The free version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is tagged as the “world’s most popular anti-malware;” some users opt to install the trial premium version, but when the trial expires they might choose to search for a license key via a crack or keygen instead of “downgrading” to the freebie version. Others may have immediately taken a piracy route to unlock Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (MBAM) premium. If that describes you, then you should consider jumping on the Malwarebytes Amnesty program that is being offered for a limited time.
“The Internet is full of pioneers and cowboys. It’s also got its fair share of pirates and trolls,” reads the MBAM Amnesty program. “Some of those bad guys may have duped you into purchasing a counterfeit version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. Or perhaps we’ve simply detected a problem with your key. Not to worry. We’re here to help.”
If you have been “inconvenienced by piracy or abuse,” then Malwarebytes will give you a free replacement key that will belong to you and only you going forward.
If you try to activate a bogus MBAM license key, or one is detected on an installed premium product version, you will get an “oops” message, followed by the choices of “I’m not sure where I got my key, or I downloaded it from the Internet” and “I purchased my key.” If you select the first and shadier option, Malwarebytes will issue you a license key for one year. If you select the paid-for-it option, then you’ll also get a new key and “be good to go.”
If you previously purchased the premium product, then your license details should say the duration is for a “lifetime.” At least one forum user who bought MBAM felt cheated and wanted a refund if Malwarebytes is “handing out free lifetime licenses to pirates.” But Malwarebytes Amnesty program allows the new legitimate key to work on MBAM premium for 12 months, not a lifetime.
It’s not exactly crystal clear if all premium MBAM customers will eventually need a different key as the Amnesty program explained that selecting “I purchased my key” will get you a replacement key with the same license as your original key as “your old key will cease to work after a period of time.” However Malwarebytes CEO Marcin Kleczynski made it clear that the security company wants to revamp its licensing system.
“When I started Malwarebytes, I absolutely had no idea how successful we would be today,” Kleczynski wrote on the forum. He then explained:
That being said, I picked a very insecure license key algorithm and as such, generating a pirated key was, and is, very simple.
The problem with pirated keys it that they may collide with a legitimate key just by the sheer numbers. For example, Larry may generate a pirated key that matches the exact key that I already bought. Yes, this is silly, and yes, this is literally the first thing a professional software company thinks of when building license key generation, but when you think you're building a product for just a few people you don't hash out these details.
Now we've grown up, and we've got a new licensing system that we've rolled out in stages. The only problem is that we have millions of users that we've sold keys to, or a reseller has sold keys to, or we've given out keys to without keeping track. It is a mess, and you as a consumer have every right to be upset.
The first stage of this program is to collect data from our users. What keys are still alive, and who are they used by. If you are a true pirate, the furthest you will get is a year's worth of Malwarebytes. I wish we could handle each of the keys manually and determine if they are legitimate, but there are tens of millions of them and so we've automated the process a bit to cut them down. After that cut down, which is when a user selects an option, we will be going through the uses manually.
Again, I know this doesn't excuse those who feel cheated because they bought the software. I am happy to work with you on some free shirts, or a free copy of anti-exploit as you continue to support us through this process.
Interestingly enough, an upset MBAM user posed a way to profit from Malwarebytes’ “good faith mission,” asking, “If it is this easy to obtain a free genuine lifetime license, why not all download a pirated copy, obtain a legal key, repeat this process infinite times and sell the keys on eBay?”
A Malwarebytes forum moderator explained that many keys have been blacklisted and new counterfeit license keys won’t work forever. If you know you have a counterfeit key that works, don’t wait until it won’t work. You should jump on the amnesty program as it is being offered for a “very limited time” before users “will need proof of purchase” to acquire a premium license key. Amnesty gives a user a premium license key for a year. After 12 months, under the “new” MBAM premium program, users pay $24.95 for a one-year premium license that can be used on three PCs.