Malwarebytes is an anti-malware software for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS that finds and removes malware. Malwarebytes was first released in January 2006. It is available in a free version, which scans for and removes malware when started manually, and a paid version, which additionally provides scheduled scans, real-time protection and a flash-memory scanner.
Malwarebytes is available in both a free and a premium paid version. The free version can be run manually by the user when desired, whereas the paid version can perform scheduled scans, automatically scan files when opened, block IP addresses of malicious web sites, and scan only those services, programs and device drivers that are currently in use.
Malwarebytes Browser Extension Blocks Malware, Scams, Ads, & Trackers
Malwarebytes has released a Chrome and Firefox extension called “Malwarebytes Browser Extension (BETA)” that aims to protect your computer while browsing the web. When installed, this extension will block malicious sites, popups, tech support scams, and also acts as an advertising and tracking blocker.
Malwarebytes states that their extension has the following features:
- Malware protection: Blocks malicious programs or code that can damage your system.
- Scam protection: Blocks online scams, including technical support scams, browser lockers, and phishing.
- Advertising/tracker protection: Blocks third-party ads and third-party ad trackers that monitor your online activity. The number of blocked ads/trackers for a website will show beside the Malwarebytes logo in your browser.
- Clickbait protection: Blocks content and websites that often display behavior of questionable value.
- DISCLAIMER: Clickbait filtering is in no way politically motivated, it is purely behaviorally based
- Potentially unwanted program (PUP) protection: Blocks the downloading of potentially unwanted programs, including toolbars and pop-ups.
Malwarebytes claims that this is the first extension that heuristically detects and blocks browser tech support scams. This means that it will not only block known tech support scams, but theoretically new ones created in the future. This is a great feature, as tech support scams can freeze a browser or make it very difficult to close, which leads many inexperienced computer users to have no idea how to close the page.
Using the Malwarebytes Browser Extension (BETA)
To use the Malwarebytes Browser Extension (BETA), simply install it from it’s Chrome Web Store or Firefox Extension pages. Once installed, the extension will run in the background and examine the traffic as you browse the web.
While browsing the web, if you go to a site that is known or heuristically detected to be a tech support scam, PUP related, fraud, or other malicious site, the extension will block it and display a message.
The extension will also list a count of the number of trackers and advertisement related scripts that were blocked on a page. This count will appear under the Malwarebytes extension icon as shown below.
Some concerns regarding the extension
While the Malwarebytes Browser Extension works very well, I do have some concerns.
One item that I found concerning was that it appears that the extension automatically whitelists the malwarebytes.com domain. This means that tracking scripts that are blocked on all other sites do not appear to be blocked when visiting the Malwarebytes web site.
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