IObit accused of stealing from Malwarebytes

Marcin Kleczynski is the  President and CEO of Malwarebytes, the company behind the popular anti-malware program. In a forum posting on their website, Kleczynski today accused IObit of stealing their software.

He writes:

"Malwarebytes has recently uncovered evidence that a company called IOBit based in China is stealing and incorporating our proprietary database and intellectual property into their software. We know this will sound hard to believe, because it was hard for us to believe at first too. But after an in-depth investigation, we became convinced it was true ... They are using both our database and our database format exactly."

In a later comment on the forum posting, Doug Swanson, Malwarebytes VP of Development, wrote:

"We conducted this investigation thoroughly over a period of weeks until we were 100% sure of everything we wrote above. These were not statements we made lightly."

Their proof is phony malware. Again quoting Kleczynski:

"The final confirmation of IOBit's theft occurred when we added fake definitions to our database for a fake rogue application ... This "malware" does not actually exist: we made it up. We even manufactured fake files to match the fake definitions. Within two weeks IOBit was detecting these fake files under almost exactly these fake names."

As further proof Malwarebytes offers a safe, non-malicious executable program, dummy.exe, that was tweaked to match a signature in their database.

I downloaded dummy.exe and scanned it at VirusTotal which gave it a clean bill of health. I also scanned it with MBAM and, as shown below, it was flagged it as Don't.Steal.Our.Software.A.

MBAM detecting dummy.exe as malware

Lo and behold, IObit Security 360 also detects it as malware, even using the same phony "Don't.Steal.Our.Software.A" name. You can see this in a screen shot posted by Malwarebytes.

And it gets worse.

Kleczynski concludes his forum posting with:

"During the course of our investigation, we uncovered additional evidence that IOBit may have stolen the proprietary databases of other security vendors as well. We are in the process of contacting these vendors."

Over at download.com, CNET editors gave IObit Security 360 version 1.10 five stars out of five. Ironically, they gave Malwarebytes Anti-Malware only 4.5 stars. Here's hoping that CNET, Majorgeeks and other software repositories remove IObit Security 360 from their systems. 

Web of Trust (WOT) currently rates the IObit website positively. WOT, however, does not have a central ruler, their ratings come from their customers, many of whom have started  commenting on the ethical issues involving IObit. The website rating will probably fall shortly.

A commenter at CNET pointed out something else interesting. The web page for IObit Security 360 claims the software was "featured" at places that have no information about it at all. Sure enough, a search for IObit at Forbes.com, bizjournals.com, reuters.com and hoovers.com came up empty at each site.

At this point, I wouldn't touch any software from IObit with a ten foot pole. But, that's just me.

NOTE: The forum posting is duplicated on the Malwarebytes blog posting:  IOBit Steals Malwarebytes’ Intellectual Property.

Update November 15, 2009: Iobit initialy denied the charge from MalwareBytes but their denial seems to have been removed from their website. MalwareBytes replied that IOBit’s Denial of Theft Unconvincing.

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