Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete 2013 review

Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete 2013 omits spam filtering and parental control, but it packs everything else you might want from a security suite into a ridiculously small package. Its antivirus aced our tests, and it comes with 25GB of hosted online backup.
Photo of Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete 2013

Just what goes into a security suite? Some vendors pack in all the expected components and add backup and tuneup, creating a kind of mega-suite. Others extend protection to Macs and mobile devices, for multi-platform protection. Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete 2013 manages to do both in a package that’s unbelievably small.

Your $79.99 subscription lets you install Webroot protection on any combination of five PCs, Macs, or Android devices. It also includes 25 GB of hosted online backup, accessible from any of your devices. Like Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Plus 2013 it offers password management powered by LastPass, and like Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus 2013 its antivirus protection topped PCMag’s hands-on tests.

Fast Installation, Quick Scan
Webroot’s installer is less than a megabyte in size; many competing products weigh in at well over 100 MB. Actual installation is almost instantaneous, but the installer also spends a little time optimizing the product’s configuration for your system and running a full scan.

Some malicious programs actively work to prevent installation of security. Gettting some products installed on my twelve malware-infested systems has required days of back-and-forth with tech support. Not so withWebroot; it installed with only a bare minimum of help from tech support, and its fast scan let me complete the malware removal test in a single day.

Excellent Antivirus
Webroot doesn’t rely on a database of file signatures to identify malicious programs. Rather, it matches file attributes and behaviors against an online database. This approach proved effective in my malware-blocking test. Webroot identified 100 percent of the threats and blocked them from installing on the test system, earning 9.9 of 10 possible points. For full details, see my review of Webroot’s entry-level antivirus. The chart below shows how the competition matches up. For a full explanation of my testing process, see How We Test Malware Blocking.

Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete 2013 malware blocking chart

In my malware removal test, Webroot shared the top score of 6.6 points with Norton Internet Security (2013) . Kaspersky Internet Security (2013) and AVG Internet Security 2013 were close behind with 6.5 points. The article How We Test Malware Removal explains my testing and scoring process.

Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete 2013 malware removal chart

Because Webroot doesn’t work the same way most antivirus products do, it isn’t compatible with some independent lab tests. False positives have also caused problems. By contrast, Kaspersky and Bitdefender Total Security 2013 get top marks in all the tests I follow. For more about the independent testing labs, see How We Interpret Antivirus Lab Tests.

Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete 2013 lab tests chart

Other Shared Features
Even Webroot’s entry-level antivirus includes firewall protection. Specifically, it aims to control which programs can access the Internet, leaving protection against hack attacks to the built-in Windows firewall. It doesn’t actively block Web-based attempts to exploit system vulnerabilities, but it’s tough enough that malware won’t manage to disable it.

A feature called Identity Shield invisibly protects your privacy on sensitive websites. Among other things it prevents keyloggers from capturing your passwords or snapping screenshots of sensitive sites. I checked; it works.

My Webroot contacts say that an enhanced antiphishing engine is under development. That’s good, because the existing engine isn’t all that accurate. In my tests its detection rate was 45 percentage points behind Norton’s, and 10 points behind Internet Explorer alone. For a full explanation of how I test phishing protection, see How We Test Antiphishing.

Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete 2013 antiphishing chart

Do read my review of Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus 2013, as it goes into much more detail about these and other shared features.

The main feature distinguishing Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Plus 2013 from Webroot’s antivirus is a powerful password management system built on technology licensed from LastPass. It includes all the essential features of LastPass 2.0, though it omits a few of the more advanced features.

The password manager captures login credentials as you enter them and offers to login automatically when you revisit a site for which it has stored credentials. From the Webroot browser button you can open a multi-level menu of all your saved sites; choosing an item navigates to the site and logs you in. It handles non-standard login pages better than most password managers.

You can also create any number of personal information profiles for filling Web forms, plus additional profiles containing just credit card information. When it detects you’ve opened a page containing a Web form, Webroot offers to fill it using the profile of your choice.

From any Internet-equipped computer you can log into your Webroot account to view and manage your password collection and personal information profiles. As with Webroot’s mid-range suite, this online console also lets you check the status of your PCs and mobile devices. Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete adds online management of the Backup and Sync feature.

Flexible Backup and File Synchronization
For the initial release of this product last year, Webroot partnered with SugarSync for online backup. For the current release, Webroot’s designers built their own backup system that offers almost all the same features.

Your subscription gets you 25GB of online storage, shared among all your devices. That’s quite a lot. Bitdefender Total Security 2013 and Norton 360 (2013) come with just 2GB of storage. For $10 more you can purchase Norton 360 Premium, identical to the base Norton 360 except that it comes with 25GB for backup. Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security 2013 comes with 5GB by default, or 25GB in its Premium edition.

If you find 25GB just isn’t enough, you can upgrade your Webroot account to 50GB, 100GB, or unlimited storage. The upgrade price is automatically pro-rated for the remaining duration of your current subscription. For example, the $200 upgrade to unlimited storage would cost $183.33 if your subscription has 11 months to go.

To get started, you choose which files should be backed up. Webroot includes built-in filters for common file formats like documents, spreadsheets, and pictures, along with an option to define your own custom filter. By default it looks for files of the chosen types in and below the Documents folder; naturally you can specify other locations if necessary. Once you’ve configured the backup system, it runs automatically once per day. You can change the schedule to run only on certain days, or set it to run at a user-defined interval.

Webroot automatically creates what it calls the “Anywhere Folder” on each of your protected systems. Files that you drop into this folder on one PC will sync through the cloud and appear on your other PCs. Edit a document on one device and the changes will sync to all of them. Webroot displays all pending file transfers so you can see when all files have been synchronized. You can also create additional synchronized folders, if you wish.

To restore a file (or an earlier version of a file) from backup you must log in to the Webroot online console. Here you can navigate through your backup sets and download the desired file. Webroot can optionally zip the file for faster download, or zip and download an entire folder.

The console logs all backup activity and lets you check which devices sync with which folders. If you’re viewing a folder containing pictures, you can switch to a slideshow-style image view.

The previous SugarSync-powered backup system also included a sharing option. You could create a secure, revocable link to give someone else access to a specific file or folder, for example to transfer a file that’s too big for email. That’s not currently a feature of Webroot’s solution.

System Cleanup
Webroot’s System Analyzer checks your hardware, software, and operating system for problems that might impact performance or security. It’s similar in some ways to the Diagnostic Report in Norton 360, with one big difference. For problems that have any easy solution, like turning on Automatic Updates, Norton 360 displays a “Fix Now” button. Webroot will tell you what areas need attention, but you have to make the necessary fixes yourself.

System Analyzer displays a summary of its findings along with a numeric score. If you click for more details you get a report on every item that the analyzer checked, with those most in need of attention at the top. A link to “Learn More” online isn’t yet working. When ready, it will display more detail about steps you can take to raise your score.

If System Analyzer reports a plethora of temporarily files taking up space, that’s a job for the System Cleaner. This tool deletes useless temporary files, cached browser files, and other junk. It can also clear out traces of your computer and browser usage, including recently-used file lists from many common applications. There’s no option to preview what will be cleaned up or undo a cleanup session, but you do get a complete log of what the cleaner removed.

The cleanup component in Norton and Bitdefender also removes erroneous or useless items from the Registry. Bitdefender adds an unusual scan that finds identical duplicate files and optionally deletes all but one of them.

By default, the System Cleaner simply deletes unwanted files, bypassing the Recycle Bin. You can configure it to overwrite files three or seven times before deletion, to ensure that even forensic recovery software can’t get back the deleted data. An option on the right-click context menu lets you securely delete any file or folder.

Minimal Performance Hit
Webroot’s creators aimed for a product that would provide full-scale security with next to no performance impact. Based on my tests, they’ve succeeded. Averaging 100 boot-time measurements with no security suite and 100 with Webroot installed, I found no appreciable difference. The average boot-time slowdown for current suites is 13 percent.

Webroot also had no measureable effect on the time required to run a script that zips and unzips a big collection of files. Another script that moves and copies that same file collection between drives took 4 percent longer under Webroot’s protection, way less than the average of 20 percent.

Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security slowed my browsing test by 1 percent. In the same test Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete came in at 2 percent, a minor difference. Given that the average suite slows this test by 18 percent, I’m not worried. Webroot also earned the best score in a recent performance test by independent lab AV-Comparatives.

For more about how I measure security suite performance see How We Test Security Suites for Performance.

Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete 2013 performance chart

Multi-Device Protection
Starting a year or so ago, some security vendors branched out into a new kind of suite, one designed to protect all of the user’s devices. McAfee All Access is the most flexible of these. For $99.95 you can install security software on an unlimited number of PCs, Macs, and mobile (Android, Blackberry, or Symbian) devices. It also includes backup and parental control for PCs and Macs.

Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete blurs the line between a standard security suite and a multi-device bundle. As with the $149.95 Norton One , you can use your five licenses on any combination of PCs, Macs, and Android devices, and manage them all online. There is no separate PC-only Webroot suite.

A Lightweight Winner
Different people want different things from a security suite. If you expect spam filtering and parental control, consider Editor’s Choice Norton Internet Security (2013) . For a mega-suite with backup and tuneup, Norton 360 (2013) is a good choice.

On the other hand, many users don’t need parental control or spam filtering, Webroot offers extraordinarily lightweight protection and a powerful antivirus along with flexible online backup, password management, and more. It has earned an Editors’ Choice slot alongside the two Norton suites.

Sub-ratings:
Firewall:
Virus removal:
Virus blocking:
Performance:
Antispam: n/a
Privacy:
Parental Control: n/a

More Security suite reviews:

Specifications
Tech Support 24x7 online support
phone support during business hours.
OS Compatibility Windows Vista, Windows XP, Mac OS, Windows 7
Type Business, Personal, Professional

Verdict
Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete 2013 omits spam filtering and parental control, but it packs everything else you might want from a security suite into a ridiculously small package. Its antivirus aced our tests, and it comes with 25GB of hosted online backup.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc