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Home » Best Free Antivirus Software for 2024 » Malwarebytes vs Norton

Malwarebytes vs Norton

I. Introduction

Antivirus software is crucial for protecting computers and devices from malicious software, or malware, that can steal data and sensitive information, corrupt files, and damage systems. With the rising threat of cyberattacks, viruses, and malware, having comprehensive antivirus protection is more important than ever for individuals and businesses alike.

Malwarebytes and Norton are two of the most well-known and widely-used antivirus software providers. Malwarebytes focuses specifically on anti-malware protection while Norton by Symantec offers full antivirus, identity protection, and other security solutions. Both software options provide excellent protection, but they differ in their specific offerings, capabilities, performance, and price points.

This comprehensive guide covers everything potential users need to know about Malwarebytes versus Norton. It outlines key features and capabilities, reviews independent testing results and protection levels, compares compatibility and ease of use, and makes recommendations for which users would benefit most from each antivirus solution. Read on for a complete breakdown to help inform your security software purchase.

II. Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes focuses exclusively on protecting against malware threats and remediating existing infections. Its software solutions are designed specifically to block malware, viruses, Trojans, ransomware, and more from infiltrating computers and networks.

Pricing Model

Malwarebytes provides both free and premium paid versions for Windows and Apple operating systems.

The free version offers limited real-time protection, focusing on manually scanning for and removing infections with the Malwarebytes scan engine. The paid premium versions provide comprehensive real-time protection against a wide array of malware threats through active monitoring and prevention capabilities.

Premium subscription options range from $39.99 per year for a single device to $149.99 for full business protection across all devices. Malwarebytes frequently offers discounts, especially on multi-year subscriptions. Free trial periods are also available.

Features and Benefits

Malwarebytes includes several robust capabilities focused particularly on blocking sophisticated malware attacks:

● Hyper-Guard technology proactively detects and blocks malware activity through behavioral monitoring and anomaly detection

● Ransomware mitigation identifies patterns consistent with ransomware behavior and isolates threats to prevent encryption of files

● Exploit prevention defends against targeted attacks that try to take advantage of vulnerabilities

● Web protection and URL filtering blocks access to compromised malicious websites and pages

● Anomaly detection identifies any unusual modifications to critical operating system areas often impacted by advanced threats

The independent testing lab AV-Test consistently gives Malwarebytes premium products high scores for both protection and performance across Windows 10 and macOS platforms. In 2022 testing, Malwarebytes received a perfect protection rating against widespread malware on macOS and outperformed competitors on identifying targeted Windows malware attacks launched through legitimate software programs.

Test Results and Performance

Malwarebytes also earned outstanding scores for low system slowdowns during active scanning and malware attacks. The premium software excelled at minimizing performance lag, surpassing top competitors like Norton, TotalAV, McAfee and Avira in many benchmark testing categories.

In terms of antivirus capabilities compared specifically to other dedicated anti-malware tools, Malwarebytes generally rates as highly as competitors like Zemana AntiMalware and MalwareFox Pro. It provides equally comprehensive on-demand scan options, real-time guard, and malware removal utilities.

Some key advantages that Malwarebytes offers over these alternatives include enhanced ransomware roll-back tools to help recover encrypted files. It also features more advanced web protections and vulnerabilities detection to identify malware behavior patterns and possible infection entry points.

III. Norton

Norton by Symantec has been a trusted leader in the antivirus software space for over three decades. It offers robust core antivirus and internet security tools for defending multiple devices against viruses, malware, spyware and ransomware threats.

NortonLifeLock’s cyber safety platform goes beyond traditional antivirus with additional identity protection solutions focused safeguarding users’ personal information and data.

Features and Benefits

Some of the top features offered by Norton 360 products include:

● Antivirus engine finds and eliminates viruses, trojans, worms, bots and other threats

● Real-time monitoring continually scans files, software and network traffic for malicious behavior

● Firewall blocks unauthorized network access to stop potential attacks

● Multi-layered ransomware protection detects suspicious file activity and isolates threats before encryption starts

● Password manager, VPN and dark web monitoring provide all-in-one identity protection

● Smart firewall automatically blocks suspicious traffic and modifications to system settings

● Parental controls manage screen time and limit exposure to inappropriate content

● 10-50GB cloud backup allows files and documents backup to prevent data loss

Norton 360 earned outstanding marks across the board in AV-Test’s evaluation of security software for Windows 10. It received perfect scores for protection against both widespread malware and sophisticated targeted attacks. Performance impact testing also yielded excellent results, with minor impacts to system speed during scans and website launches.

Norton offers free trial periods so users can evaluate protection and performance with no commitment. Subscription plans allow customers to protect multiple PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets under a single license.

Artificial Intelligence Technology

A key aspect that sets Norton apart from competitors is its continual development of machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence to improve threat detection.

By leveraging aggregated data and insights across its large install base, Norton can identify emerging attack techniques and patterns faster. Its AI-powered SONAR behavior monitoring compares unknown files against what it has learned to identify novel threats that signature-based engines would miss.

Norton also offers robust refund policies for unsatisfied customers across all products. Users can request a refund within 60 days of their initial order date if the product does not meet expectations.

Test Results and Performance

The most recent tests by AV-Comparatives, an independent organization evaluating antivirus software performance, shows Norton continues to demonstrate strong protection across the board:

● Received Advanced+ certification in malware protection test for Q3 2022, stopping 100% threats

● Earned Standard certification for performance, with moderate impact during scans

● Rated among top 10 antivirus solutions for overall user experience and satisfaction

Comparison tests between Norton and other well-known brands like TotalAV reveal mixed results across protection, impact and usability categories. Overall Norton tends to rate higher in malware blocking but with more noticeable system slowdowns. TotalAV offers faster performance but identifies a lower percentage of threats based on multiple evaluations.

IV. Comparison of Malwarebytes and Norton

Malwarebytes and Norton take differ approaches when it comes to protecting devices and information from digital threats. The below guide outlines key capabilities differences, unique strengths of each platform and ideal user profiles based on specific cybersecurity needs.

Pros and Cons of Malwarebytes: ● Specialized protection against malware and ransomware ● Lightweight performance impact during scans
● Limited identity protection features ● No firewall, backup or PC optimization utilities

Pros and Cons of Norton: ● Broader security platform including antivirus through identity protection ● Higher detection rates for widespread threats ● Slightly heavier system resource usage ● More expensive subscription options

Ideal Users for Each Solution

Malwarebytes shines for users focused exclusively on comprehensive anti-malware abilities rather than a full suite of cyber safety features. With polished core infection prevention and minimal drag on device performance, it’s a great match for both individual casual users and enterprise IT teams.

Norton 360 works well for customers willing to pay more for an all-in-one solution spanning from antivirus to VPN, cloud backup and identity theft support. Extra features like parenting controls also appeal to families looking to manage access and exposure during kids’ computer usage. Users that value robust testing results and proven track records may also prefer Norton.

For businesses, Norton Endpoint Protection caters particularly well to managed IT service providers. It offers centralized tracking, reporting and administration capabilities across protected endpoints. Malwarebytes Nebula cloud platform allows smaller companies to handle endpoint security controls and auditing through an online console.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Which software is better at preventing ransomware threats?

Both Malwarebytes and Norton provide leading ransomware detection and protection capabilities. Malwarebytes offers slightly more advanced tools tailored to preventing ransomware attacks before encryption starts. It tends to earn higher scores from testing firms specifically for ransomware prevention among anti-malware vendors.

  1. Can Malwarebytes fully replace antivirus software?

Malwarebytes excels at blocking sophisticated malware threats but does not provide complete antivirus capabilities on its own. For full virus protection, users need a dedicated antivirus solution like Norton or products with bundled engines like Windows Defender.

  1. Does Norton identity protection prevent all cases of identity theft?

No identity theft protection services, including Norton LifeLock packages, can prevent all identity theft incidents. They provide helpful monitoring tools to detect suspicious use of personal information but cannot stop all attacks. Users should still take additional measures to secure sensitive data.

  1. What is the best free antivirus software?

Leading free antivirus software options include Avast Free Antivirus and Kaspersky Security Cloud Free. These provide core signature-based malware protections with minimal performance impact. However, free antivirus lacks real-time monitoring and advanced heuristics found in premium software.

Malwarebytes free version focuses specifically on on-demand scans and manual removal versus always-on protection. Windows Defender also offers a decent baseline of defenses for Windows machines. Individuals on tight budgets may want to consider a free antivirus, while businesses require more advanced prevented protections.

V. Conclusion

Final Thoughts on Malwarebytes vs Norton

When weighing Malwarebytes versus Norton antivirus solutions, there are several key factors to consider:

● Malwarebytes specializes in anti-malware defenses while Norton provides full internet security suites

● Both earn excellent marks for protection but Norton tends to identify more widespread threats

● Malwarebytes has less noticeable performance impact during active scanning

● Norton offers additional features like cloud backup and identity theft support

In summary, Malwarebytes excels at protecting against sophisticated malware thanks to its focused, efficient anti-malware engine. Norton leverages robust AI capabilities to achieve slightly higher malware detection rates, albeit with more resource usage.

Norton’s all-inclusive platform appeals to users wanting an end-to-end solution spanning from antivirus to online privacy and identity protection tools. With its emphasis solely on antimalware scanning and remediation abilities, Malwarebytes meets the needs of most individuals and businesses seeking specialized malware defenses.

Choosing Antivirus Software When selecting any antivirus software, be sure to consider:

● Recent independent testing results assessing protection levels and performance impact

● Available features and extra utilities beyond core antivirus capabilities

● Compatibility with your devices across operating systems

● Resources usage and passive vs active monitoring options

● Pricing for single vs multi-device subscriptions

● Ease of installation, updates and maintenance

Taking the time to balance your unique workload, security priorities and budget will help determine the best antivirus choice for your needs.layered ransomware protection detects suspicious file activity and isolates threats before encryption starts