Beware: IObit Malware Fighter


We let you know about the good software here at DCT, but we also warn about the not so good.

The prolific software company IObit has recently released an anti-malware freeware called ‘IObit Malware Fighter 2’ which, it claims, includes real time protection. Free tools of this type which also include real time protection are a rarity so I suspect it may attract a good deal of interest, especially among more security conscious users. However, this is one I recommend staying well away from.

For those who may be unaware; IObit is the Chinese software company accused of stealing intellectual property from Malwarebytes some time back. To the best of my knowledge, that serious ethical infraction has never been refuted or disproved. Following that revelation I decided to no longer support or recommend IObit products, and never have since. I must admit, at times I have been tempted to lift that self-imposed ban, mostly due to the popularity of IObit’s products among its users, especially Advanced System Care. Now, with the release of Malware Fighter, I believe my stance has been vindicated. Why? Because IObit Malware Fighter wants to change the default home page and search engine, and comes bundled with a variety of PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs). In a program described as being ‘anti-mlaware’, this type of behavior must surely be the epitome of antithesis. Or hypocrisy perhaps.

iobit malware fighter install

Note the absence of clear opt-in or opt-out options. The buttons at the bottom of the window appear to only allow either to proceed with installation, including bundling and all, or “Decline” and cancel installation altogether. How many less attentive or less savvy users might just go ahead and click the “Accept and Install” button? My guess would be plenty. IObit signaled its unethical tendencies early on in the piece and all I can say is… a leopard seldom changes its spots.

As one would expect, CNET download.com proudly hosts this download, complete with a glowing editorial review.  Surprisingly, MajorGeeks also hosts the download. Even more surprisingly, or disturbingly, IObit Malware Fighter has recently been featured in the ‘Hot Finds’ section of the TechSuppotAlert site… so much for TechSupportAlert’s freeware expertise and regard for user safety.


 

About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

18 Comments

  1. Even if we don’t take into account the installation of crapware, the Malware Fighter is still a horrendously bad anti-malware application, as evident by this PCMag review – http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2419549,00.asp

    Bottom line: “There’s absolutely no reason to buy or even try IObit Malware Fighter 2. It doesn’t function as an antivirus and doesn’t effectively fight malware. In testing, it reported seven thoroughly infested systems as perfectly clean. Avoid it.”

    • Thanks for your input here Ivan. One doesn’t really need to test this software’s malware fighting abilities to know that it is not to be trusted, IObit’s past history and unethical practices should be red flag enough. Hence my recommendation… “this is one I recommend staying well away from“.

      Cheers… Jim

    • Personally, I am not a fan of IOBit by any stretch of the imagination. Since the fiasco where they stole the work of MalwareBytes, a company we respect and recommend here at DCT, I’ve stayed as far away as possible from their products.

      • But Dave,didn’t I just read an article here where MBAM isn’t held in the high regard it once was due to omission of PUPs from it’s database? Further,I think it’s most unfortunate that many people will never try some of the very capable freeware offered by IObit due to the fact that the blackeye they got from the MBAM fiasco simply won’t be let go to date on nearly every tech blog I read.That horse left the gate,what,three years ago? Maybe I’m wrong,and I’m certainly not condoning theft of intellectual property,but I’ve used IObit software for nearly ten years,and it’s some of the best I’ve seen in respect to select programs.
        Now in respect to the bundling thing,come on,everybody is pulling that crap nowaday.I think the Decline option is clearer to the decision making process than the old check box.but hey,that’s just me.

        • Chuck, Malwarebytes is indeed a universally respected company, including by us here at DCT. Malwarebytes has a proven track record for a high standard of ethics and producing quality software. Okay, so they recently had a blip, and we quickly took them to task over it. I hasten to add that, after a slew of similar complaints published on similar tech blogs, Malwarebytes very quickly reversed its decision.

          I’m glad you enjoy IObit’s software, you are certainly not alone in that regard. And that’s what it’s all about after all, freedom of opinion and choice.

          Cheers… Jim

        • yes, and we now know how iobit gets all that nice software. apparently they spend as much time stealng intellectual property and reverse engineer it as they do developing it. i do recall that the investigation by malwarebytes indicated that iobit did steal from 3 other security companies as well (though, they were not named. malwarebytes stated they contacted those companies, who did not make this public).

          so are you comfortable about a company reverse engineering another companies software and putting it out of business (its cheaper to steal than develop)?

          do you run a business that may develop software? and if you did, would you on your business computer run a cloud based iobit malware fighter that scans your system and sends the info back to iobit?

  2. Not keen on them either. Their “Smart” de-frag proggy trashed the file system on one of my external drives when I tried it. Luckily, I have numerous back-ups and certainly didn’t try it on my main “C” drive, after that!.

  3. I think that to condemn a programme on the basis that it tries to get you to install (harmless) additional items is rather like saying “I don’t want software to be free”. How else are free software providers going to make a profit? I installed this and clicked decline at that point and the installation continued without the options. I have used malwarebytes in the past to scan for specific problems but it always annoyed me that I should have to pay if I want to get real time protection. As for their ethics in respect of other companies then that is something for the other companies to worry about. Maybe if those other companies worked on ways to monetize their products without charging private computer users then maybe the market opportunity for iobit would not have existed in the process. It has long been my view that all home use software should be free and that companies should focus on profiting only from commercially used software. Years ago they had the argument about distribution, packaging and so on but now it costs a company next to nothing to provide free non commercial use software. I would apply this across the board even to operating systems and suites like Microsoft office.

    Now whether software is actually effective or not is fair enough to comment on, and advice about how to get products without downloading the crapware is really helpful to novice users but I think it is quite wrong to condemn a product on the grounds that they may have ripped off the code from somewhere.

    • I think that to condemn a programme on the basis that it tries to get you to install (harmless) additional items is rather like saying “I don’t want software to be free”

      What is your basis for saying the additional items are harmless? I can assure you that some of the PUPs associated with this installation, Spigot and vgrabber for example, are anything but “harmless”. And, we have said over and over that we see nothing wrong with freeware developers monetizing their efforts providing it is done in a perfectly open and transparent manner… part of which means providing obvious opt-out, or preferably opt-in options. Neither of which are included when installing this software.

      I think it is quite wrong to condemn a product on the grounds that they may have ripped off the code from somewhere

      There is no “may have” or “somewhere” about it, the code was ripped off and it was definitely from Malwarebytes.

      And, besides all that, this is just plain bad software.

      This is one where we will have to agree to disagree. By all means go right ahead and install the software, as is your democratic right. Me, I’ll leave it well alone thanks… and there are some who just might agree with that stance:
      http://thundercloud.net/infoave/new/iobit-malware-fighter-an-anti-malware-program-that-attempts-to-install-malware/
      http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2419549,00.asp

  4. Hi Jim,
    I am not a technician but an entusiastic user of PCs. I should admit that ASC from Iobit is the one that gave me the least headaches (at least virtually) when it comes to cleaning and optimizing my machine. That was not the case with CCleaner that is highly regarded within the community and also the jv16 Power tools that I also tried. Both created more problems than resolved.
    As a “normal” user (like many others) I expect an efficient (kind of) one button brainless optimizing software. From what I read on iobit and intellectual infringements I would be more than happy to switich to another software. Any recommendations?

  5. Thanks for your warning about IObit Malware Fighter 2 as I have been using it & was oblivious it was Chinese I thought it was American oops!
    Anyway I uninstalled it & put on Malware Bytes freeware, ran a scan & it found 117 malicious malware!
    iobit was telling me everything was clear!
    So for people like me you are a God send!
    Please keep us informed & keep up the good work!
    Thanks!
    Dave.

  6. Glad I read your news letter.I had just updated to IObit Malware ver2.1 and am now going to un-install it.I have been using it for quite some time but after reading your article I am not happy to learn how they stole from another company.I have a strong dis-like for theives . I use the real Malwarebytes so I wont be losing sleep over my decision.I have a good anti virus program and use SUPERAntispyware so I guess I didnt need IObit any way.Thanks for the heads up! Keep up the good work! I respect your opinions and heed your advice all the time.

  7. It is not only shameful, but pathetically desperate for a software company to insidiously inject so much crapware onto the computer of innocent, unsuspecting users, and without so much as a opt-out anywhere in the installation process. This kind of practice is what literally ruins the computing experience for so many users. It is a curse to computer users and an insult to the computing public.

    Based on this single incident alone, no piece of IObit software will ever be voluntarily placed on PC of mine, or any of the many computers I maintain.

  8. This message is to commend the creators of Toolwiz Care, currently one of the most sophisticated malware on the market. I started using this freeware-malware in Spring 2012, and since then had several irreparable crashes of Norton Internet Security, though at the time I failed to identify the cause. In early spring 2013 I banned all my system utilities programs fro accessing the internet, and then major mayhem started. An unidentified “Startup Defender” program began sprouting every time I launched system utilities programs, asking to allow or ban Norton antivirus definitions launch at startup. It all resulted in Norton Internet Security antivirus protection crash. I had to reinstall this wonderful NIS once again. I noticed that “Startup defender” did not pop up when I did not carry out any optimisations after starting the computer.

    A guy at the Norton forum complained about the same issue back in 2012, though the advisor obviously failed to help him. The guy posted a srceenshot of software installed on his computer, and –bingo- the list included the Toolwiz Care! Go to https://community.norton.com/t5/Norton-Internet-Security-Norton/quot-hidden-program-quot-Startup-Defender-don-t-appear-in-the/td-p/681037 for details and screenshot of “Startup defender”.
    I uninstalled Toolwiz Care back in July and haven’t had a single “Startup defender” pop-up.
    Toolwiz Care seems to be officially certified by Microsoft. I have been using the follwing malware scanners besides NIS – Eset, Agnitum, Panda, ZoneAlarm(in 2012), AVG(in 2012), Avast(in 2012), Emsisoft, Malwarebytes Professional(with real-time protection), Bit Defender, Spybot, all to no use.
    It all points to the fact that The Red China is involved in univesal spying and subversion. You should stay shy of their products.

    • Hi John – “Startup Defender” is clearly enumerated in ToolWiz Care’s main interface. It has it’s own separate icon, name, plus on and off switch.

      Cheers… Jim

  9. Quite right Jim,
    Any so called solution that twists your arm in the hope that you will merrily click ‘accept’ ad infinitum, is suspicious in my book and should be avoided.
    There are so many today and it seems that every one and his dog is jumping on the bandwagon.
    Marc