Webroot Antivirus (review) is one of the lesser-known names within the antivirus software industry, and once we gave it a try, we found some pretty interesting information about its detection of malware and viruses. Worth it? We expect it, but not for everyone.
Webroot Antivirus Overview
|Price range||$2.49 – $3.17 per month|
|Scan types||On-access, On-demand|
|Blocks malware and viruses||Yes|
Webroot’s Security Breach: Are You Protected?
When we dive into antivirus software, it’s not just about our user experience, although it is clearly a crucial part of our reviews. We also review the company’s past to determine if they have had lawsuits, security vulnerabilities, or other events that may make us less trusting of them. In 2019, Webroot had a security breach1 when hackers spread ransomware on their customers’ systems. Webroot said the breach only affected a small number of consumers and responded by requiring its existing two-factor authentication method, which suggests that users must enter a passcode sent to their mobile devices to log in, preventing user access. Not allowed.
- Contact and account registration: name, billing and shipping addresses, business type, email address, phone number, security code, username.
- Financial and transactions: card, bank or payment information, product and transaction information, purchase history.
- The content we provided: any information in customer’s cloud storage
- Devices: operating system, MAC address, device ID, browser type, IP addresses, visited websites, location information.
- Connection and use: license and account information, functions used, session duration.
- Misc: any communication we have with Webroot, etc.
While this data is pretty standard for antivirus software, we wonder exactly how Webroot shared it with third parties, if at all. Webroot makes it clear that they do not sell personal information, although it will be shared when they advertise their services on other applications or websites. However, you will adjust these settings in your browser, so overall, we are proud of the handling of our personal data by Webroot.
Webroot’s Software and How It Performed
Let’s take a closer look at Webroot’s features, that is, what it scanned, and thus the other ways it protected us from cyber threats.
How Webroot Protected our Macbook Pro
- Realtime Shield: First on the correct side of the Webroot application, Realtime Shield ran its threat database against our computer to determine if we had anything harmful on our computer. Enabled by default, Webroot recommends keeping the Realtime Shield enabled in the shortest time possible. If our computer can be a castle, consider Realty Shield a speck. And no, it didn’t find anything on our computer that was malicious, thankfully!
Note: Webroot software monitored our computer for suspicious behavior, not just signatures that are already known to be malicious in established databases.
- Web Threat Shield: The online Threat Shield, by contrast, monitored our internet usage for threads and warned us if we encountered malicious sites. According to Webroot, this detection compares our web activity against a database of more than 200 million domain names and IP addresses to detect sites that will contain malware. We are pretty good at not clicking on suspicious phishing links, which is why Webroot did not detect anything in our Chrome browser.
- Quarantine: If Webroot had found any viruses or malware on our computer, it would have put them in “quarantine” during this folder, protecting the rest of our computer from these cyber threats.
Our Experience Using Webroot
When we initially launched Webroot, it scanned our Macbook for malware and viruses but found none. That first scan took about 22 minutes, which is much faster than many other services we’ve tested. Not only could we do a scan whenever we wanted, but by default, Webroot automatically scans every hour. And, unlike other programs, it does not hamper computer performance or Internet browsing speed during scanning. In addition, a firewall-protected our network in the shortest possible time, which is not always guaranteed with antivirus software.
Overall, the Webroot app was very easy to use and we love that the scans were short and easy. Our only complaint is that we wanted everything to happen within the application and not during a combination of the application and therefore the website. But this is often a standard quality among antivirus programs, so it is not a deal-breaker.
Did Webroot Detect Viruses and Malware?
Let’s go back to the essential function of antivirus software: how well did Webroot actually protect our computer?
As of A.V Labs testing in June 2020, Webroot detected 98.9 percent of all widespread malware which was the most prevalent in the past four weeks. While this sounds pretty decent, the industry average was one decimal point higher. And when it comes to zero-day attacks and threats via the web or email, the detection rate dropped to 66.5 percent, which is the worst we’ve seen among the 40 software products. antivirus we tested. Oh!
When it came to detecting viruses on our computer, which we carefully downloaded without clicking, Webroot was unable to process four of the five, which was concerning. It only detected one virus out of 5, an EXE file, also found by 66 percent of the opposing software we’ve tested. And again, it’s not great that Webroot couldn’t process the opposite four viruses, which were common file types like XLSX, DOC, SLSM, and XLS.
Navigating Webroot: Our Experience
Although Webroot’s virus and malware detection was lacking, we appreciated its user experience, which in our opinion was quite smooth.
We purchased Webroot’s “antivirus only” plan, which costs $ 37.49 for 3 devices for a year (if you want a device or idea for 2-3 years, check out our Webroot pricing page to learn more about your options). After filling in our payment information on the Webroot website, we downloaded the application directly from the website (there is no middleman installation application here!). In a couple of seconds, the app downloaded and started its first scan. This process was generally very straightforward, which is not always the case with antivirus software. But how did it work after we downloaded it?
The next section was Identity Protection, which only included a feature called Phishing Shield.
- Phishing Shield: Enabled by default, Phishing Shield would have blocked any fraudulent website intended to obtain our personally identifiable information. But again, we’re pretty good at recognizing spoofing links, so this didn’t occur to us while browsing online.
Backup & Sync
Between our Macbook Pro, Kindle Fire, iPhone, and Smart TV with Chromecast built-in, we constantly switch between different devices, and file access is often a bit fiddly for sending and receiving emails. But since we didn’t buy the Web Security Complete package, we didn’t actually buy this 25GB of cloud storage, so once we clicked on it, we went back to the Webroot website in hopes of buying more software. the value was $ 59.99 for coverage of up to 5 devices for one year. While that’s a decent value, we are proud of our current coverage in our opinion. Many antivirus companies add additional features, such as VPN, secure storage, or password managers to increase costs. Unfortunately, this kind of upsell is basically common in antivirus software, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying.
Another feature that is only available in the two Internet security packages can be a password manager. Webroot’s password manager works with LastPass, which uses Touch ID to log into accounts instead of entering credentials manually. The sign-up process from the Webroot app can be a bit clunky, and at the top, we discovered easy Chrome extension integration … and a service charge (boo!). Turns out we already have a LastPass subscription, but the Webroot Internet Security package is actually a much better value. I wish we had known sooner!
In Utilities, we saw two buttons: Manage active processes and reports. Once we clicked on Manage Active Processes, we found a tab called System Control, which showed us all the “Active Processes”, or files and sites that we had open, and if they were allowed, monitored, or blocked. The Reports section is divided into Analysis Logs, which incorporate our most up-to-date analysis records. It also includes a neighborhood to submit files like screenshots when things go wrong, how to help Webroot improve its products.
The Webroot application did not have all of its functions built-in; rather, many features, such as the password manager, forced us to open the Webroot website. The My Account feature was created to help with this. My Account provides access to the online console, key code, subscription information, and the main support page on your website.
Last but not least, there was Support / Community, which included buttons for contacting customer service and speaking in user forums.
Here, we have the prices for the Webroot antivirus plan, but again, check out our pricing page for more options. Webroot also has enterprise and VPN plans, so please confirm that you examine all the available options. There’s even antivirus software for gamers!
|Maximum Number of Devices and Contract Lengths||Price|
|1 device, 1 year||$29.99|
|1 device, 2 years||$59.99|
|1 device, 3 years||$89.99|
|3 devices, 1 year||$37.49|
|3 devices, 2 years||$79.99|
|3 devices, 3 years||$109.99|
FYI: While the Security Plus web plan adds a password manager to the Antivirus plan, Internet Security Complete adds tracking protection plus 25GB of cloud storage.
We tested our Webroot on our Macbook Pro, but they even have apps for iOS and Android, which are rated 3.7 out of 5 in the Apple and Google Play stores. However, the apps are named differently:
- iOS: Webroot WiFi VPN and Security
- Android: Webroot Mobile Security & Antivirus.
These are decent but not great ratings; Many Android users, especially, claimed that the app didn’t work on their tablets, so Webroot could also be a much better antivirus software for iPhone than Android.
There were a couple of ways we could contact Webroot customer service, including creating a web ticket, sending them a message, calling them on the phone, or simply finding their help center online. While we wish they had live chat as well, we found their support page to be quite well designed and extensive.
Given its low detection of viruses and malware, we do not recommend Webroot in general. However, we are willing to reconsider whether Webroot improves its detection. Because it had a reasonably smooth user experience, we weren’t displeased with everything about the software. However, when it came to core antivirus and antimalware functionality, Webroot was off the mark.
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