7 all-in-one security suites: Anti-malware for all your devices

We examine how the major security suites compare in terms of features, ease of use and which devices they actually protect.

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Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete

Webroot

Price: $51.99/1 yr., $129.99/2yrs. or $179.99/3 yrs.

Number of devices: 5

This suite combines a wide range of protection across Windows, OS X, Android and iOS devices, and adds some very useful extras, notably tools for juicing up Windows performance; it also has the best Web-based dashboard of the bunch. Its iOS protection is minimal, but aside from that, this suite is a winner.

Windows

Webroot has been slimmed down since its last iteration, making for a simpler interface, but also giving up some of its previous features. For example, gone is a nice little feature that used to tell you how much of the processor power the software uses.

WebRoot
Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete (Windows version)

Techies who love that sort of thing may not be as happy with this latest version of Webroot, but everyone else will. By taking away some of those less-than-central capabilities, the suite's interface and overall functioning have been made simpler.

The main screen is largely devoted to the suite's main purpose -- scanning for threats. You see the results of your most recent scan and can do a new scan by clicking a button. Off to the right are the other tools, including shields, identity protection and utilities. It's clean, simple and free of bloat.

Other important tools include a System Analyzer, which examines your hardware and software and finds out where you might have issues and bottlenecks. But although it does a good job of analysis, it doesn't help you solve the problems it finds. You'll have to figure out those fixes on your own.

OS X

The OS X version of the suite is nearly identical to the Windows version, with the same slimmed-down interface, although it lacks the identity protection features of the Windows suite. But it includes all the other features, including the malware scanner and various shields.

Mac users will be pleased with the System Analyzer because, as a general rule, there are fewer of these tools available for OS X than for Windows. In my case, it found a host of issues: I had too little RAM, my Time Machine backup wasn't turned on and there were a lot of temporary files, among other problems. As with the Windows version, though, it doesn't tell you how to solve the problems.

iOS

Webroot falls short here. The iOS module SecureWeb doesn't include any malware scanning -- all it does is protect you while you surf the Web, identifying malicious websites and phishing sites.

And SecureWeb doesn't integrate with the iOS browser; you use it instead of the browser built into iOS. It looks and works much like the iOS browser, except that it blocks you from potentially dangerous sites by warning you before visiting them. And you don't really get anything extra by buying the suite -- SecureWeb is also available outside of the suite as a free download.

Android

Webroot offers all the standard security tools you expect in a fully featured Android app, including malware scanning; locating, locking and wiping lost devices; and blocking websites that are known security risks.

WebRoot
WebRoot (Android version)

Where it really stands out, though, is its App Inspector, which is the best Android extra of all the suites reviewed here. App Inspector examines all the permissions required by your apps and categorizes potential problems with them: Apps that track your location, that access sensitive information, that access your messages and so on. You tap any category to see the list of all problematic apps, then tap any of the apps to see its permissions and for more information -- you can also uninstall the app.

There's also a Battery Monitor, which shows which apps use the most battery life, and a Network Monitor, which shows which apps access your network, and shows a great deal of detail for the exceedingly technically minded, such as the protocol used, and the local and remote IP addresses the app uses.

Dashboard

Webroot's Web dashboard is the only one that does more than just let you install software or give you a system snapshot.

Not only does it show you the state of security for each device, but you can take remote actions as well. For example, you can issue remote commands to a Windows PC that include scanning, running a system cleaner, shutting down the PC, restarting it and more. In addition, if you've got any potential security issues on any device, you'll be told on your dashboard. And you can also see the results of scans and other actions you take as well.

Bottom Line

With a superb Web dashboard, deep and customizable Windows protection and reliable Mac and Android protection, this suite will be a solid bet for many people. Its one shortcoming is no parental controls. And there's no iOS defense aside from protecting you when you surf the Web.

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