Webroot rebuilt its antivirus software from the ground up with Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus 2012, and reports say the effort was worth it. The software relies on Webroot's servers for virus definition information, which makes it effective at detecting the newest threats and enables the program to consume low amounts of resources on PCs -- making it a good choice for those with less powerful or older systems. The clean interface also wins over critics.
However, while independent labs and professional reviewers alike praise Webroot's effectiveness, they do so with a caveat; because the software leans so heavily on the cloud for virus definitions, it loses a lot of its malware-fighting capabilities when offline. Webroot keeps tracks of changes to your PC and checks back in with its servers as soon as a connection is reestablished, though. If the idea of a cloud-reliant antivirus solution doesn't sit well with you, experts praise Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2012 (*Est. $25), which uses cloud-based data to supplement scans but stores most of its files locally.
Independent researchers at AV-Comparatives.org and Virus Bulletin evaluate Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus 2012's effectiveness, as do professional tech critics at Maximum PC and PCMag.com. More than 100 users contribute reviews at Amazon.com, as well
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AV-Comparatives.org ran into trouble with the cloud-based elements of Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus 2012 and ended up disqualifying the program from certification consideration as a result. Even with cloud-based detection disabled, Webroot manages to neutralize 94.2 percent of the viruses AV-Comparatives.org throws at it.
Review: Anti-Virus Comparative, Editors of AV-Comparatives.org
2. Virus Bulletin
To receive certification from Virus Bulletin, an antivirus program must detect all viruses "during both on-demand and on-access scanning," according to the website. Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus 2012 fails to earn certification in early tests because of a large number of false positives. Users need to subscribe to Virus Bulletin to see detailed test results.
Review: VB100 Results Summary, Editors of Virus Bulletin
Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus 2012 earns an Editors' Choice award and splits best antivirus software duties with Norton AntiVirus 2012 at PCMag.com. "Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus is tiny beyond belief, yet it achieved perfect scores across the board in my malware-blocking tests," Neil Rubenking writes. He says the extra anti-phishing tools are too complicated and ineffective, however.
Review: Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus 2012, Neil J. Rubenking, Oct. 4, 2011
Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus 2012 earns a 9 rating in this lengthy round-up of security software, but its reduced offline effectiveness leads Paul Lilly to give Norton Internet Security 2012 Maximum PC's Kick Ass award over Webroot. He is nevertheless impressed by Webroot's effectiveness and extensive features, and by its ability to play nice with other antivirus programs.
Review: Choose Your Defender! 10 Anti-Virus Programs Reviewed and Compared, Paul Lilly, Dec. 5, 2011
Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus 2012 boasts a high overall rating at Amazon.com, after more than 100 users check in. The software's small footprint and speed are oft-cited high points.
Review: Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus 3 PCs- 15 Months of Protection, Users at Amazon.com