Internet Security Essentials from Webroot

It is the first release of a security suite for Webroot…and users need to wait before giving it a try.

The price seems right, at a mere $60 for three users (that was the price on December 23, 2008) for this companies first attempt at a security suite. This package has Sophos antivirus scanner, Privacyware’s firewall, and you can get online backup from Webroot’s own servers.  What it doesn’t have is parental controls (very important today), browser based antiphishing capabilities, and a way to keep the spam out (not the kind you eat, but the kind that fills up your email).  What is even worse is that it failed at its primary mission…identifying malicious software.

Webroot only found 89.56 percent of the bots, worms, and other problems, according to’s detection tests.  The competition did much better, sometimes almost 10 percent better.  With heuristic tests, that measure how well each software suite identifies new malware that a signature has not been supplied, Webroot was second last.  The competition averaged about 55 percent, compared to Webroot’s 39.8 percent.

If you want a suite that will find and remove dormant and active rootkits, this suite did OK, only missing one active rootkit.  But you would think that a company that started out with antispyware utilites would place better than seventh place, catching 90.4 percent of the junk that is out there.

If you want a firewall that is antiquaited, the firewall in this suite is for you.  Remember the days when the software had to learn what you do and where you go?  Well this does the same thing.  It has a seven day learning period where it finds out where you go and prompts you for each piece of new software you use (this could be as annoying as the windows popping up in Vista, constantly asking you if you want to be redirected).  Other firewalls have gotten away from this by using a whitelist of software that is known to be good and allows the software on the list to access the internet automatically.

There is a cleanup option that clears the browser history, cookies, windows file history, and other records that are retained on your computer. You might want to check the cleanup feature’s settings so that anything you want to keep isn’t automatically removed.  If you happen to be using Firefox 3, you won’t have to worry about this, since the software can’t automatically clear the browser history in this web browser.  Of course, you can still clear the history manually.  When you install the software suite, you are asked if you want to install the Webroot Ask toolbar.  Don’t worry about it if you are using Firefox 3 since the toolbar also won’t work with the browser and doesn’t give you any additional protection.

Having access to Webroot’s 20GB of free online storage space sounds nice, if you can figure out how to use it.  Webroot has server problems at times that make it difficult, if not impossible, to create an account.

But there are not just remote problems with a server in the internet cloud; the software has trouble talking with Windows that is on the same computer.  Sometimes Windows Security Center will notify you that you either don’t have a firewall, or that Webroot is out of date.  To make matters worse, you sometimes have to stop everything and reboot the computer to make the alert leave you alone.

Have you ever seen penmanship that looks good, is all the same height and is nice to look at, but impossible to read!  The user interface for the suite is the same way, pretty to look at but too difficult to use.  Webroot’s pop-ups list doesn’t give you activity logs file names or locations of quarantined items.

Save yourself the headache and wait for the next version of Webroots suite. Hopefully it will be easier to use, and actually keep your computer’s vital information safe, which is what it is supposed to do.

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