Malwarebytes vs Symantec: A Detailed Comparison

In this article we compare Malwarebytes vs Symantec, detailing their functionality, user base, pricing, customer service, real-world efficacy, and their fit within individual versus enterprise usage scenarios.

Table of Contents

What is the Main Difference Between Malwarebytes and Symantec?

The main difference between Malwarebytes and Symantec is that Malwarebytes is primarily famed for its user-friendly individual and small business solutions that focus on aggressive malware prevention and remediation, while Symantec, particularly known for its Norton security products, has a more corporate-leaning vision, offering a broader range of endpoint security solutions designed for larger enterprise environments, often embedding deeper system integration and wider security suite offerings.

What is Malwarebytes and What is Symantec?

Malwarebytes: Malwarebytes began as a company focused on removing malware that other antivirus programs missed. It has grown into a comprehensive anti-malware program which can be used as the primary software for safeguarding your PC and mobile devices from various forms of malware, including viruses, trojans, and ransomware. Malwarebytes is renowned for its simplistic design, ease of use, and aggressive detection tactics which are ideal for personal to small business use.

Symantec: Symantec, now known as NortonLifeLock after the company’s Enterprise division was acquired by Broadcom, is a powerhouse in the cybersecurity industry. It provides an extensive suite of security products predominantly aimed at the enterprise market under the Norton brand name. Symantec’s solutions are comprehensive, offering protection from malware, network threats, and various forms of cyber-attacks, alongside security management and compliance tools suitable for a larger scale, complex business infrastructures.

Key Differences between Malwarebytes and Symantec

  1. Approach to Security: Malwarebytes tends to emphasize straightforward malware protection and removal, whereas Symantec provides a full security suite, including firewall protection, intrusion prevention, and data loss prevention for enterprises.
  2. Target User Base: Malwarebytes caters more to home users and small businesses, focusing on ease of use and affordability, while Symantec is tailored for medium to large businesses, offering scalable solutions to meet corporate security needs.
  3. Pricing Structure: Malwarebytes offers more affordable options for individuals and small businesses, while Symantec’s products come with a higher price tag that reflects their enterprise-grade capabilities.
  4. Feature Set: Symantec’s solutions offer a wider array of features beyond malware protection, such as cloud security and advanced threat protection services, compared to Malwarebytes.
  5. User Interface: Malwarebytes provides a more intuitive interface, which is great for those without technical expertise, unlike Symantec, which offers a more detailed, but complex, interface suitable for IT professionals.

Key Similarities between Malwarebytes and Symantec

  1. Core Function: Both Malwarebytes and Symantec are designed to protect devices and systems from various types of malware.
  2. Real-Time Protection: They offer real-time scanning features to detect and block threats as they happen.
  3. System Updates: Each regularly updates their malware definitions to guard against new and emerging threats.
  4. Compatibility: Both provide solutions that are compatible with multiple operating systems and platforms.
  5. Customer Support: Malwarebytes and Symantec offer support for their products through various channels, including online resources and customer service teams.

Advantages of Malwarebytes Over Symantec

  1. Ease of Use: Malwarebytes stands out for its clean and user-friendly interface, making it easy for non-technical users to manage their cybersecurity needs.
  2. Aggressive Detection and Remediation: Malwarebytes is well-regarded for its strong ability to detect and swiftly remove malware, often catching threats that other programs may overlook.
  3. Lightweight Software: Compared to Symantec, Malwarebytes is generally lighter on system resources, which can be crucial for individual users and small businesses with less powerful hardware.
  4. Cost-Effectiveness: For individuals and small business owners, Malwarebytes offers more budget-friendly pricing plans, providing essential protection at a lower cost.
  5. Flexibility: Malwarebytes caters to the needs of users who require a simple yet effective security solution without the additional complexity or features that they might never use.
  6. Focused Protection: Specializing in malware protection allows Malwarebytes to offer a highly specialized and dedicated tool without the additional overhead of an extensive security suite.

Disadvantages of Malwarebytes Compared to Symantec

  1. Lack of Enterprise Features: For organizations requiring a broader set of security tools, Malwarebytes falls short in providing comprehensive enterprise-level features that Symantec offers.
  2. Limited to Malware Defense: While exceptional at malware prevention, Malwarebytes does not provide extensive network security tools such as firewalls and intrusion prevention systems found in Symantec’s solutions.
  3. Less Suitable for Large Businesses: Malwarebytes may not scale as effectively to the complex needs and infrastructure of larger corporate environments compared to Symantec.
  4. No Data Loss Protection: Unlike Symantec, which offers data loss prevention services, Malwarebytes lacks this feature, which is vital for companies that handle sensitive information.
  5. Basic Interface: While the simplicity of the Malwarebytes interface is appealing to average users, it may not satisfy IT professionals looking for in-depth configuration options.
  6. No Cloud Security: Symantec provides cloud security solutions as part of its enterprise package, an area where Malwarebytes does not compete.

Advantages of Symantec Over Malwarebytes

  1. Corporate-Centric Solutions: Symantec offers a comprehensive set of security solutions tailored to meet the complex needs of medium to large-sized enterprises.
  2. Advanced Feature Integration: With a suite of integrated features like firewall protection and data loss prevention, Symantec presents a more robust security solution for sophisticated environments.
  3. Scalability: Symantec’s products are designed to scale easily, accommodating the growth and evolving security demands of large businesses and organizations.
  4. Security Management Tools: Symantec provides superior instruments for managing security across extensive enterprise networks, including compliance and governance.
  5. Cloud Security Offerings: Symantec extends its protections into the cloud, ensuring that businesses can safeguard their data in a modern computing environment.
  6. Specialized Support for IT Professionals: Given its complexity and vast capabilities, Symantec offers in-depth technical support suited for IT professionals.

Disadvantages of Symantec Compared to Malwarebytes

  1. Higher Cost: Reflecting its enterprise-grade features, Symantec’s solutions often come with a higher price tag, which may not be feasible for smaller businesses or individual users.
  2. System Resource Usage: Symantec’s comprehensive suite of tools can be more demanding on system resources, potentially impacting older or less powerful systems.
  3. Complexity: Symantec’s range of options and settings can be overwhelming for users without a technical background, contrasting with Malwarebytes’ straightforward usability.
  4. Potential Overhead for Small Users: Small businesses or individual users may find that the extensive features offered by Symantec are more than they need, leading to unnecessary expense and system complexity.
  5. Focus on Enterprise: While offering superior protection for corporate environments, Symantec might not be as focused on the needs of smaller-scale users as Malwarebytes is.
  6. Steeper Learning Curve: For those new to cybersecurity, understanding and effectively using Symantec’s suite of tools can require a more significant time investment compared to simpler alternatives like Malwarebytes.

Situations where Malwarebytes Excels over Symantec

  1. Ease of installation and setup: Users looking for a security solution that can be quickly installed and requires minimal configuration will often prefer Malwarebytes. Its straightforward setup process is ideal for novices or those who want to protect their devices with ease.
  2. Removal of deeply embedded malware: In instances where malware has entrenched itself within a system, Malwarebytes’ specialized remediation capabilities are particularly effective at rooting out and disposing of such invasive threats.
  3. Small system footprint: For users with less powerful computers or limited system resources, Malwarebytes is generally a better choice due to its lightweight impact on system performance.
  4. Rapid response to new threats: Malwarebytes is often faster at integrating responses to emerging malware threats into its software, making it a suitable option for users who prioritize immediate protection against the latest risks.
  5. Affordable for personal use: Individuals or small businesses on a tight budget may find Malwarebytes’ cost structure more appealing due to its more affordable plans compared to those offered by Symantec.
  6. Direct and simple user interface: Users who prefer a security tool with a less complicated interface will find Malwarebytes to be more accessible and easier to navigate than Symantec’s offerings.

Situations where Symantec Outshines Malwarebytes

  1. Extensive enterprise environments: Companies operating on a larger scale with complex security needs will find Symantec’s breadth of features better suited to their rigorous demands.
  2. Comprehensive security suite requirements: Organizations looking for an all-encompassing, integrated suite of security tools, including advanced threat protection and data loss prevention, will benefit from Symantec’s extensive solutions.
  3. Integrated firewall protection: For businesses that require a robust firewall as part of their cyber defense strategy, Symantec’s integrated firewall solutions offer superior protection when compared with the more limited options available from Malwarebytes.
  4. Data protection and privacy compliance: Entities that handle sensitive data and need to comply with strict data protection regulations will find Symantec’s compliance tools and services critical for maintaining privacy standards.
  5. Scalability for growing businesses: As businesses expand, the need for a security solution that can grow with them becomes paramount. Symantec’s products are designed to scale effectively, making it a better choice for evolving companies.
  6. Cloud infrastructure security: With more businesses moving to cloud-based solutions, Symantec’s cloud security offerings provide the necessary protection to ensure safe cloud operations, an area where Malwarebytes does not have a strong presence.

Comparing Features: Malwarebytes and Symantec

  1. User Interface: Malwarebytes offers an intuitive and straightforward user interface, well-suited for those without IT expertise; Symantec’s interface is more detailed, catering to technical users who require in-depth configuration options.
  2. Pricing Model: Malwarebytes has a more accessible price point for personal and small business users, while Symantec’s pricing reflects its enterprise-grade feature set and is generally higher.
  3. System Impact: Malwarebytes is designed to have a minimal impact on system resources, beneficial for users with less capable hardware. In contrast, Symantec’s comprehensive features can demand more from a system.
  4. Protection Scope: While Malwarebytes excels in malware detection and removal, Symantec offers a larger scope of protection, including network security and advanced threat prevention capabilities.
  5. Enterprise Readiness: Symantec is built for corporate environments, with features that address complex network infrastructures and compliance requirements; Malwarebytes is more focused on individual and small business security.
  6. Cloud Protection: Symantec has invested in cloud security to protect modern computing environments, while Malwarebytes maintains its focus on endpoint malware detection and does not specialize in cloud security solutions.

Exploring Customer Service and Support

Malwarebytes and Symantec both recognize the importance of effective customer support in maintaining their users’ cybersecurity defenses.

Support Channels and Accessibility

Malwarebytes, acclaimed for its user-friendly approach, extends its straightforward design philosophy to its customer support system. Users can get help through a variety of channels, including email, live chat, and telephone, with a focus on providing clear, concise assistance. This accessibility is especially beneficial for individual users and small business owners who might not have dedicated IT support. The customer service team at Malwarebytes is known for being responsive and helpful, promoting a positive experience for those requiring assistance.

On the other hand, Symantec offers a multi-tiered support system to deal with the more complex issues that can arise in enterprise environments. With a premium on technical support, Symantec’s system ensures that IT professionals can get the specialised assistance they might need. The level of support provided is tiered, with options ranging from basic assistance to dedicated representatives for high-level enterprise account holders, which ensures that customers receive the right level of support for their particular setup.

Response Time and Quality of Assistance

When it comes to response times, both Malwarebytes and Symantec strive to offer timely support. However, due to the nature of their respective user bases, Malwarebytes tends to have faster response times for individual users. This suits their market fine, as quick turnaround can be critical for personal users or small businesses experiencing cybersecurity threats. Online resources are also extensive, offering users a chance to self-serve, which can be faster than traditional support channels.

Symantec’s support framework is designed to handle more complex and potentially critical business inquiries, which may require longer, more involved support sessions. The company also hosts a comprehensive knowledge base and community forums for customers to seek and share information. In addition, enterprise clients have access to specialized support that is mindful of their broader and more intensive cybersecurity frameworks. The dedication to quality support manifests in detailed troubleshooting and ongoing dialogue, as client issues may be intricate and tied to their essential business operations.

Evaluating Efficacy in Real-World Application

Recognizing how malware defense tools operate in actual usage scenarios is critical in assessing the value they offer to users.

Success Rate in Threat Mitigation

Malwarebytes boasts a strong reputation for its aggressive detection and swift removal of threats. Its success stems from its focus on dealing with a wide range of malware types and its continuous updates that aim to keep up with the latest threats. User anecdotes often highlight cases where Malwarebytes successfully identified and neutralized malware that slipped past their primary security measures. This potency in real-world applications is a solid testament to the software’s effectiveness for personal and smaller-scale deployments.

Symantec’s corporate customers place great trust in their systems to not only mitigate threats but to anticipate them and prevent breaches before they happen. Their tools include behavior-based analytics and machine learning, which are geared to tackle complex security incidents in larger enterprise environments. Real-world application success stories often involve preventing data breaches and swift navigation of security compliance challenges, underscoring the stability and depth of Symantec’s security solutions for larger businesses.

User Experience and Performance Impact

A significant component of real-world application is the software’s effect on device performance. Malwarebytes receives accolades for its lightweight nature, designed to offer security without burdening the computer’s resources. For individual users and small businesses, who may not have the latest hardware, this low impact is essential. It allows them to maintain protection without sacrificing usability and performance of their devices.

Symantec’s solutions, while robust, are often criticized when they create noticeable lags on less capable systems. However, in large-scale enterprise settings where powerful computing resources are the standard, this trade-off is manageable, if not unnoticed. The comprehensive security layers provided by Symantec can impact system performance, but for their target demographic, the superior protection against sophisticated cyber threats is worth the resource investment. The company’s focus on efficiency aims to minimize the performance impact while maintaining a high level of security.


What are the primary aims of Malwarebytes and Symantec?

Malwarebytes aims to provide user-friendly and aggressive malware remediation for individuals and small businesses, whereas Symantec, with its Norton products, targets larger corporate environments with an extensive range of endpoint security solutions.

Who is the ideal user for Malwarebytes?

The ideal user for Malwarebytes is someone who needs straightforward, effective protection against malware for personal use or small business environments, valuing ease of use and affordability.

How does Symantec’s enterprise focus benefit larger organizations?

Symantec benefits larger organizations by offering scalable, integrated security solutions, including firewall protection, data loss prevention, and advanced threat protection.

Can Symantec’s security products affect system performance?

Yes, Symantec’s robust suite of tools can demand significant system resources, potentially impacting performance on older or less powerful systems, though this is less noticeable in enterprise environments with more advanced hardware.

Does Malwarebytes provide protection for mobile devices as well?

Yes, Malwarebytes provides comprehensive anti-malware software solutions not just for PCs but also for mobile devices, safeguarding against viruses, trojans, and ransomware.

Is the customer service quality different between Malwarebytes and Symantec?

Malwarebytes tends to offer quicker response times suitable for individual users, while Symantec provides multi-tiered, specialized support designed for complex enterprise issues.

How do the pricing structures of Malwarebytes and Symantec compare?

Malwarebytes offers more affordable pricing plans for individuals and small businesses, while Symantec’s pricing reflects its enterprise-grade capabilities.

Which company offers better tools for managing security in enterprise networks?

Symantec provides superior tools for managing security across extensive enterprise networks, thanks to its integrated features and scalability that cater to the needs of large organizations.

What kind of businesses might find Symantec’s features unnecessary?

Small businesses or individual users might find Symantec’s extensive features beyond their requirements, leading to unnecessary complexity and expense.

Are Malwarebytes’ simplified interface and features adequate for IT professionals?

While Malwarebytes’ simplicity is appealing to average users, IT professionals might prefer a more detailed configuration and feature set for in-depth cybersecurity management.

Does Symantec’s support extend to cloud security?

Yes, Symantec extends its security solutions into the cloud, aligning with modern computing environments and the need for cloud data protection.

Malwarebytes vs Symantec Summary

Malwarebytes and Symantec cater to different user bases, each providing cybersecurity solutions that protect against malware and other threats. Malwarebytes is popular among individual users and small businesses for its simplicity, affordability, and aggressive malware detection. Symantec, on the other hand, offers a full-fledged security suite suitable for medium to large-sized enterprises, with advanced features that ensure thorough protection in a corporate environment. The choice between the two comes down to the scale of the user’s needs and the complexity they are prepared to manage. Malwarebytes is often preferred for its ease of use and cost-effectiveness, while Symantec is the go-to for its expansive feature set and enterprise-grade security management tools.

FeatureMalwarebytesSymantec (NortonLifeLock)
Approach to SecurityAggressive malware protection and removalFull security suite including firewall, intrusion prevention, and data loss prevention
Target User BaseHome users and small businessesMedium to large businesses
Pricing StructureAffordable options for individuals and small businessesHigher price tag reflecting enterprise-grade capabilities
Feature SetSpecializes in aggressive malware detection and ease of useComprehensive solutions including advanced threat protection and cloud security services
User InterfaceIntuitive and simple, friendly for non-technical usersDetailed and complex, suited for IT professionals
Ease of UseClean, user-friendly interfaceRequires more technical knowledge to navigate
Detection and RemediationHighly effective at swiftly removing malwareExtensive, providing proactive and preventive measures
System Resource UsageGenerally lighter on system resourcesCan be demanding on system resources
ScalabilityBetter suited for individual and small business needsDesigned to scale for larger organizations
Data Loss ProtectionLacks this featureOffers services catering to data protection
Cloud SecurityDoes not compete in cloud securityOffers cloud security solutions
SupportResponsive and accessible customer serviceMulti-tiered technical support suited for businesses
Real-World EfficacyKnown for success in threat mitigationPraised for preventing breaches and compliance management
Performance ImpactLow impact on device performanceHigher impact but often manageable in enterprise settings
Malwarebytes vs Symantec Summary

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