Webroot is a 14 year-old US security software company and its AV software has been well received over the years. Its latest incarnation for Windows is SecureAnywhere 2012, available in three variants.

The Antivirus version offers basic protection and includes cloud-based updates. Essentials adds in a firewall, privacy protection and data backup, while Complete also offers identity theft protection, password management and mobile device protection.

The control screens are fairly unexciting, but offer quick and easy access to the program's main features. They report on any malware found and show the status of scans and other tasks.

The single most interesting result from testing Webroot SecureAnywhere is the speed with which it scans. We use a standard 50GB bundle of files, including exe and other types which can hold malware, and stopwatch how long each product takes to scan them. Not only do the scan times vary wildly between products, but different suites pick very different numbers of files to scan.

SecureAnywhere took 12 minutes 15 seconds to perform a deep scan (its default mode), which looked at 15,275 files. Compare that with McAfee Total Protection 2012, tested recently, which took 1 hour 40 minutes to examine 8927 files. So it's around eight times faster and tests around 70 percent more files. What we don't know is whether it does as thorough a job, though.

AV-Test evaluated version 7 of the Webroot engine and scored it a total of 9.0/18, not too good. It scored particularly poorly on protection, the detection of malware, where it detected around 16 percent fewer zero-day threats than the average of its competitors. That wasn't the current version of the anti-malware engine, of course, so we have to hope the latest does considerably better.

See also: Internet security suites reviews

As well as AV and malware protection, SecureAnywhere 2012 Complete offers a PC tidy-up, which deletes cookies and unnecessary files.

Running it on our test machine freed up 1.9GB in under two minutes, which would have been a worthwhile gain. However, it also deleted a valid application, without checking with us first.

Perhaps Webroot has a particular problem with Iolo's System Mechanic, but it doesn't have the excuse that it mistook it for a temporary file. The 16 files were sitting legitimately in Program files\iolo\System Mechanic and the tidy-up ‘removed' them, so they weren't even left in the recycle bin, available to reinstate.

We're left wondering if there are other applications to which tidy-up might take a similar dislike.

The suite also includes a sandbox, which you can run new applications, when you're not sure of their provenance. It aims to protect the rest of your system from any malware that a new program might inadvertently, or intentionally, carry with it and try and inject into your system.

The Complete package includes Webroot Mobile Security for Android, so you can protect your mobile devices as well as a Windows PC. The app offers an AV scan and advice on settings which will improve phone or tablet security, such as turning off its USB storage access.

For iOS, Webroot has a free app, Webroot SecureWeb, that is essentially a web browser that scans URLs for phishing or malicious sites.

We tried it on a Samsung Galaxy Mini and it was both easy to use and had a similarly light footprint to the PC product. The Webroot Mobile Security app is a free download, so you can use it on as many phones and tablets as you want.

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Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete 2012: Specs

  • Windows XP/Vista/7, 32/64-bit with 128MB RAM, 10MB drive space
  • Windows XP/Vista/7, 32/64-bit with 128MB RAM, 10MB drive space


Although it appears very quick to scan and has a small, light footprint, it's not particularly cheap and doesn't appear to be that good at detecting new threats. The facility to protect an Android device may be useful, but is becoming de rigueur for new internet security suites from most suppliers. We'd advise against using the tidy-up function.