact that Malwarebytes has released its Mac client, I really wanted to try it out. I certainly did that and this article summarizes the experience I had while using it. So, if you wanted to know if the software is any good, here is our in-depth review of Malwarebytes for Mac:
Do You Really Need Malware Protection On Mac?
Before we get into the review, let us first bust a myth which says that Macs never get infected with malicious software (malware). Although Macs are generally considered a more secure platform than Windows, they are also susceptible to malware attacks. One of the major reason behind PCs getting more malware attacks than Macs has simply to do with maths. If you make a malware for Windows, you will have a larger target area, and hence, more chances of being successful. But, as Macs are gaining popularity, a spike in active malware programs for Mac has been observed in the last couple of years. So, even if you are Mac user, you are safe only until you are not.
Malwarebytes For Mac: Key Features
Now that we have busted the myth, let us take a closer look at the features that Malwarebytes has to offer us. There are some really good things here that I like, so let us just get into it.
1. Real-Time Protection
Malwarebytes offers real-time protection for your Mac. What this means is that the software detects and removes malware in real time with advanced anti-malware technology. It automatically identifies dangerous threats and removes it without you having to do anything. Suppose you download a file from the internet which contains malware. The software will recognise the malware and stop you from opening the file and infecting your Mac. If you want to learn more about the types of malware it protects your Mac against, head over to this link and read all about it.
2. Adware And PUP Protection
The main malware attacks on Macs which have been prominent in the past are Adware and Potentially Unwanted Program (PUPs). Adware is a type of malware which injects ads on websites while you are surfing the net. This will result in you seeing a lot more ads than usual. Also, these ads cannot be blocked by using any ad-blocking tool. Adware even changes your default search engine and your new tab settings, showing you a plethora of ads whenever you are online. This results in a buggy and frustrating web surfing experience.
PUPs are those softwares which you don’t need but have installed unknowingly. These include apps which pose themselves majorly as anti-virus or cleaning apps. These apps come with an infected code which can introduce adware in your system. Some might even contain key logger, which records and send your private information to hackers. The biggest example of such app that comes to mind is MacKeeper (never ever install this one). Malwarebytes will protect you from both adware and PUPs, so that, you can surf the web without any worry. It uses its real-time protection to detect any adware or PUPs that you might encounter unknowingly and automatically stops them from infecting your Mac.
3. Fast Scanning
The above two are the proactive features which save your Mac from getting infected with malware. But, what if your Mac is already infected? Well, in that case, you can just scan your Mac and the software will detect any malware present on your device. Then, you can clean your Mac by deleting the malware from right inside the app. Although the scanning technique is not as fast as mentioned on Malwarebytes’ website (they say 15 seconds), it is pretty fast and the whole process will take less than a minute. I tested this on my 2015 MacBook Pro (13” and 256 GB SSD) with almost full storage (about 20 GB was Free), and the scan took around 35 seconds. Your scanning time will differ depending on the system, but it’s safe to say that it won’t take more than a minute.
User Interface and Ease of Use
Other than the protection that it offers, the best part about using Malwarebytes is its user interface and ease of use. The software is very light (about 20 MB in size) and takes up a tiny fraction of your resources. You won’t notice a difference even if you allow the app to run all the time. The interface is pretty simple too. You get a Dashboard which shows you your Mac’s protection status, the last scan timestamp, and the software update status. Since the software updates itself in the background to include all the newly discovered malware signatures, you can be assured that you are protected all the time. Then there’ the scan tab, where you can go to scan your Mac. If you enable automatic scan in its preferences, you won’t have to do it manually. You can also set the frequency of your automatic scanning.
Lastly, there’s the quarantine tab where all the detected malware live. Here, you can review the detected malware and then delete it forever. The Settings tab is basically the “Preferences” tab for the app. Here you can set automatic scanning, set the default action whenever a malware is detected and choose to show the app’s icon in menu bar. The app performs most of the work automatically, so, you don’t have to do much. You just need to review the quarantine items once in a while, and delete any malware that you want to. All in all, it’s one of the lightest and the simplest anti-malware software you will find.
Malwarebytes on Mac vs Malwarebytes on PC
As I said earlier, I loved using Malwarebytes on my PC, so I do want to compare its Mac client to its PC version, just to see if it stands up to its elder sibling. Sadly, Malwarebytes’ Mac version is nowhere as powerful as its Windows counterpart. The Windows version of the software has many features which still are missing on the Mac version. The Windows version comes with anti-exploit, anti-ransomware, malicious website protection, and anti-rootkit protection, features which are still not on the Mac version of the Malwarebytes.
One might argue that these protections are not necessarily needed for Mac, as reports of these malware attacks are not that prominent. Still, it will be good to see these features ported to the Mac version itself. However, considering the fact that Malwarebytes for Mac is still new, there’s a high probability that these features will be added with future updates.
Pricing and Availability
Malwarebytes is available for any Mac device running macOS 10.10 (OS X Yosemite) or higher. However, the app is still not updated to run on the latest version of the macOS, macOS High Sierra. So, if you are running either developer or public beta of High Sierra, you won’t be able to install the software on your system. Hopefully, the app will update in the coming weeks before the final version of High Sierra is pushed to users. You can download and use the app for free. However, the free version severely limits the software features. You will only be able to use the scanning feature and all the real-time protection features will be disabled. However, you do get a 30-day trial period with premium features, after which, it will cost your $39.99/year.
- Real-time malware protection
- Light Software with no visible effects on system performance
- Simple user interface with automatic scanning
- Fast Scanning
- Lacks features when compared to its own Windows version
- Costly software at $39.99/year
- Still not updated for macOS High Sierra
Malwarebytes for Mac Review: Protect Your Mac Against Malware
Macs are premium products, and although they are pretty secure when it comes to malware attacks, the security is not absolute. As I said earlier, you are secure until the time you are not. One wrong click and your Mac might also get infected. It is better to be proactive than to lament later. Malwarebytes will help protect your Mac from various malware attacks such as adware and PUPs. Its real-time protect feature ensures that your Mac doesn’t get infected. The only thing which has a potential of holding users back from using this software is its subscription based pricing. $39.99/year is a hefty price to pay. If you can live with its pricing, you should definitely use this on your Mac. Check it out and let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.