Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is my go-to tool for malware clean-up. I recommend it as a supplementary scan to your normal antivirus (as a second opinion) and I pay for a premium license to get the real-time protection on my own PC.
I was excited when MBAM 2.0 was announced so I checked out the beta and was disappointed when the new UI made it into the final release. With updates, the program has continued to improve its malware cleanup operation but the user interface remains the same gaudy colors that look like ‘fake av’ malware.
Recently, there was a Reddit thread criticizing the new user interface of MBAM 2.0 where Marcin Kleczynski, CEO of Malwarebytes, spoke up asking for feedback. I gladly provided my recommendations for improving the UI and a few weeks later I was sent images of a proposed face-lift to the user interface.
From my email communications with Marcin, he shares that a new version with the UI changes is planned for December of this year. Version 2.0.3 of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware just landed, so they should now be working on the user interface overhaul.
The draft UI screenshots are below and I also included other screenshots to put the evolution of MBAM in context.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware at version 1.75 shows a simple, even boring UI. I could see wanting to add a splash of more color or wanting to adapt the currently popular flat design but this is straight-forward and trustworthy, exactly what you’re looking for in a tool.
I have heard from some of my IT co-workers and colleagues how they think the new design is cartoony or even panic-inducing that they installed some fake version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. The orange alert status seems to indicate a much greater concern than just the fact that a scan has never ran on the system. “Of course, a scan has never been run, I just installed it!”
You similarly get the orange state when the program is out of date.
Even higher alert than orange, the red alert is heading toward DEFCON 1 just because the database is out of date. It’s even so concerned, it pops up an alert from the system tray to notify you that the database is out of date. The state of the definitions doesn’t really matter with the free Malwarebytes tool since it only scans on demand. The real-time protection is limited to Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium.
Marcin said the pop-up alerts are certainly getting a face-lift, as one of the most criticized features thus far.
Even in a “happy” state, MBAM 2 still shows two red ‘X’ indicators on the Dashboard. One is if you only have the free license (nothing inherently wrong with that) and a second red indicator is that real-time protection is not enabled, which is not available with the free license.
The most common complaint I have heard reiterated about MBAM 2.0 has been how it looks like fake antivirus programs. For comparison, here are three examples of fake av that use the vibrant colors and “cry wolf” about infections or other states that indicate the computer is fully compromised.
MBAM 2.0 draft of new UI
Comparing the current UI to the draft screenshots, I think it is definitely moving in the right direction.
The draft screenshot of Malwarebytes 2 below shows the system in a “happy” state, which has not typically been the problem with Malwarebytes 2. Instead, when the system is unhappy – the definitions or program are out of date or a scan has not been run – is when the new UI is most noticeable and jarring.
- The garish colors are gone, while the colors that are present are nicely faded/muted.
- The buttons at the top have larger text, which helps the contrast of gray on black.
- Flat design should fit well on Windows 8.
- Clean, simple design is trustworthy and shows it knows its place as a utility and can be taken seriously.
- Orange dot with Real-Time Protection not enabled is much better than a red ‘X’.
- There is no indicator near the database version (besides the date itself) that the database may not be current.
- I think ‘Last Scan’ and ‘Next scheduled scan’ should be flipped in order and size in regards to importance. When does the colored dot change to indicate a problem?
- ‘Buy Premium’ and ‘Activate My Premium’ should be below the Real-Time Protection status of ‘Available with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium’ for relevance.
- License ‘Malwarebytes Anti-Malware’ should indicate free, trial, or premium.
- “Your system is fully protected” is not great wording for a system that doesn’t have Malwarebytes’ Real-Time Protection. It should be something that indicates Malwarebytes is up-to-date but doesn’t over-promise. Malwarebytes just being installed on the computer and never running a scan might provide a false sense of security. This goes hand-in-hand with seeing how the UI changes when the software is not “happy”.
A draft screenshot of MBAM in an unhappy state:
From his emails, Malwarebytes CEO Marcin indicates that the new version should land in December but not all of the changes may make it in. The anti-malware scanner should only continue to get better as time goes on and more attention is given to the user interface, a feature I think the company has learned is more important to their customers than they may have originally guessed.