Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus 2013 Review
Since dropping their Spy Sweeper product, Webroot have gone the way of traditional Internet security vendors by offering a predictable selection of products: an antivirus product called “SecureAnywhere Antivirus,” the subject of this review, an “Internet Security Plus” package, and a flagship “SecureAnywhere Complete” option.
Price-wise, SecureAnywhere Antivirus comes in at the top end of average. The product is available for one or three devices, with a one or two year subscription.
A one-year, one-PC subscription costs £29.99 in the UK ($39.99 in the US). At the opposite end of the scale, a two-year, three-PC package costs £64.99 in the UK or $79.99 in the US.
As is the case with the vast majority of vendors, a free trial of all products is available, but in the case of Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus this is for 14 days rather than the usual 30.
Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus stands out from most other antivirus products, as it includes firewall functionality. This is usually kept back by vendors for their more expensive Internet security packages.
Beyond this, Webroot are quite reserved when it comes to listing the product’s features online. They refrain from the mind-bogglingly long lists favoured by certain other vendors.
The key features of SecureAnywhere Antivirus are as follows:
Multi-Layer Protection: Webroot’s product uses “several layers” of antivirus protection. While we don’t dispute this, we find the claim that this functionality is “normally reserved by competitors for premium products costing up to double the price” a little bold – you’d be hard-pressed to find a product costing twice the price!
Malicious Site Detection: This warns you if sites are suspicious before you click on them by highlighting malicious search results.
Social Network Protection: Protection for Facebook and Twitter.
Cloud Based Detection: The product uses a cloud-based anti-malware database and “doesn’t rely on old-fashioned threat signatures.”
Identity Shield: This claims to “harden” the browser when banking or shopping online.
Fast Protection: According to the promotional text, “most” scans with the product take less than one minute. Miraculously, this proved to be true during testing.
Low Memory Use: Most antivirus products now claim to use minimal memory, but Webroot cite a 2012 PassMark study saying that SecureAnywhere uses less than competitors.
All-in-all, the features list for SecureAnywhere Antivirus is fairly standard stuff, with the exception of the added firewall and a few rather bold claims. We looked forward to putting these to the test with our real-world threats.
Installation and Configuration
We were able to use the free trial of SecureAnywhere Antivirus for the purposes of reviewing it on our test machine, which ran a clean install of Windows 7 Professional.
First we downloaded the trial installer. To do so, we had to provide our name and email details.
After doing so, we were provided with a download link and activation key, and the same was forwarded to our email account.
The download was a tiny 731Kb file. Upon running it, we were prompted for our keycode.
After providing it, the main installation began, complete with a list of all the impressive things the installer was doing, which would all mean nothing at all to a technical novice! Still, we were pleased to see that a quick virus scan was included in the install process, which in total took about three minutes.
After the process had finished, we were told the product was fully configured and that we “didn’t need to do anything else.” We were impressed with the slick and easy install process. No questions were asked that would confuse novices, and the number of steps was minimal.
We were obviously keen to have a good look around the program interface, so we double-clicked the SecureAnywhere icon after closing the above window.
We were very impressed with the speed at which the program opened, and the level of status information shown on the initial screen:
Upon exploring the interface, we were surprised by the depth of functionality available, and at the same time reassured by the way that the options were all clear and well explained. We also rather liked the slider-style interface, which was distinctly iPad-esque.
Already impressed with the level of configurability on offer, we clicked through to look at scheduled scan options. After being told that the program was automatically optimally configured, we were given the option to move into an even more advanced selection of options, which proved to offer some of the most detailed settings we’d ever seen in an antivirus product.
Impressed with what we’d seen to this point, we were keen to move onto our real-life tests to see how the product fared in a fight against some genuine viruses.
As always. we introduced a selection of threats to our test machine by plugging in a USB key containing three different potential infections.
Sometimes, at this point, we’re pleased to see the product we’re reviewing jump to life and offer to scan the key. In this case, we saw no alerts and had the option to “open folder to view files.”
When we selected the option, all three of our test threats were visible to us.
Starting with the “simplest” threat, we double-clicked the “EICAR” file, a test virus from the European Expert Group for IT Security. SecureAnywhere Antivirus immediately detected the threat, with a default option to remove it preselected.
Interestingly, upon clicking “Next” the software performed a quick secondary scan, lasting just under a minute, to check no threat remained.
Next, we moved onto DEFENDER.EXE, a fake antivirus program. Again, SecureAnywhere found it and removed it in exactly the same way.
Finally, we tried to run our fake Google Chrome installer, which contains an archived selection of malware ready for unsuspecting users to install.
Once again, the product detected and removed it, resulting in a flawless 100% score in our real-life tests. If we wanted to be pedantic, we would point out that we would have preferred a default pre-scan of our USB key, but what really matters is that the software worked perfectly against all of our test threats.
Finally, we decided to kick off a full system scan to look at CPU and memory usage. As Webroot highlight that their product is particularly good at minimising resource use, we were interested in the result of this test.
Impressively, Task Manager revealed a maximum RAM use of 15MB, with CPU use peaking at 30%. This was the best we’d seen from any product tested at the time of writing. Furthermore, the “deep scan” of our PC completed incredibly quickly.
As soon as we visited the Webroot website to begin investigating their products, we were offered support in the form of live chat. It’s always good to see a company keen to make contact with customers.
We went on to explore other support options after trialling the software.
We found ticket system support, office hours phone numbers in a range of countries, and an active Twitter support presence. All-in-all a great range of options.
- Perfect real world test results
- Extremely fast scans
- The lowest resource usage we’ve seen
- Easy to use for novices; extremely configurable for experts
- Firewall included in entry-level product
We weren’t so sure about
- Pre-scanning of USB devices not enabled by default
- Trial period only 14-days, not the usual 30
Given that Webroot is relative newcomer in terms of full-blown Internet security products, we’d never have predicted that this product would get so much so right.
The install was as slick as we’ve seen, and the interface was comprehensive yet uncluttered, with a huge selection of advanced options for enthusiasts to play with. The product also made easy work of all our test threats.
There’s literally no criticism we can think of that warrants a mention in this conclusion. Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus deserves a place on every shortlist – quite possibly at the top.