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IT security is now more important than ever before. In an age where personal data is treated as a commodity, it’s vital that you take the necessary steps to protect your computer. Malware, ransomware, viruses, and other threats are prevalent and more widespread than they ever have been. Software such as Malwarebytes and Avast Internet Security are designed to protect users from these threats. Both can identify and remove any harmful files, as well as give real-time protection against online threats. But how do you choose between Malwarebytes and Avast?
In this article, we’ll examine each software suite to determine which one is best. We’ll cover the pros and cons of both as well as provide a direct comparison of their key features. By the time we’re done, you should be able to confidently choose one or the other for your internet security needs. Welcome to your complete guide to Malwarebytes vs. Avast.
Malwarebytes, formerly known as Malwarebytes Anti-malware, is a software suite that was first launched back in 2006. Over the last 12 years, it has been one of the top anti-malware platforms of its type, providing a free version of its software. As of 2018, they have the third largest market share of anti-malware software for Windows.
The company offers four different modules for their platform, giving total protection to users’ computers. These modules are anti-malware, anti-ransomware, anti-exploit, and malicious website protection. A free 14-day trial gives access to all of the features of Malwarebytes, but the base (free) version provides only the anti-malware/spyware and anti-rootkit features. On their website, Malwarebytes suggest that the free version should be used to compliment anti-virus software, whilst the premium versions ($51.99 per year for one device, $77.99 per year for three devices) are a full anti-virus replacement. The free version is only compatible with Windows, while premium versions protect Windows, Mac, and Android.
Malwarebytes Pros and Cons
There’s a lot to like about Malwarebytes. Over the years they’ve refined their software and interface to make it as user-friendly as possible. Below are some of the standout features that the platform has to offers users:
- Excellent active protection. One of the most useful aspects of the suite is that it’s always on the lookout for danger. As soon as a threat has been detected, it is isolated and flagged for the user. It’s then possible to decide what to be done with the offending article, as it could be a false alarm.
- Regular updates. The library of threats is updated continuously based on other users’ experiences. This instant response means that new dangers are picked up quickly and updates are rolled out accordingly.
- Advanced machine learning. One further layer of protection is offered by the machine learning function of the software. It will analyze potential new threats to determine how they’re behaving. If it’s potentially dangerous, it will shut them down.
- Committed support and community. Over the years, Malwarebytes have fostered a dedicated community. Their forum is full of useful knowledge and people willing to help. Furthermore, their direct support is also of high quality.
- Multi-platform Support. The paid versions of the software offer support across multiple platforms, including Mac, Windows and Android. If you have multiple devices connected to the internet across different operating systems, this can be invaluable.
- Scan Scheduling. One particularly useful feature of the suite is the scan scheduling. This offers users the chance to determine when scans of varying depths happen, keeping you safe at a time that’s convenient for you.
- The free version isn’t enough. Although the 14-day free trial provides a good tester, the free version after that drops most of the useful features. This lack of features means that it’s not suitable for comprehensive protection. As a result, you’ll have to have another program to ensure you’re fully protected. This additional software can actually clash with Malwarebytes, which can be frustrating.
- It can be annoying. Sometimes, the program can be a little too sensitive. Notifications can seem to flow endlessly, flagging seemingly every action you take as a possible threat. Although it’s important to have active protection, it would be nice if Malwarebytes could do it without constantly alerting users. Some settings can be changed, but it’s an annoying process to have to go through.
- Custom scans can slow things down. It’s useful to be able to schedule scans and set up custom sweeps. However, it can also be quite resource-intensive. If you’re PC isn’t very powerful in the first place, you may find that it slows down considerably when Malwarebytes is scanning.
- It’s pushy. If you only want to have the free version, you will be regularly reminded to upgrade to a paid version. Quite often the program uses fear tactics to try and get you to spend money on the upgraded package.
Avast Internet Security Introduction
Avast is a company that has been around for many years. Originally founded in the late 80s, they released their first antivirus software for Windows in 1995. In the early 2000s, the company switched from a paid to a freemium service and began to grow their presence online quickly. In 2016 they acquired security giants AVG, as well as the makers of clean up software CCleaner. Currently, Avast has the most significant market share of anti-malware and virus protection software.
Much like Malwarebytes, Avast offers both a free and paid version of their software. They also have some attractive free trial periods for their advanced features. The company offers four tiers of antivirus; a free version, internet security version, premier version, and ultimate version. Each successive tier is more expensive but provides a broader range of features. The basic free version includes antivirus and anti-malware protection, Wi-Fi security, and a password vault.
Avast as also changed its prices recently for both their standard and ultimate packages. Their standard internet protection comes in at $59.99 for one year, $109.99 for two years and $159.99 for three years. As for their ultimate package, the prices are $119.99 for a single year, $219.99 for two years and $319.99 for three years.
Avast Pros and Cons
The most advanced features of Avast can end up being quite pricey, at $119.99 per year for the Ultimate package. However, it is packed full of features that will keep you and your PC safe from threats. Below are some of the pros and cons of Avast:
- Wide range of features. There are so many functions that this suite has to offer, regardless of the tier you choose. The most expensive Ultimate version has literally everything you need to stay safe online, no matter what you do. All of these features work well together, meaning you will not need to add any extra programs to stay protected.
- Excellent free features. Although the better features are behind a paywall, some of the free aspects are very good. The Wi-Fi protection in particular is a useful inclusion. It means you can rest assured that only your own devices are connected to your Wi-Fi, and that no intruders can access your private network..
- Password storage. These types of programs are becoming more common. Having multiple online accounts for email, social media, online shopping, and other actions means that you need to have a wide array of passwords. With Avast, you can have one central system that automates your password management. Each is secure and unique, meaning you don’t have to worry about your accounts becoming compromised..
- Sandbox apps. If you’re unsure how safe an application you’ve downloaded is, the Sandbox mode on Avast can help. It will run the app in a secure environment to test if it’s legitimate. If it’s not, your PC won’t be compromised. It’s a nice feature that adds an extra layer of protection..
- Phishing detection. We’ve already mentioned how important your personal data is. Phishing threats try to access this data through a variety of means including rogue websites and emails. Avast can protect against both..
- It’s resource intensive. One of the problems with Avast, at every level of purchase, is that it takes a lot of memory to run it. If you have a powerful PC, you may not notice it too much, but older computers will struggle. The more apps and features you unlock, the slower it goes. This slowness is particularly apparent when you’re running in-depth scans, much like with Malwarebytes.
- It constantly asks you to upgrade. The free trial is a really nice feature of Avast, and can last up to as much as 60 days. However, if you choose not to continue with the paid premium features, Avast will constantly remind you to upgrade. Pop-up windows will interrupt other programs asking users to pay for added protection. As with Malwarebytes, it’s frustrating and uses scare tactics.
- Most of the best features are behind a paywall. It’s true that some of the free features are useful, but the ones that offer the best protection are locked behind a paywall. Avast will prompt users to take actions to protect their PC, only to then be asked to pay to carry out the actions. One of the best aspects of the suite, the system cleaner, is incredibly useful on the free trial. However after that, it’s prohibitively expensive.
Malwarebytes vs Avast: Comparison
Now that we’ve seen the merits and details of each package, it’s time to compare them side-by-side. It’s worth noting that both free versions are compatible with each other, and when combined offer a reasonable level of security.
The free versions are comparable in terms of features. However, the paid Malwarebytes software is only $51.99 per year. Avast’s lowest paid version comes in at $59.99 per year. The most expensive version of Avast totals at $119.99 per year. If you’re only looking for free software, Avast is perhaps the better option as it has more features. However, Malwarebytes works out cheaper for comprehensive protection.
When it comes to premium features, Avast has by far the most. This is where it justifies its high price tag. Not only does it cover virus and malware protection, but also protection from all other types of online threats. Elements such as a password vault, Wi-Fi security, webcam protection, and a VPN, mean you can safely browse online when using Avast. Malwarebytes does offer excellent monitoring for viruses, malware, ransomware, and other exploits, but nothing more than that.
There’s no clear winner here. It’s evident that both companies have put a lot of thought into their UI. Each is intuitive to use and explains each features well. Experts and total novices will be able to navigate the various functions with ease. Setting up timed and custom scans is simple, although changing notifications is a little harder.
Both the scans and the threat detection are fast for each program. There’s really not much in it at all in terms of comparing though. However, Avast does take up noticeably more system resources in order to perform the scan. It’s most likely down to the many functions that are packed into Avast’s suite, but it’s still annoying when it slows your system to a crawl.
Malwarebytes vs Avast: Final Thoughts
Our review has looked at some of the key aspects of these two highly trusted software packages. The free version of each is highly competitive, although neither is the perfect solution to complete security. If you’re looking for protection without fees, having both of these programs running is a good idea to cover all of your bases. However, it’s clear why Avast is the market leader. There are so many features included that go far beyond just antivirus and anti-malware protection. You can get a taste of these as part of the 30-day trial they offer.
One aspect of both systems that counts against them is how aggressively they pursue users to upgrade while using the free version. There are constant reminders of why you need to pay to unlock features. Avast is particularly bad, and the pop-ups can be very intrusive. One other point against Avast is that their program is very resource-intensive, which can lead to a slow computer when scans are being performed.
Ultimately, both are good options for internet security, and each has a large market share because of this.