A thin lifeline for XP users: New Malwarebytes suite will support the older OS

The new Anti-Malware Premium suite unites five technologies under a new interface, including a behavior-based detection engine.

As Malwarebytes announces its new Anti-Malware Premium suite Monday morning, it comes with a nice present for Windows XP users: lifetime support.  Perhaps it isn't entirely surprising given that, according to the company, 20 percent of its user base remains on Windows XP. Microsoft is actually extending malware support well beyond the XPocalypse date of April 8th, but knowing other companies have your back is a rare bright spot.

(Not that we're encouraging anyone to stick with Windows XP. Cyber criminals are ready and waiting to pounce on the holdouts. There are some things you can do to protect your XP machine, but most people should upgrade to Windows 7/8, or consider Linux as an alternative safe haven. Microsoft's campaign to move everyone off Windows XP involves increasingly lucrative enticements.)

Regardless of your OS, the new Anti-Malware Premium suite unites five handy Malwarebytes products and offers a new interface for managing them. The heart of the suite is a new malware detection engine that uses behavior to identify suspicious software, rather than signatures that constantly have to be updated. That's where the industry in general is going, because it's better to nip malware in the bud than wait for it to be confirmed and fixed.

Should malware make it onto your system, a new Anti-Rootkit feature can dig deep into your computer to eradicate all traces of the foul creature. Another tool, called Chameleon, can force a system restart and malware scan even if your system's been crippled by an attack. The suite also provides protection against browser-based risks, such as malicious URLs and aggressive adware and toolbars.

The company recommends its Anti-Malware Premium suite as a complement to a full-fledged antivirus suite. The $24.95 annual subscription covers up to three PCs, or Anti-Malware PRO lifetime-license holders may upgrade for free. Even better: The suite is a lightweight 16MB download. Separate from this suite, the company's well-known cleanup tool will remain a free product.

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