The free version of IObit Malware Fighter checks your system’s critical areas and looks for malicious Registry entries, processes, and files that may be hiding on your PC. It allows you to choose among three scan types and comes with a browser protection kit to detect possible phishing attacks and malware hidden in the files we download from the Web and a Security Guard section with tools to protect your network, files, startup, and other processes.
IObit Malware Fighter Free is a constant reminder of what you’re missing for not purchasing the activation key for the full edition. In exchange for a minimum amount of free anti-malware features, you are constantly reminded of all the functions that are only available in the Pro version. Among them are the Anti-ransomware Engine and the Bitdefender Engine, certainly the two most tempting features. Camera Guard, USB Disk Guard, Malicious Action, and the automatic updates complete the Pro package.
You’re left with three types of scans, Browser Protect, and some of the functions of the Security Guard section. The app launches a Smart Scan of your PC by default, defined as a quick scan of just the critical sections of your system, which includes a thorough search of all malicious files, processes, and Registry entries. I wouldn’t say it was quick, even though IObit says that its speed is now 130% faster – it took it nearly 26 minutes to go through my laptop’s tiny hard disk, and that was after a full reset of the operating system that left my computer with barely five or six apps installed. Of course, the verdict was excellent – my laptop’s hard drive was clean as a whistle, and that was enough to make me think twice about trying the Full Scan, which goes through “all hard disks on your computer”. The third option, Custom Scan, lets you select the areas to examine at your own risk.
Browser Protect aims at protecting you from malicious sites and, worst of all, infectious downloads. Though some sites report simultaneous and contradicting messages stating that a threat was found and that the download is, at the same time, safe to use, none of the downloads I tried triggered that confusing situation. No false positives were detected, either, which makes me think that the app’s anti-phishing engine is not as bad as others say.
Though a small amount of protection is always better than no protection at all, IObit Malware Fighter is not the type of free anti-virus tool in whose hands I would put all of my PC’s security. With debatable anti-phishing and malware blocking capabilities and the clear role of showcasing the benefits of upgrading to Pro, it hasn’t gone through any of the test reports issued by the major anti-virus independent testing labs to which all the most prestigious companies like sending their products for testing. Being a free tool, I don’t see any harm in giving it a try, but there are other costless anti-virus tools available out there with better scores in terms of efficiency.
- Selectable scan processes
- Automatic clean-up options
- Anti-phishing engine
- Checks downloaded files
- Basic anti-malware functionality
- Slow scan
- No reports from independent labs