Malwarebytes acquires anti-adware startup with 200 million downloads to further campaign against potentially unwanted programs (PUPs)  

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. – October 19, 2016 – Malwarebytes™, the leading advanced malware prevention and remediation solution, today announced the acquisition of AdwCleaner, one of the world’s most frequently downloaded tools for removing potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), adware, toolbars and other unwanted software.

Consumers and businesses download AdwCleaner more than 200,000 times per day, making it one of the most downloaded products on many sites. Installed around 200 million times, AdwCleaner has proven effective against bloatware, questionable software and specific types of malware.
The AdwCleaner story mirrors that of Malwarebytes in many ways. Founded in 2011 by three 17 year-old French students, AdwCleaner quickly grew in popularity over the years. Jérôme Boursier and Corentin Chepeau, two of the founders who have been continued their involvement while attending university in France, released the sixth major version in 2016. Ever since, the two developers have helped it grow quickly across the world. Both Boursier and Chepeau will now join Malwarebytes in engineering and research roles.

Malwarebytes was formed on the principal that people and businesses deserve a malware-free existence. Eliminating potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) is an advancement of that dedication and the acquisition reinforces the company’s commitment to rid Internet users of this growing problem.

“While dangerous malware is still on the rise, there is a growing trend for programs that operate in a legally grey area to achieve questionable ends,” said Marcin Kleczynski, CEO, Malwarebytes. “We have seen some PUPs that are blatantly illegal; most are simply unethical and abusing privilege, which is why we are taking such an overt stance against them.  The acquisition will help further this cause. Many PUPs present a security risk that is growing. Last year, we removed PUPs off of tens of millions of endpoints. Eliminating PUPs will make businesses and consumers safer.”

Potentially unwanted programs are often bundled into legitimate downloads or take privileges that go beyond the scope of their intended use, like injecting code or redirecting web pages; or siphoning passwords and installing a root certificate on the endpoint. The problem of PUPs has now migrated from the consumer world into the enterprise, particularly with more companies allowing personal devices on the network. The United States Department of Homeland Security has also shared warnings about specific PUPs and advised users to remove them immediately.

For the near term, AdwCleaner will retain its current name, supplemented by Malwarebytes branding. Malwarebytes is committed to maintaining the mission of the AdwCleaner product and its features. Malwarebytes believes this will aid growing awareness for the Malwarebytes brand in areas of rapid growth within Europe, Asia and additional countries outside of the United States. Malwarebytes will also integrate many of the proprietary techniques and detections into their flagship products.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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