Automation, partnerships drive Webroot revamp

Best known for Spy Sweeper, Webroot introduces the new Internet Security Complete 2011 in an attempt to offer comprehensive security that includes password management, file synchronization, and identity protection along with modern threat protection.

Security suite maker Webroot, best known for its Spy Sweeper program, on Monday finally released the long-delayed upgrades to to its PC security programs, updating its line in a bid to make it more competitive and relevant in an increasingly crowded security field. Webroot also introduced a new program, Internet Security Complete 2011, which provides tools that go far beyond basic threat detection and removal.

Webroot Internet Security Complete 2011 offers password management and file syncing alongside threat protection.

Webroot Internet Security Complete 2011 offers password management and file syncing alongside threat protection.

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

The programs offer multiple levels of protection. The simplest is Webroot Spy Sweeper, which focuses on spyware detection and removal. Webroot AntiVirus with Spy Sweeper is analogous to basic programs like Norton Antivirus and combines Spy Sweeper's engine with antivirus detection and removal licensed from Sophos. Webroot Internet Security Essentials 2011 offers a nearly identical suite of features to Internet Security Complete 2011, incorporating antivirus tools, the Spy Sweeper engine, two-way firewall, spam and phishing guards, file storage and sharing from SugarSync, and system cleanup tools ported in from Webroot Window Washer, their separate browsing tracks removal tool.

Internet Security Essentials differs from Internet Security Complete in that Complete comes with password management licensed from LastPass, multiple identity theft protections such as encrypting banking information and credit card monitoring, and Complete comes with 10 GB of online data storage compared with Essentials' 2 GB.

Although security vendors have licensed various components from other software makers in the past, Webroot's approach here feels more seamless than many others. Changes have been made to the interfaces of each so that they feel like a natural part of the original Webroot code. Internet Security Complete 2011 appears to occupy a unique space in the feature-rich security suite landscape, with the combination of password manager, file sharing tool and synchronization along with file backup, and modern security that works from both virus definition files and cloud-based protection.

Webroot has also introduced a level of automation to the revamped programs, so user input isn't necessary to ensure that threat detecting updates are added to the program. This brings Webroot's suite up to parity with many of its competitors.

Webroot Window Washer 2011 and Webroot Spy Sweeper are $29.95 each for a one-computer license for one year. Webroot AntiVirus with Spy Sweeper 2011 is $39.95 for a year-long one-computer license. Webroot Internet Security Essentials 2011 is $59.95 for a three-computer license over one year, which includes 2 GB of online storage. Webroot Internet Security Complete 2011 is $79.95 for a three-computer license over one year, which includes 10 GB of online storage. Users can purchase additional online storage from within the program.

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