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Most anti-virus applications have one major flaw — zero-day exploits. Since your anti-virus guard can’t protect your PC from something that isn’t in its threat signature database, you are tough-out-of-luck if you come across an unknown form of malware. Malwarebytes’ solution to zero-day exploits lie in the form of Anti-Exploit, where you are protected from exploitative attacks via four different layers of protection. In addition to the browser-based protection provided by the free version, Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Premium extends support to PDF readers, office applications, media players, and any other program of your choosing.

How It Works

Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Premium uses proprietary technology that actively shields vulnerable applications from various malicious attacks — Web browsers, Microsoft Office applications, PDF readers, and media players. When configured to protect an application, Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Premium uses a process known as “DLL Injection” to monitor all input/output activity to and from the application, where it then prevents malicious code from bypassing operating system security features and exploiting source-code. Unlike anti-virus applications, Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Premium doesn’t rely on malware signatures, heuristics, or constant updates to protect your PC. Further, it weighs in at about three megabytes and has no impact on system resources at all while running in the background.

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User Interface

Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Premium features a simple, yet intuitive user interface that separates all features into five separate tabs — General, Shields, Logs, Exclusions, and Settings. The General tab displays the status of the application and lets you either enable or disable protection at any time. On the other hand, the Shield tab gives you access to all shields actively protecting the various applications on your PC. On the Logs tab, you can find a record of exploits caught by the application, while the Exclusions tab features any exclusions made to certain exploits caught in the past. Finally, the Settings tab gives you access to the various configuration options that you can use the modify the behavior of the application.

Shielding Applications

By default, Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Premium automatically shields all Web browsers, media players, PDF readers, and popular office applications — Microsoft Office, LibreOffice, etc. Since the anti-exploit utility constantly runs in the background, shielded applications doesn’t require any form of add-ons or extensions to stay protected. Through the Shields tab, you can actively choose to deactivate applications that you don’t want protected. In addition to the application profiles built into the utility, you can add any other application that you want shielded — shielding an application is as simple as adding its main executable file.

Modifying Profiles

Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Premium also gives you the option to modify the various protection layers present in each application profile by default. Through the Settings tab, you can gain access to all available layers — application hardening, OS bypass protection, advanced memory protection, and application behavior protection — where you can modify available security features for each profile — Browsers, Chrome Browsers, PDF Readers, MS Office, Media Players, and Other. For example, you can choose to add DEP Enforcement — an important Window-based security feature that ensures applications don’t use system memory to run malicious code — only to Web browsers, but not for PDF readers. Unless you are an advanced user, it’s best to leave things unchanged.

Detecting Threats

The anti-exploitative utility notifies you of instances where it detects exploitative attacks via system tray notifications. You can check the Logs tab to find detailed descriptions of affected applications, and the location of the file that initiated the attack. If you, however, trust the application, you can choose to create future exemptions by excluding it from the logs, where you can then review excluded items via the Exclude tab and choose to remove items added in error in the first place. In cases where are repeatedly flagged with false positives, you can download an additional utility by Malwarebytes called the Exploit Tester that you can use to test the protective capabilities of the application.

Should I Buy It?

Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Premium’s advanced exploitation detection capabilities make it one of the best security solutions available. The ability to detect almost any kind of threat — advanced memory protection, system security breaches, application code-based attacks — make it extremely effective, especially when used in conjunction with anti-virus scanners such as Malwarebytes’ own Anti-Malware. Combined with extend protection to almost any application, Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit Premium provides that much needed layer of additional security and incredible value for money.