What's The Smallest, Fastest and Best AntiVirus?

Category: Anti-Virus

Most anti-virus programs and Internet security suites are resource hogs that take up a sizable chunk of your hard drive, and consume dozens of megabytes of precious system RAM. But there's a new kid on the block, and Webroot SecureAnywhere 2012 is here to say that smaller is better. It's blazingly fast, too. But is it the best of the bunch when it comes to protecting you online? Read on and find out...

Webroot SecureAnywhere 2012 - Review

If you think that bigger is better, think again. Webroot's all-new line-up of antivirus and Internet security software is based on an installation package with a tiny footprint that consumes just over half a megabyte (600 KB) of hard drive space. Yet Webroot SecureAnywhere 2012 outperforms nearly all of its much bigger competitors.

Three new Webroot packages are available: Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus (1 PC, $39.95), Webroot SecureAnywhere Essentials (up to 3 PCs, $59.95), and Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete (up to 3 PCs, $$79.95). Each comes with a 30-day trial period. They all use the same installation package; just enter the registration code for the product you purchase to obtain all of its features.

Webroot accomplished this seemingly magical feat by writing a new client app from scratch, and by putting the majority of its intelligence in the cloud. Last year, Webroot acquired cloud-based anti-malware developer Prevx, and bet the ranch on the newcomer's technology. The gamble seems to be paying off.
Webroot SecureAnywhere 2012 Anti-Virus

Compared to Webroot, most other security suites are gigantic disk-hogs that consume 50 to 200 MB of storage. BitDefender Antivirus 2012 takes up nearly a gigabyte! Much of that real estate goes to malware signature database files. SecureAnywhere 2012 also uses much less system memory (RAM) while running. Webroot typically uses less than 2MB of memory, while the major competitors consume a whopping 50 to 70 MB of RAM. Webroot's new model puts nearly all of those resource hogs in the cloud, so your PC can run other programs faster.

Installing the new Webroot software takes just a couple of minutes, and scans are preternaturally fast, too. An initial scan on an uninfected system takes just a couple of minutes. A badly infected machine may require up to 15 minutes, according to tests run by PC Magazine. According to Webroot's own published materials, the SecureAnywhere 2012 product scans almost 4 times faster than Norton. This comparison chart (http://www.webroot.com/En_US/consumer-products-secureanywhere-antivirus.html) shows how Webroot SecureAnywhere stacks up with major competitors such as AVG, ESET NOD32, Kaspersky, McAfee and Norton, when it comes to disk space, memory usage, and scan times.

How Effective is Webroot SecureAnywhere 2012 Against Malware?

One scan may not be good enough; traces of malware may be left behind. After running a scan, Webroot runs another scan to see if any traces are left behind, and keeps repeating scans until all traces of malware are gone.

In PC Mag's test, Webroot detected 94 per cent of malware on deliberately infected machines, beating all competitors. It also scored high marks for malware removal, and became the first security suite to block 100 per cent of malware attacks in PC Mag's testing history.

Webroot's full functionality is dependent on an Internet connection, which some might argue makes the whole paradigm vulnerable. But most malware attacks via the Internet, so when you're offline your risk of infection is drastically reduced. Webroot does have to store locally some of the major malware signatures, and automatically scans your machine when an Internet connection is established again.

Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus is included with all three packages. The Essentials package adds a firewall enhancer, privacy protection, secure browsing, and automatic remote file backup for up to 2 GB of data per user (in partnership with SugarSync). The Complete edition ups the SugarSync allowance to 10 GB per user, the LastPass password management service, anti-phishing features, and ID theft protection.

Webroot has taken the cloud-based security paradigm farther than any of its competitors. The result seems to be a highly effective security system that doesn't take over your entire hard drive. CNET gives Webroot SecureAnywhere 2012 an "Outstanding" rating, and PC World included it in their "Top 100 of 2011" list. The PC Magazine reviewer gushed that it was "The only perfect malware blocking score I've ever encountered in my years of testing." If you're thinking about a paid anti-virus software solution, give Webroot SecureAnywhere 2012 a test drive.

Have you tried Webroot SecureAnywhere? Feel free to post a comment with your opinion, questions about this topic, or suggestions for other security software you like...

 
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Most recent comments on "What's The Smallest, Fastest and Best AntiVirus?"

Posted by:

David
02 Jan 2012

Are there any equivalent packages that address this need in the MAC world?


Posted by:

denise
02 Jan 2012

What is the most light weight FREE antivirus?


Posted by:

slowtrucker
02 Jan 2012

I have used Webroot for years, and NEVER had any problems or infections since then........and just did a full scan in 55 seconds!


Posted by:

L.P.Daya
02 Jan 2012

Dear Bob---Happy New year.May your good work grow from strength to strength. I find all yor articles very interesting and informative.I am sure many readers of your articles are benefitting from the knowledge they are getting after reading your excellent e mails.I am only a beginner with the use of computer.I would appreciate some sites that would guide me to use scanning,attaching afile/document,sending a photo via a computer etc.
L.P.Daya


Posted by:

John
02 Jan 2012

I am using MSN Premium and on the tool bar is "Webroot" ... how serious is this program in compared to the "SecurenAnywhere"?


Posted by:

Chris
02 Jan 2012

Hi Bob,

Interesting article - I'll keep an eye out for this new kid on the block.

One thing about certain viruses: they block internet connections to AV websites from infected machines.

Unless Webroot finds a way round this, it will be of limited use in cleaning infected PCs.

Chris


Posted by:

JP
02 Jan 2012

So, what happens if you get one of the more recent bits of malware that shuts down your Internet connecting capabilities?


Posted by:

Dave ROBERTS
02 Jan 2012

An interesting article but I'm still looking for the answer. You quote a number of organisations and what THEY think of the software, but unless I'm mistaken, YOU don't give us an answer to your own question.
Given the enormous sizes of most hard drives (and the low prices should you need to buy one !) I don't think size makes any difference. How often have you worked on a computer and come up with the stumbling block being the SIZE of the Antivirus ?
I'm a pensioner and I'm definitely not a nerd, but I don't ever recall reading an article where the SIZE of the Antivirus was an issue.
And you don't give us much to show that SPEED makes this the best antivirus. How do I test this software against my existing Antivirus. There is nothing in this article that makes me want to change my Antivirus.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Not even the part about how it uses only a fraction of the RAM memory that others require? How about the bit about blocking 100 percent of malware attacks? Things can change fast in this arena, but as of today, I'm willing to say it's "the best" in terms of system resource usage, speed of scanning, and overall protection.


Posted by:

Jeff
02 Jan 2012

We have tried most Anti-virus/malware programs since Win 95 at one time or another and they have all failed or caused registry problems. If you believe the 3 big names are the best, thing again. We have home based internet businesses and spent too many down days trying to fix what we paid money to protect us from. The other programs left traces that continued to re-infest. Webroot is the very best. When Microsoft's paid service could not repair, Webroot worked. There is NO interfering as you work, no false positives, you don't even know it's working. It just works like nothing else ever has.
Thanks Bob, for getting the word out on Webroot.


Posted by:

Lauri G
02 Jan 2012

I've been using Webroot for a couple of years and recently upgraded to Webroot SecureAnywhere 2012. I love it! I got the three PC package and spent an additional $8.95 for a reinstallation CD.

A promotion special also got me a 30 minute "check-up" where a tech cleaned up some of my junk files and now my 6 year old Dell with Windows XP is lightning fast. Worth every penny - adios to the hog twins of McAfee and Norton!


Posted by:

TC
02 Jan 2012

I have tried Webroot Secure Anywhere on three computers for over six months running XP Home, XP Professional and Vista. It does seem to slow things down a bit, more so on older computers with less RAM (512 MB to 1GB) than newer PC's with 3 GB of RAM, naturally. However, when intentionally going to some dicey websites testing the program running concurrently with Microsoft Security Essentials, Microsoft detected and cleaned the malware without any response from the Webroot product. MSSE seems to be a better product and it doesn't slow down the system or interfere with other web applications as Webroot seems to do. Besides, MSSE is free. Since then, I only have Webroot running on the Vista PC and it definitely has slowed it down. On the other two PC's, I just run MSSE with the free version of Malwarebytes as a failsafe with no problems and faster system response, even when visiting those nasty websites. I used to swear by Webroot Spysweeper for years to clean infected PC's, but this new product at this point still has some rough edges. I don't trust it and I repair PC's.


Posted by:

Buffet
02 Jan 2012

Thanks for keeping everyone up on the latest and greatest (as usual). For now though, I believe I'll stick with my NOD32. It's tried and proven, and it's served me well.


Posted by:

chris
02 Jan 2012

I am concerned that this program requires a stable internet connection to work. I think I would consider keeping a freebie on my hard drive so I could 'safe start' if I crashed.


Posted by:

Patricia Castellano
03 Jan 2012

Hi Bob, I've just re-purchased AVG anti virus and then saw this. Is my AVG good? I've gotten it over a year ago and it was recommended here.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Both free and paid AVG versions are very good as well. If you've already purchased, I'd advise you to stick with it.


Posted by:

Kim Norwood-Koonce
03 Jan 2012

Hi Bob, Since I've been a Webroot customer for four years, I was introduced with the beta version of Webroot SecureAnywhere about five months prior. I loved it. It doesn't interfere with other applications and scans for malware automatically; this is a "cloud" based software. A green encircled letter "W" icon will appear at the bottom when scanning is in progress.


Posted by:

Saetana
03 Jan 2012

I have to agree with Dave ROBERTS, with modern (or even not quite so modern) computers the size of the program really isn't a consideration. Nor is speed, it is NOT speed that is important, it is how much of your PC's resouces the program is using if, like me, you usually scan whilst doing other things. I use a combination of MSE and Threatfire running in real-time and the free version of Malwarebytes for on-demand scanning, together with the current most secure browser (for Windows 7 users only) IE 9 and, aside from the fact not one of these progams cost me a penny, I haven't had any malware problems whatsoever in the 18 months I've had this PC, and I'm not the most careful person when I'm surfing the net. I can highly recommend Threatfire as a real-time backup (it will run alongside any traditional AV suite), its a behavioural heuristics scanner so far more likely than traditional AV to detect a "zero-day" attack. All my PC software is free (and legal), you do not have to pay to get decent software.


Posted by:

steven
03 Jan 2012

This article sounds like an ad for Webroot. I am using MSE along with malwarebytes and super antispyware and Combofix. I never hear anything about Combofix from either this site or Ask Leo.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm not on any company's payroll. Look around here, you'll find plenty of reviews, most of which point you in the direction of free software. But there are choices to be made, and I want my readers to be informed.


Posted by:

howard
03 Jan 2012

Sounds good, but too bad they want 40 bucks just for one PC. Sorry, but I'll stick with AVG Free. It might take up more space, but most PC's and laptops have 400, 500 and bigger hard drives so space isn't a big issue anymore. Free is always better, and the freeware works just as well as the paid versions. Besides, if you know anything about computers, you should have it pretty well locked down by now so viruses are not such a problem.......


Posted by:

Supun
03 Jan 2012

Hi,
Thanks for keeping us updated. However as someone has already mentioned I really don't think the size in the harddisk really does matter (specially in a PC) , if you are using a tab or a netbook with a samll SSD it's a whole differen't scenario. But the memory foot print is a really a valuble feature.


Posted by:

Nezzar
03 Jan 2012

Bob,
Thanks very much for this article. I have used the original Webroot since it was recommended to me by the Geek Squad at Best Buy two years ago and recently upgraded to Webroot SecureAnywhere. I have had no problems with viruses or malware (I do have the free MBAM installed,per your recommendation); and, the few times that I have had problems with the Webroot system itself, Webroot support was able to set me straight. I have been well satisfied with Webroot, but it was really nice to have you confirm the product.
Thanks so very much for keeping us novices up to date!
Nezzar


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