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Malwarebytes Privacy and NTP (network time protocol)


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Hi all.

I use a number of software packages that control and turn on/off external hardware. They must have excellent timing to do so; and do so by contacting various NTP servers.

The built-in Windows time "synchronization" is woefully unreliable and inaccurate. W7 was OK, W8 was horrible. W10 is better; but still not up to my standards.

Instead, most people in my shoes uses a program called Dimension 4. It's freeware; Google it if you want to try it.

But: I notice that as long as MB Privacy is running Dimension 4 can't reach any of the NTP servers. And after a day or so my PC clock time can be off by 1.5 to 2 seconds from real time. That my look insignificant to most of you; but to my software and hardware it's a deal breaker. Stuff just stops working properly. Then I have to shut down Privacy, manually synchronize, and restart Privacy.

Is this something that's just inherent to a VPN, or the particular (MB) server I'm using?

If not: is it something that can be investigated and possibly fixed?

Thank you.

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I suspect it's likely due to the fact that it's a VPN connection, though it might be alleviated once they implement split tunneling so that you can specify apps to bypass the VPN connection which would enable you to have Dimension 4 use the stock network connection rather than being routed through the VPN.  You should be able to confirm if it's just a problem inherent in the use of VPNs by installing a trial for one of the many third party VPNs (uninstalling Malwarebytes Privacy first to avoid conflicts of course) and test to verify that the issue still occurs.

In the meantime, I will pass your findings on to the Product team in case there is anything they can do about it.

Please let us know if there is anything else we might assist you with.


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Split tunneling? Sounds exiting! And sounds like the solution to my issue.

I will try your suggestions, though. It's not much of a problem to turn the VPN off and on once a day and sync manually; but it's easy to forget and can get me in serious trouble with the law. Not looking forward to that.

Again, thank you.

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1 minute ago, E_J said:

Initial test, before rebooting, is negative. I have D4 set to sync every 60 minutes; and as of now it is still showing "waiting until online". Both programs involved were restarted as soon as I saw Porthos's reply.

I will reboot now and report back tomorrow.

I hope it ends up working. I have not tested the function at all yet.

If it does not work, I am sure the devs might want to look in to the function as it applies to your program.

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No go. Last resync was a little after midnight. I suspect it synchronized right after rebooting, and before the VPN started running.

I turned off Privacy, and before I had the chance to sync manually it D4 had already taken care of it.

I'lll try the other suggestions; but it would be really nice if that could be fixed.

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  • 1 month later...

Alright, quick follow-up; and frankly it's because I'm getting tired of not hearing anything back from the staff member who was "communicating" with me.

nikhils up there, on January 29, told me that they were able to reproduce the issue in-house and that it clearly is a defect.

In a few private messages that same person said there was a new version which fixed the problem, as tested in-house. I downloaded the new version; but it didn't fix the issue for me.

From there on things got a bit, say "un-support like". He/she blamed it on the program being many years old and unsupported. Yet it works fine without VPN, on any Windows system. He/she then suggested adding the IP address of a good working time server to the exclusion list (as opposed to the program itself), which I did; but that doesn't work either. Ultimately, he/she even asked me for my advice, as if I'm the expert. Duh. And then escalated to the point where I'm sure I'm being ignored. Yes, it's been weeks ago that I heard anything helpful, even after asking asking for help/news several times.

Honestly, "MB Privacy" has been a pain in the you know what since I purchased and installed it. The initial PC crashes and BSODs with no apparent reason (later deemed Privacy's fault) cost me quite a bit of money. And now this issue. My subscription is due for renewal in a few months; but that doesn't mean it's going to be renewed.

Does anyone else have any other information on how to fix my issue? And please don't use the pandemic excuse. Please.

Thank you.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Last follow up. Because I found the solution!

nikhils contacted me almost immediately after my previous public post. An exchange or two (in private messages, of course); and after that it's been super quiet again for 2 weeks, despite me contacting him/her twice. Not a single word.

So I went on my own troubleshooting hunt. The very first VPN from another vendor I installed works great with Dimension4. Right away. No issues. No BSODs either.

My solution: I uninstalled that piece of junk code that is called Privacy. It won't be reinstalled, and the license won't be renewed. Unfortunately, thanks to Malwarebytes'"support" I can't ask for a refund anymore. I'm way past the 60 day window by now. Or was that done on purpose, just to keep my money...?

I am disgusted by your coding "skills" and appalled by your customer "support". As they say down here: stick it where the sun don't shine!

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  • Root Admin

Hello @E_J

I'm very sorry to hear of your troubles with the software. I will contact one of the supervisors and we'll get you a full refund on the product. 

I will do my best to follow up with you tomorrow hopefully with the details for your refund. I should be able to get it authorized tomorrow but the actual refund process can take about 7 to 10 business days.

Thank you and I'll be back to follow up with you tomorrow.




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