I will take a brief look at some of the extra included features.
The Cleanup utility will remove temporary files and other unused/unwanted items on your computer to free up space. It is nothing special by itself but a useful feature for two reasons: it can be scheduled automatically and it has a little option called “Make deleted files unrecoverable”. The latter option is important in a multi-user environment. Normally, files deleted in Windows are not actually deleted — the disk space they take up is merely marked as writable. Therefore, the files can be recovered. This “Make deleted files unrecoverable” feature will not allow that to happen — no need to worry about someone digging up your old bank statements.
Security Complete includes 10GB of online storage with the subscription. Setting up the online storage account is relatively painless and takes about a minute. Clicking “Open File Manager” brings up a wizard, which guides you through selecting files for backup. This is kind of useful, and I say kind of useful because it is only 10GB; that is not a whole lot of data. You can, of course, buy more, but I am tempted to say just go with another online backup service; I don’t think online backup and security protection go hand in hand.
Something Security Complete lacks is parental controls, which some competing suites like McAfee Total Protection 2010 have. This will be a deal breaker for some family households.
Real-World Security Testing
This section is broken up into four parts: Firewall, Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, and Anti-Spam. We use Internet Explorer for all testing.
We use PCFlank’s Exploits Test to test the firewall component; detailed test information can be found here. The tests essentially bombard your system and test its reaction to various types of attacks and unexpected packets.
Webroot Internet Security Complete’s firewall worked as it should and successfully defended the computer.
To test the effectiveness of Webroot I used several virus files from Eicar.org, an IT security website. Please see the test description for extensive information on the tests.
Webroot Internet Security Complete successfully blocked all the files from downloading and auto-quarantined them — very impressive, and what we want to see. Some security suites let the files through before detecting them as malicious.
We use Spycar.org to test the anti-spyware module. It mimics spyware behavior on a computer, detecting whether the anti-spyware component can block or detect it. We run all available tests.
Webroot Internet Security Complete successfully blocked all attempted downloads and changes — the anti-spyware module works as it should.
We use the Apache SpamAssassin Project to test the anti-spam filter. I send an email containing the string on the page to a test email account; if it gets blocked, we know the spam filter is working. Mozilla Thunderbird is used as the email client on our test computer.
Unfortunately I found that Webroot’s anti-spam module is small and outdated; it only supports two programs: Outlook Express (which was replaced long ago by Windows Live Mail) and Outlook. Webroot disappoints big time here; Thunderbird is a popular email program. For Webroot to not support it is a major drawback.
Security Complete did not interfere with my everyday activities, including Internet surfing, email, and office productivity. It slowed down my computer somewhat, however; as soon as I uninstalled it, my computer felt more responsive.
Updates are performed automatically and in the background without user intervention. There will likely be little need to interact with it on a daily basis.
We evaluate the performance impact and system resource usage of using anti-virus software in two ways:
- 1. Overall system performance measured before and after installation using PCMark
- 2. Time it took to perform a full system scan
Overall System Performance Impact Measured with PCMark05
A less-than three percent impact on system performance is a very good result for a security suite.
Time it took to perform a full system scan
Webroot Internet Security Complete 2011 is in a tough spot; while it has good anti-virus, anti-spyware, and a good firewall, it is lacking in feature support compared to competitors. The anti-spam module is most disappointing; it is outdated and only supports Microsoft Outlook Express (which is defunct) and Outlook. Secondly, it lacks parental controls, which really should be included on a security suite aimed at multi-user households.
From a protection standpoint, Webroot is recommendable — just make sure you don’t need the features that aren’t included.
- Sleek interface
- Good tech support options
- Good scan times
- Some useful included utilities
- Anti-spam support lacking
- No parental controls