Bytefence Anti-Malware is a program that is marketed as an antimalware application. And indeed, when installed on your computer, it scans it for various forms of junkware and malware.
So, by definition, Bytefence is not a malicious program or a computer virus. The reason why this program has gained a rather bad rep is due to the shady distribution techniques used by the developers.
The developing company is also called Bytefence and there are two versions of this software product: a free and a paid one. And the free version is usually the one that causes trouble for users, causing them to think that they’ve been infected by malware.
Instead, we would be more inclined to categorize this software as a potentially unwanted program or PUP. This is a broad term used to describe software that may generally appear as useful but in reality turns out to be some annoying browser add-on, a toolbar, some kind of adware, malware, or even a Trojan, etc. So antivirus or antimalware programs generally tend to group these unwanted (for various reasons) pieces of software under this umbrella term. In this case, we would refer to Bytefence as a PUP because its installation usually takes place without the users’ knowledge.
But there’s a handful of other features that would help define it as such, as well. For example, AppEsteem has a list of applications labeled as ‘deceptors’ that includes various PUPs, including Bytefence.
And on the official website, the following issues were noted:
- The installation process cannot be canceled or closed. Those options in the installer window are disabled and when real-protection is disabled, it becomes enabled automatically when the app window is opened.
- App reports untruthful threats. For example, Bytefence detected legit applications and processes and labeled them as suspicious or dangerous. PUPs are added to the malware count, as well.
How does the installation occur?
The main problem that people tend to report in regards to Bytefence is that it seems to appear out of nowhere. Users rarely ever recall downloading and installing the app themselves, and that is because programs like this are usually distributed in so-called program bundles. Hence, it’s likely that you downloaded Bytefence alongside another (probably free) piece of software (freeware, shareware, etc.).
For Mac users, we know that these programs come bundled in PDF Mac Master, although Windows users are far more likely to encounter Bytefence. In that line of thought, we should also point out that Android users aren’t immune to this PUP either.
What does Bytefence do?
As already mentioned earlier, Bytefence is an application designed to detect various forms of malware and junkware on your computer. However, it does not remove any of the files that it finds. Instead, once it finds whatever it deems to be a risky component, it will notify you via a popup notification on your screen. And then it will encourage you to purchase the Pro (paid) version of the software application in order to have the dangerous files and apps removed from your system.
Actually, these ads, along with the malware detection popups are usually what first signalizes the presence of Bytefence on your computer. Other places where you might see symptoms of this program being present in the OS are your browser, for example. The PUP in question may sometimes install itself in the browser toolbar or even alter some of the settings of the browsing app.
You can check to make sure whether or not you have this program installed on your computer by looking for the file named “bytefence-installer.exe”. If you find it there and you had no prior knowledge of it, then clearly you’ve downloaded and installed the software without realizing it and it may be a good idea to get rid of it.
How can I remove Bytefence?
Sneaky software applications that tend to use various deceptive installation tactics can often be difficult to remove. Sometimes they don’t even come with a designated uninstallation option, meaning that users are often forced to search their entire system for the separate software components of such PUPs.
So at times, it may be best to use specialized antimalware or antivirus software to remove programs like Bytefence. In addition to removing this application, it will also help detect other potential threats. And let’s face it, if you have one, then there’s a decent chance you may have more.
However, if you’d rather not go that route, then in the case of Bytefence you should be able to uninstall the program from Windows the way you would any regular application. For Android users, this should be possible via the Google Play Store, as well as through the Settings app.
How to prevent apps like Bytefence from getting installed in the future?
There are several things you can do to make sure or by the very least lower your chances of downloading and installing potentially unwanted programs henceforth. One of them is to pay closer attention to the type of content you download of your own free will. As pointed out, PUPs are typically bundled in with other software applications. So it’s good to check the developers of any programs that you’re seeking to download beforehand, as well as make sure to obtain these programs from reliable and reputable sources. Reading reviews of such programs can give you a good idea of what to expect from them as well.
Another good precaution against such software pieces is having a high-quality antivirus of antimalware tools working on your computer. Furthermore, be sure to have whatever tool you’re using up-to-date with the latest virus definitions.