TechSpot: Interview with Malwarebytes' founder, Marcin Kleczynski

Malwarebytes started its life as a company in 2004 as a one-man operation, but it wasn’t until four years later that its star product was released, simply called 'Anti-Malware'. Since then the company has rapidly grown to establish itself as a serious player in the computer security industry.

Based on a successful freemium model where users can clean already infected machines for free or get real-time protection to avoid future infections for a one-time fee, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware already counts hundreds of millions of downloads and over five billion infections cleaned.

We recently had the chance to chat with founder and CEO Marcin Kleczynski about the company’s early days, the evolution of malware, his views on the industry, and more.

Malwarebytes was a bootstrapped company and that usually makes for a unique story on how you got started. Tell us a bit about your background, what motivated you and how you went on creating the company.

Marcin: It’s actually a very interesting story. I was working at a computer repair shop in Chicago as a technician during my last year in high school. It was me and the owner of the store. Every time a computer came in we would basically reformat it, regardless if it had a minor infection. Rootkits were still new, Ad-Aware was still the popular software and threats were just starting to evolve. But I never quite understood why we would never try to attack the problem using tools that existed until I got infected at home. When that happened I tried McAfee, I tried Symantec, I tried a lot of stuff and nothing would remove the piece of malware.

Read: Interview with Malwarebytes' founder, Marcin Kleczynski
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I work with virus removal every single day, and I try to shy my customers away from "for pay" products. I see them as unneccesarily profiting from the problem. I almost always scan with Malwarebytes and then leave them with MS Security. But first I do system restore from outside of Windows to undo as much of the issue first thing. Then TDSSkiller and a variety of others. I'll be glad when these problems for the average consumer will be largely over with the tablets etc. Although guys like Notch will always want it to be another way, I just want the virus issue to be a non issue for the masses.

And if I REALLY get into trouble I ping the WarWagon...

jimmyfal said,
I work with virus removal every single day, and I try to shy my customers away from "for pay" products. I see them as unneccesarily profiting from the problem. I almost always scan with Malwarebytes and then leave them with MS Security. But first I do system restore from outside of Windows to undo as much of the issue first thing. Then TDSSkiller and a variety of others. I'll be glad when these problems for the average consumer will be largely over with the tablets etc. Although guys like Notch will always want it to be another way, I just want the virus issue to be a non issue for the masses.

And if I REALLY get into trouble I ping the WarWagon...


I do the same for my customers.

Malwarebytes is great for removal but it's protection module is a real problem, the fatal flaw is that if you install Malwarebytes to protect someone who is a "computer dummy" from Malware, they are not going to click the update prompts when there is a new version no matter how many times you tell them to. You can't rely on user intervention for security. The result is that the program is stuck on an old version and doesn't update, and Malware gets through. They really need to fix this to have a proper auto update mechanism (as the default option) like Chrome and now like Firefox.

Simon- said,
Malwarebytes is great for removal but it's protection module is a real problem, the fatal flaw is that if you install Malwarebytes to protect someone who is a "computer dummy" from Malware, they are not going to click the update prompts when there is a new version no matter how many times you tell them to. You can't rely on user intervention for security. The result is that the program is stuck on an old version and doesn't update, and Malware gets through. They really need to fix this to have a proper auto update mechanism (as the default option) like Chrome and now like Firefox.

I'm 99% sure that just because they don't update the actual software doesn't mean that the definitions will stop updating.