It is not easy to come across a free PC protection tool that offers real-time protection, a large threats database, anti-phishing, and download protection, among other useful features. IObit Malware Fighter includes all these protection tools in one single and very attractive package, and it even adds ad removal, surfing protection, and a plug-in and toolbar manager to the deal. It isn’t also easy to come across trials or free anti-virus tools that, after a free and thorough scan – thirty minutes for a not-so-big hard drive –, show only one potential threat, instead of a few hundreds or even thousands. I can’t help asking myself whether I’m facing the only honest protection tool out there or if it has failed miserably in detecting the dozens of malware programs that might now be spying freely on my PC.
Before the addition of the Bitdefender technology, previous versions of IObit Malware Fighter weren’t precisely famous for their efficiency in identifying and blocking PC threats – actually, the detection rate of this tool was fairly low. It improved significantly once Bitdefender took over the program’s own anti-virus engine, but this higher level of efficiency is only available in the Pro version. The same restriction applies to the new and full IObit anti-malware engine, the also new anti-ransomware functionality, the browser anti-tracking protection, and pretty much all the functionality that makes Malware Fighter worth checking. According to the developers’ comparison chart, this free version barely offers “basic” anti-malware and real-time protection functionality.
Having said that, the “basic” functionality that the program offers looks less basic than expected. The program offers you three types of scan – a smart (i.e. quick) scan of the critical areas of your system, a full scan, and a custom scan that lets you select the drives you want the program to check. As seen, the full scan may take a while, a minor “drawback” that I personally find reassuring. You’re then presented with an overview of your system’s situation when it comes to privacy and security threats and the possibility of fixing them all (another “anomalous” feature that you won’t find easily in most trials and free versions). You can check the program’s settings dialog to configure the program’s basic real-time protection and define its level of efficiency or to check that the new DOG (Digital Original Gene) function is enabled. This will help the program to detect zero day threats more easily. The scan settings are also worth visiting – here you can add files to your white and quarantine lists and set the program to auto-scan your system, if so desired.
You will find a number of options labeled as “Pro”, meaning that you need to upgrade to the program’s paid version to activate them. As mentioned above, these include the anti-ransomware and the Bitdefender engines (two major absences), as well as the camera and USB disk guards, the anti-tracking function, and the malicious action feature.
IObit Malware Fighter may not be the most efficient anti-virus and PC protection tool available on the market, but it somehow shines among its many free competitors by offering much more than just a free scan. Even so, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to leave their computer’s protection solely in the hands of this tool.