The importance of an effective anti malware suite can’t be overstated, considering the increased number of cyber threats posed to every connected device around the world that doesn’t have functional antivirus software with reliable malware cleaner solutions. You’re putting your security and privacy in the hands of a smart piece of coding; hence you must be confident it’s the best malware removal software to get the job done. If you find a malware scanner with a VPN client for improved privacy, all the better.
5 Best Malware Removal Software
New malware and viruses are released almost every day, so it’s very likely that your mobile device or computer might suffer some nasty malware infection. Although many malware usually spies on you without you even knowing it, ransomware holds your sensitive data hostage in exchange for some cash, whereas viruses might infect all devices in your home network.
We tested more than 20 anti malware software’s, but unfortunately, we found that most of them cannot really find every malware strain. Even if a few can, it may not be able to remove it from your computer. It’s for this reason we’ve handpicked the five best malware removal software choices for 2021. If you choose any of the available options, you’ll protect your devices from different malware types with exclusive real-time scans and malware removal resources.
However, if you don’t have the time to check through the entire review for the best malware removal tool, Norton is a very powerful anti malware tool that can detect and remove malicious files immediately they appear. Nonetheless, you don’t have to believe everything we say; you can try out their free version with a refund guarantee.
Short of Time? See Our Top 5 for January, 2022
What is Malware?
Malware is a term for any malicious program designed to exploit or harm any network, service, or programmable device. Cybercriminals use malware for extra information that they can then use to manipulate their victims for financial gain. That information can range from healthcare records to personal passwords and emails to financial data – there are endless possibilities for the type of information, which can be compromised. The malware encompasses the different type of malicious program, including viruses, and hackers use it for different reasons, including:
- Tricking you into sharing personal data for ID theft
- Stealing user credit card data
- Infecting PCs and using them to get cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin
- Assume control of different computers to launch attacks
What Our Experts Suggest:
To remove any malware software on your device you need to install a malware removal application. Below are the 5 best malware removal software apps reviewed by our experts.
Easy to use, affordable, effective, and simple, Malwarebytes is still king with the best security solutions. Malwarebytes is a leading anti malware, and you don’t have to be a computer guru to know about it; the company has been providing some of the best products for many years.
It was the first dedicated anti malware program of its kind to be released and remains one of the best anti malware solutions you can get today. Malwarebytes free download version is also impressive but doesn’t provide sufficient coverage to get expert recommendations. Versatility is Malwarebytes key highlight.
Alongside its very easy-to-use interface and incredibly intuitive, it’s also customizable and very powerful to win over millions of users. From real-time protection to intelligent behavior analysis to all possible threats, Malwarebytes will get the job done for you without any dramas whatsoever.
Essentially, this type of anti malware program can get you started in minutes, with no prior experience or knowledge required. Also, it’s a very lightweight solution, which means it won’t drain your computer resources and runs almost silently in the background. A market leader in many laboratory tests and recommended by antivirus experts across the globe, Malwarebytes also come with a 14-day free trial reassurance.
Malwarebytes has been in the market for many years, building the kind of reputation and pedigree, which speaks for itself. Comprehensively affordable and user-friendly, Malwarebytes offers a no-nonsense pathway to the detection and prevention of malware that’s highly recommended.
🥈2. Norton 360
Norton 360 is one of the best malware removal tools you’ll find out there – it uses highly advanced heuristic scanning, machine learning, and a massive learning database to find and eliminate highly sophisticated malware. During our lab tests, Norton detected and blocked 100% of malicious files we tried to download into our computer.
After we turned off Norton’s 360 real-time protection and download the malicious files into the PC’s hard drive, Norton was able to detect and remove all malicious files – the scan was complete within 40 minutes and didn’t slow down the PC. Besides offering robust malware protection, Norton also offers extra security features such as:
- Webcam protections
- Parental controls
- Encrypted storage
- Password manager
- Virtual private network
- Anti-phishing protection
- Network firewall
Norton’s firewall is pretty good and utilizes the machine learning capability to detect any unusual activities within the network and blocks every exploit attack. Users can choose between three different types of scans, including a custom scan, a full scan, and a quick scan. The options allow you to undertake any unobtrusive daily scan of your PC’s vulnerable parts, the entire drive, or only specific sections.
Also, Norton offers useful additional security features for complementing malware protection. Our favorite is the Norton cloud backup feature, which gives users up to 75GB of cloud storage to secure personal data and protect that data against cybercriminals. The Secure VPN is another excellent feature. The VPN client allows you to torrent anonymously, access geo-blocked content, and browse securely. Norton 360 is also pretty fast as compared to other competitors. As a matter of fact, if you don’t necessarily consider the load times, it will be like you aren’t using anti malware.
Bitdefender has a robust set of great anti malware features. It gives you the chance to choose between different types of scans, including a custom scan, a full scan, and a quick scan. You can quickly analyze almost all vulnerable parts of your PC between the scan types, folders you suspect are infected, or the whole device.
Bitdefender Merits and Demerits
In all our tests, Bitdefender detected and blocked all malicious files during our scans. Bitdefender real-time scans are slightly lower at about 99.7%. It’s an incredible score and helps ensure your PC remains safe against the combination of zero data exploits and more established attacks. With regards to phishing attacks, it utilizes AI technology to analyze websites and emails and compare them to other attacks to determine their common characteristics.
Bitdefender’s capability to protect against ransomware is equally powerful. Incase your devices become infected, the ransomware recovery tools help decrypt the data without you necessarily having to pay the ransom to the attackers and cybercriminals. In our tests, it was able to prevent ransomware encryption and recovered all the affected files instantly.
Besides the anti malware features, Bitdefender offers additional tools such as parental controls, a password manager, and a file shredder. The software even comes with a Virtual Private Network (VPN), although it only comes with 200 MB daily data. If you are looking for more advanced solution check our best VPN apps page.
Bitdefender is one of the leading anti malware software to protect computers in terms of reliable and efficient malware identification and prevention. Moreover, it’s one of the fastest security suites available out there, boasts an extensive range of extra features, and comes with a worthwhile 30-day refund guarantee. Also, the Bitdefender team is known for taking good care of its customers to the highest levels possible.
- 30-day free trial
- 24/7 live chat customer support
- Compatible with iOS, android, mac, and windows
- Includes password manager, VPN, encrypted cloud backup, and more
- Powerful malware scanner
IObit Advanced SystemCare Ultimate
IObit Advanced SystemCare Ultimate is an extraordinary anti malware program for cleaning and optimizing your system. It can speed up your PC by over 200%. Not to mention that it also helps keep your sensitive data away from malicious programs.
It proactively detects and blocks malicious files and links in real-time. Through the use of IObit Advanced SystemCare Ultimate, you’ll have optimized your PC to its full potential. It also helps prevent it from privacy breach. Keep in mind that it comes with two versions: pro and free version. It has advanced and automatic features.
- PC Optimization – IObit knows that keeping your PC safe isn’t enough. For this reason, the software helps clean your computer and improve the response time. Unnecessary registries and files are over time removed to create enough space in your PC.
- Multilingual support – It isn’t hard to know how the software works even when you don’t understand the English language. Although the beta version of this software is only accessible in English, the stand version supports over 30 languages.
- Safeguard private information – Your PC houses lots of information. It isn’t only you who is put at risk of malware and hacking. In case your computer isn’t well protected, people with ill intentions might access your contact list and ultimately expose your sensitive data.
- Bitdefender engine – This software utilizes the Bitdefender engine and effectively detects and removes all types of malware and viruses. If an individual tries intercepting your computer, they immediately get blocked.
- Cryptomining control – Crypto has, over the years, become increasingly popular. Nevertheless, some websites utilize computers to mine bitcoin – all without the user’s knowledge. If you choose to use IObit Advanced SystemCare Ultimate, these cannot find a way of infiltrating your PC.
McAfee is a very secure option with a perfect detection rate when latest against some of the latest threats. It protects users against ‘fileless’ malware. Fileless malware are highly advanced attacks, which appear in your PC’s Random Access Memory (RAM) without saving them on your hard drive. Keep in mind that not all the anti malware programs you find out there can promise to protect against these, which gives McAfee an edge and helps secure users against such severe threats.
You can utilize three different types of scans (custom scan, full scan, or quick scan) and constantly schedule them, so there isn’t any need to remember these. After we ran a quick scan, we were delighted it took less than 5 minutes to scan more than 10,000 files. The full scan was completed within 50 minutes for more than 590,000 files.
With an extensive range of additional features to keep your device secure. We particularly like McAfee’s ransom guard tool that regularly monitors your devices to block unauthorized changes to folders or files. This tool utilizes advanced machine learning to regularly analyze the most recent malware.
The password manager and the file shredder are also great features. The file shredder wipes your data securely by overwriting it, meaning there is nothing left to salvage. Furthermore, the password manager helps encrypt all your login credentials behind the master password and will autofill them on relevant sites whenever you need to use them. It has a user-friendly interface, fast, and works perfectly across mac, windows, iOS, and android.
The drawback is that the included free version can only store 15 passwords. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which means you can try out the features and cancel if you don’t like what you’re getting. Keep in mind that the only way to get the refund is by submitting the request form and calling them via phone.
- Customer support services available through telephone
- Works on mac, windows, iOS, and android
- Includes file shredder, password manager, and a VPN
- Efficiently identifies and removes malware
Do You Need Malware Protection
As to whether you need malware protection, it’s all about giving yourself the best chance to protect your device from as many attacks as possible. The most important thing that you need to remember is that although antivirus and anti malware packages are very important, they aren’t the same.
Malware is an umbrella phrase that includes different types of rogue programs and anything that gets into your computer with some malicious intent. The most common examples are ransomware and spyware. The ransomware is used to hijack computer systems and lockout the owner until they pay the ransom. On the other hand, spyware is used to steal personal information and monitor actions.
One important thing about malware is that if you don’t protect yourself against these types of attacks, you become vulnerable to many kinds of threats. For this reason, you need to get the best malware removal tool to protect your PC.
Types of malware
Unfortunately, there are many types of malware out there, but understanding each malware type is one way through which you can help protect your devices and data.
A virus can come as part of an email attachment, which holds the virus payload or malware that carries out the malicious action. After the victim opens the files, the device gets infected.
Worms can easily copy themselves from one machine to another, often by exploiting some type of security vulnerability in the operating system or software and don’t need any user interaction to function.
The Trojan virus usually masquerades as a harmless application, tricking the users into downloading the apps and using them. Once it’s up and running, they can then steal personal data, crash the device, spy on activities, and even launch attacks.
It’s also important to note that some malware are categorized based on what they do to a system. Following are types of malware based on what they do to a system.
Spyware is software installed on your PC without you even knowing it. It then captures and sends personal data or web data and browsing habits to its users. Spyware allows the users to monitor different forms of communications on a targeted device. It is often used by information security organizations, government agencies, and law enforcement to test and monitor communications in a more sensitive environment or an assessment. Also, spyware is available to consumers, allowing buyers to spy on their employees, children, and spouse.
Ransomware is without a doubt one of the most profitable and popular malware types amongst cybercriminals. It installs itself on your PC, encrypts sensitive files, and then demands a ransom (often in the form of bitcoin), and then sends the data to the user.
Adware programs push undesired ads at users and display pop-up windows and blinking ads when users perform certain actions. It’s usually installed in exchange for new services, such as the right to use a certain service without paying.
This is malicious mining of cryptocurrency, which happens when hackers hack access to personal and business computers, mobile devices, and laptops to install the software. The software utilizes the PC’s resources and power to mine for cryptos or steals crypto wallets owned by victims.
A rootkit is a type of malware created to remain undetected on your PC. Cybercriminals use them to access and control your machine remotely, getting deep into the system to access as much information as possible.
Is Malware Protection Different Than Antivirus?
A computer virus usually spread from one user to another through self-replication. Antivirus uses the signature-based detection technique to identify known cyber threats. This kind of detection usually matches the file signatures to the database of already known malware. On the other malware antivirus uses heuristic-based detection to find source codes, which indicate threats.
Anti malware and antivirus are both built to detect as well as protect against malicious programs. Although the phrase antivirus means that it’s only able to protect against viruses, it comes with additional features that help protect against different forms of malware. The anti malware goes a step further and broadly focuses on highly advanced software threats. To understand the topic better, we will refer to antivirus software assuming that it hasn’t been upgraded to malware protection and detection.
Antivirus isn’t the same as anti malware, but the two complete each other to function as a high defense level against the malicious software alongside healthy online habits. On the other hand, antivirus software plays a significant role in defending against other traditional and highly established cyberthreats.
How Can You Detect Malware
The only surefire way of knowing your PC has been infected with malware is by conducting a comprehensive scan, courtesy of trustworthy malware scanner software. Nonetheless, there are many tell-tale symptoms and signs of malware infection to help in the best malware protection. A few examples include:
- Inability to run some applications and programs
- The continuous or frequent site redirects when surfing the internet
- Poor performance because of unexplained consumption of resources
- Unexpected device and software errors without any obvious cause
- Undesired pop-up advertisements
The most important thing to remember is that in any case where your PC starts misbehaving, it could be a sign of infection. If this happens, you should conduct a comprehensive scan immediately and deal with all detected problems.
Different Malware Scan Types
Different types of malware scan configurations, but most antivirus programs have three or two different scan options. Generally, these options are “Full” system scan, “Rapid/Hyper/Quick” scan, and “Custom” system scan option.
The full scan usually performs a thorough check of the entire PC, inside and out. Based on the antivirus program you’ve chosen, some of the objects that the antivirus scans include:
- Registry items
- Startup folders
- System backups
- System memory (RAM)
- All hard drives, network drives, and removable storage
The full scan usually takes several hours based on the amount of data you had stored.
The custom scan allows you the same detailed scanning functionality as a full scan, but with the option of choosing the locations you want to be scanned. For example, my system has 3 HDDs and one SSD. Utilizing Windows Defender, a full scan takes 5 hours to complete.
Nonetheless, if you choose custom scan, you can command the antivirus to avoid certain hard drives. If the system utilizes C: for the OS and downloads folders, you should focus your scan here.
Overall, some antivirus tools have an option for quick scans. This kind of quick scan comes in different names based on the antivirus program you’ve chosen. So, how is full scanning different from quick scanning?
- Registry items
- Startup folders
- System memory (RAM)
- Running threads and processes
- Commonly infected folders and files
Following are real-life examples of malware:
- Cryptolocker – Released back in 2013, it’s one of the most popular ransomware. It used an extensive encryption key that was very difficult for experts to decipher.
- CovidLock – It’s an example of cybercriminals trying to exploit fear related to the coronavirus. It’s ransomware that infects victims through malicious files.
- LockerGoga –It was on the headlines in 2009 for infecting large companies around the world, such as Hydro and Altran Technologies.
- Emotet – This was a Trojan that became popular in 2018 after the U.S Department of Homeland Security defined it as one of the most destructive and dangerous malware.
Free Malware Removal
Worried your device might get infected? No need to worry; you can use the best free malware scan removal tools to remove any malicious file.
It’s highly likely that at some point in time, your device might get infected with malware. From sophisticated code exploits to dodgy email attachments and simple phishing scams, cybercriminals are always looking for more ways to access devices.
Fortunately, if you find yourself in such a situation, you can choose from the wide range of free malware removal tools to help you get rid of the malicious program. Some of the tools might require an investment while others are free. You just have to make the right decision.