IObit Malware Fighter Review
IObit Malware Fighter is a free antivirus solution and that's about it for the positives. It offers poor protection, isn't very user-friendly and upgrading to the paid plan is just a plain bad idea. Read our full IObit review for the details.
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IObit Malware Fighter 6 is a free antivirus that provides minimal protection and, as it stands, will never be part of our best antivirus software. We have issues with the software and the company. If you’re looking for a free antivirus, read our best free antivirus software guide.
In this IObit Malware Fighter review, we’ll talk about our experience after taking the program for a test run in the real world, using hands-on tests and lab results to gauge its performance. We’ll look at the pricing, features, user-friendliness, support and protection before rendering our verdict.
At first glance, it appears to be a good antivirus, but the deeper we dug the more problems we uncovered. If you’re willing to put up with little to no support and bare-minimum protection, at least it won’t cost you anything.
- Windows support
- macOS support
- Android support
- Free plan
- Online protection
- Download protection
- DNS protection
- Malware protection
- Anti-phishing protection
- No ransomware protection
- No cloud protection
- No parental controls
- No VPN
- No password manager
- No file shredder
- Telephone support only for diagnosis
- No automatic scan
- IObit Malware Fighter
- Visit IObit Malware Fighter 6IObit Malware Fighter 6 Review
IObit Malware Fighter offers basic antivirus protection, manual scans and online protection. Quick scans and full system scans have to be started manually, while custom scans and automatic scan scheduling require an upgrade to the paid version.
The website claims it has ransomware protection but requires an upgrade to the paid version to access it. It also claims to offer phishing protection, which it calls “network guard.” Once again, these features are advertised, but not clearly shown to only be available in the paid version.
It scans for threats when running unknown files and includes protection against malware at start-up. It also offers protection from malware running in system memory. While memory protection is good, it will slow down your system.
The browser protection is the most complete feature. It has download protection and adware protection to keep those annoying ads from popping up on your screen. It also includes protection from malicious plugins and toolbars.
The DNS feature allows you to specify which DNS to use. It defaults to your current system settings or you can choose from a list of options, including Google and others. Read our what is DNS guide if that was gibberish to you.
Half the features on the “security guard” screen require an upgrade to the paid version to use them and the items on the “action center” screen require an additional download to install the feature and use it. Yet another bait-and-switch.
Iobit Malware Fighter 6 Free Features Overview
|IObit Malware Fighter PRO|
1-year plan $ 1.66 / month
$19.95 billed every year
3-year plan $ 0.83 / month
$29.99 billed every 3 years
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IObit Malware Fighter is cheap and it shows. The free version provides just enough protection to qualify as an antivirus. Most of the features required us to upgrade to the paid version.
The paid version is available for one or three PCs. It includes everything in the free version, plus the features the free version kept urging us to upgrade in order to use.
IObit Malware Fighter has a dual-engine for protecting against malware. The free version only uses its own engine, but the paid version adds a Bitdefender scanning technology, which is a good thing, as you can see in our Bitdefender Antivirus review.
Free software doesn’t have to be bad, but, in this case, the paid version is worth paying for. The free version doesn’t have enough functionality to waste time on.
The paid version of IObit Malware Fighter is cheaper than anything else in our antivirus software reviews and delivers the same type of protection you’ll get with Norton Security (read our Norton Security review).
IObit Malware Fighter 6 is a lightweight antivirus at just 47.9MB. The download and installation is quick and simple. Once it was installed, we had to manually run a quick scan because it requires an upgrade to the paid version to run scans automatically.
The scan settings are simple. There’s a menu on the left side of a pop-up screen. The right side displays checkboxes associated with each menu item. It’s self-explanatory and straightforward.
The interface during the scan is simple and clean, providing easy-to-read labels under each icon as it progresses. There are “pause” and “stop” buttons at the bottom of the interface if you need to stop it. Everything looks good until the scan finishes.
At that point, we were presented with one line telling us no threats were found, a second line indicating the health of our system on a color-coded bar and a screen full of icons and links extolling the benefits of upgrading to the paid version. We understand needing to make money, but that’s over the top.
In addition, it constantly tries to change your defaults. It tried to change our default search engine and homepage to Bing. We were given the option to accept the recommendation or not, which we refused, but it did anyway. We were forced to manually reset our search engine and homepage. There are a lot of names for that behavior, but user-friendly isn’t one of them.
The free version is so limited in its functionality there wasn’t much for us to survey or experiment with. Based on what we saw, we can’t give it more than half for user-friendliness.
We normally have a lot to report on regarding the protection offered by antivirus software, but IObit Malware Fighter is different. We trust AV-Test, AV-Comparatives and MRG Effitas to do effective antivirus testing, but none of them recorded test results for IObit Malware Fighter. We checked lesser-known labs, such as Virus Bulletin, with the same results.
We decided to do our own testing using EICAR test viruses. They’re mock viruses the industry uses to test antivirus software without exposing PCs to any real harm. We tested IObit Malware Fighter by downloading those mock viruses in different configurations and the results were mixed, to say the least.
It didn’t detect manual downloads or drive-by downloads of infected files. A drive-by download is the unintentional download of a virus or malware when you visit an infected or malicious website.
It detected and blocked a potentially unwanted application, but ignored a phishing page in spite of claiming it protects against phishing. Cloud protection isn’t enabled, either.
The most troubling results were when we downloaded compressed files that were infected. It didn’t detect five of the 11 attempts, blocked two of them and detected the last four but explicitly said they were safe to use. It doesn’t make sense.
Apparently, IObit Malware Fighter only partially added EICAR virus definitions to its list. Those results, combined with the lack of third-party testing, don’t inspire trust and lead us to give this antivirus the worst score we’ve ever given in this area.
The company website offers support that turns out to be nothing of the kind. There are a total of 16 frequently asked questions for Malware Fighter and most of them are sales pitches or renewal information. Only three concern the software itself and all of them deal with false positives.
There’s a forum on IObit’s website, but the contents aren’t encouraging. One user posted a complaint that notepad.exe was flagged as a threat. There were over 3000 posts on the topic of false positives and most of the responses from the support team consisted of requests for the users to fill out a false positive report. That’s more like beta-testing than support.
There’s an option on the website for online help, but one of the required drop-down menus refuses to offer options for you to select. An unusable help screen isn’t help at all. It’s just frustrating.
The “telephone support” is limited to helping you run a diagnosis of your system, which, unsurprisingly, always says you need to download and install IObit Malware Fighter. Paid service is available, but we didn’t trust the company enough to try it.
IObit Malware Fighter 6 is a poor product. The paid version is undoubtedly better than the free one, but the lack of support didn’t give us reason to trust it. In addition, the lack of lab testing and the contradictory results of our testing convinced us this antivirus isn’t ready for prime time.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can take a chance on installing the paid version, but we don’t recommend it. Instead, you’ll find better antivirus products that dependable and secure by reading our antivirus articles.
What do you think about IObit Malware Fighter 6? Did we get it right? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.