The technology and innovation found with Webroot antispyware products have long been known for excellence. There was even once a time when Spy Sweeper was known as not only the best antispyware product, but the only one available on the market against spyware.
However, today is different, as there are many different competitors that are bringing the heat in the market of spyware defense.
Webroot Spy Sweeper Antispyware for 2011 has proven to be an average spyware defense, however does little to protect against the most dangerous forms of malicious software, including Trojans. For this reason, the software has to receive a lower score than before.
Webroot Spy Sweeper Antispyware Features
- Anti-spyware detection and removal
- Real-time antispyware threat protection
- Rootkit discovery methods
- Risk assessment
- Games and movie mode
- Email protection
- Installation – 95%
When installing Webroot Spy Sweeper, you are provided a step by step installation wizard that is easy and very fast.
There were no issues discovered through test installations.
Once installation is complete, your PC will be restarted.
User Interface – 90%
Webroot Spy Sweeper Antispyware offers excellent options and has a user interface that is highly appealing to all users of all levels.
The navigation within the software is very easy with no drop-down menus needed to navigate throughout, offering a much easier search for functions.
The main Webroot Spy Sweeper panel offers access to real-time Shield, Sweep Statistics, and Check for Updates as well as Game Mode for enabling gaming access.
Users that don’t have a common knowledge of spyware terminology such as: “ActiveX”, “Alternative data stream execution”, or “host file”, could be at a disadvantage in understanding the functions of the software’s real-time protection, or Shield function.
These functions should have, in actuality, been displayed in the advanced options section of the software, with protection options that are obvious enabled as the default options for the software.
Pre-Infected Machine – 50%
There were 2 separate Trojan and spyware sets installed into a test PC in order to determine the effectiveness of the Webroot Spy Sweeper Antispyware at detecting pre-infections.
The result was not very good, showing a low performance for the software in the test.
The first step we followed was infecting the PC with the Trojans and spyware. Once infected, Webroot was installed. After installation was complete, the software initiated an automatic system scan.
Not one set of Trojans was detected by Webroot.
At first, not even the spyware sets of the test were detected by the antispyware. After attempting to access the files, however, Webroot detected and blocked all threats.
The overall result is that dormant Trojan and spyware infections within a system before Webroot is installed are not detected by the software. Only active threats are being detected and blocked by the antispyware, which can be a bit unsettling.
Real-time Protection – 73%
Testing the software, real-time protection was turned on, followed by infection of the test PC with 2 sets each of Trojans, spyware, and then adware.
As the Trojans were accessed to determine the sensitivity and ability of Webroot to detect the Trojan threats, only 1 out of the 5 were detected.
As access to spyware/adware was attempted, Webroot Spy Sweeper 2011 detected and successfully blocked each. The extra perk of the software’s performance came in where the software blocked any copies of the spyware into the system at all.
The overall result of Webroot’s real-time shield was rated average.
Manual Scanning – 70%
The manual scanning test of Webroot yielded a performance similar to the real-time protection testing of the software.
There was an initial infection of 2 sets of both Trojans and spyware, after which a manual full system scan was started.
Of all 5 Trojans present in the system, yet again only 1 was detected, yet every spyware file was detected and blocked.
While antispyware functions of Webroot are excellent and offer a 100% rating, anti-trojan performance is extremely low. The score for manual scanning must be low due to the poor Trojan detection.
Resource Usage – 93%
Real-time protection: Memory usage: 6.2 MB, CPU usage: 0% to 2%, Page file usage: 245 MB
Manual Scanning: Memory usage: 54.2 MB, CPU usage: 4% to 50%, Page file usage: 279 MB
Definition Updates – 86%
Configuration of Webroot Antispyware definition updates is very easy, and all works appropriately.
Antispyware definitions are essential to the effectiveness of any antispyware software, and it is recommended that updates are downloaded and installed as frequently as they are released. Automatic updating ensures that they are downloaded as soon as released, as spyware is released every few minutes and is only detected through up-to-date definition updates.
Email Protection – 90%
Webroot Spy Sweeper 2011’s email protection function was tested by sending various spyware files via email to the testing PC.
With Webroot Email Attachment Shield enabled, all spyware was successfully blocked with all attachments scanned, detected, blocked, and an alert given.
Game Mode – 80%
The game mode function of Webroot Spy Sweeper offers fair protection during intense internet or PC gaming.
When game mode is enabled, Internet Explorer disables protection and scheduled scans of the browser. This ensures interruption-free gaming for users to enjoy.
It is easy to become wrapped up in a game and forget to re-enable protection after the gaming session is over. For this reason, Webroot offers automatic re-enabling of protection after 4 hours. This is a premium gaming mode feature that is highly regarded as an essential feature.
Customer Support – 92%
Webroot offers thorough and extensive customer support for customers. The company ensures that customers receive all information possible to assist with any issues or questions that may exist through various channels including: phone, knowledgebase, tutorials, remote assistance, and email response.
Basic assistance is offered for technical or customer support for free. Anything that requires more thorough assistance does cost a small fee and could include assistance with removal of virus and spyware manually or if a Webroot technical agent installs software.
The customer support of Webroot receives a high score because of the vast, thorough, and extensive access to any services that may be needed by customers.
Un-Installation – 95%
Uninstalling Webroot Spy Sweeper Antispyware is very easy to do and is completed very quickly.
Removal can be done through the system’s add/remove option, followed by a thorough deletion of the software.
There is no restart needed of the PC after uninstallation.
Minimum System Requirements
- Windows XP 32 bit SP1, SP2, SP3
- Windows Vista 32 bit (all Editions)
- Windows Vista SP1 32 and 64 bit (all Editions)
- Windows 7 32 and 64 bit (all Editions)
- 300MHz processor (minimum), 1GHz (recommended on Vista)
- 256 RAM (minimum), 2GB (recommended on Vista)
- 100 MB Hard Disk Space
- Internet Explorer 5.5 and higher, Firefox 2.0 and higher
Based on features and user interface, Webroot remains a simple to use product that can be easy to navigate for users of all levels.
However, the lack of Trojan detection creates an issue with the software when it comes to maximum protection against today’s most dangerous and prominent threats.
While the user interface and navigation of the software is relatively simple, configuring real-time protection can be difficult for those that aren’t familiar with antispyware advanced functions.
Gaming mode and email protection provides Webroot with an added value. Both functions performed at high levels, and aren’t typical features of other antispyware products on the market.
The user interface, presentation, and added features of Webroot Spy Sweeper definitely give this software a bit of quality, but the core antispyware performance doesn’t add up to our standards of antispyware protection this year.