Webroot SecureAnywhere Mobile Premier Review

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Pros: Clean, easy to navigate interface; Excellent privacy protection features; App inspector

Cons: Too easy to uninstall; Needs White List option; No data backup

Verdict: Webroot's SecureAnywhere Mobile Premier offers great anti-virus and privacy features for Android devices at a decent price.

Webroot has a history of offering products with a clean, easy to use interface and top-notch privacy protection features, and the company's SecureAnywhere Mobile Premier is no exception. The app, which costs $19 per year for a single device, offers robust security features including remote device tracking, locking and data wiping, as well as call and message blocking. But for a mobile security app to stand out, it has to offer more than just privacy protection and a nice-looking interface. Read on to find out if SecureAnywhere is a must-have app.

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Setup & Interface

Setting up SecureAnywhere was quick and painless. We simply downloaded the app to our Droid Bionic, created a Webroot account for use with the app's Web console and installed the app. When the installation was complete, the app prompted us to perform a full system scan and enable the Lost Device Prevention feature.

SecureAnywhere sports the slickest interface we've seen on a mobile security app. The homescreen offers a single status message that tells users if their phone is protected or in danger of infection. At the bottom of the screen, you'll find tabs for the SecureAnywhere's Security, Identity & Privacy and Help features. Tap your device's menu button and you'll launch the app's General Settings, Change Password, Register and About tabs.

Detection & Virus Scanning

SecureAnywhere's scanner is broken down into five separate customizable "shields": Install Shield, File System Shield, Execution Shield, Unknown Sources Shield and USB Debugging Shield. Each of the shields are activated by different triggers and scan a particular part of your device.

The Install Shield, for instance, will scan any new apps that are installed on your handset, while the Execution Shield will only scan apps that you attempt to run on your device. Unlike Lookout Mobile Security or Kaspersky Mobile Security 9, however, SecureAnywhere doesn't provide users with any useful information about the particular threat.

When SecureAnywhere detects a piece of malware, a screen will pop up telling you about the threat and offering you the option to delete or ignore it. We downloaded the EICAR app from the Android Market and, as expected, SecureAnywhere detected it as soon as we installed it on our device.

In addition to the scan shields, users can also customize how often SecureAnywhere scans for viruses and when it updates its virus definitions. You can also view quarantined malware and choose to restore or permanently delete it. SecureAnywhere also includes a Secure Web Browsing feature that automatically blocks websites known for spreading malware. If you know the site is safe, though, you can always force the site to load.

Performance Impact

SecureAnywhere had little to no impact on our Bionic's system performance. Without the software installed, our Bionic scored 53.3 on the Linpak benchmark test. With SecureAnywhere installed, the Bionic scored a 53.4. When we ran the test during a full system scan, the Bionic's score dropped slightly to 52.6.

In our anecdotal testing, we were unable to detect any major system slowdown while running a full system scan on our Bionic. We did, however, notice a bit of hesitation when opening the Web browser with SecureAnywhere's Secure Web Browser feature turned on.

Anti-Theft & Data Protection

SecureAnywhere Mobile Premier includes several anti-theft and privacy features, including Lost Device Protection, Call & SMS Blocking and an App Inspector. Lost Device Protection, as its name implies, offers users the ability to locate, lock or wipe their device if it's lost or stolen.

Like Kaspersky Mobile Security 9 and McAfee Mobile Security, SecureAnywhere lets users take control of their device through SMS messages. For example, send your lost device a text message containing the phrase Wipe followed by your password, and you'll remotely wipe your personal information from your device. We sent our Bionic the Lock command, and within seconds the device was locked up tight. Similar commands can be used to locate and make your device scream.

However, SecureAnywhere's Web interface doesn't offer the kind of usability that McAfee Mobile Security or Lookout Mobile Security's Web consoles provide. We were able to use the Web console to locate our device, lock it, wipe it and send it an SMS message, but we could not adjust our security settings as we could with Lookout's offering. SecureAnywhere also doesn't include any data backup features, which is offered by both Lookout and McAfee.

SecureAnywhere's Call & SMS blocking feature lets users block all unknown numbers, or specific contacts, as well as potentially malicious SMS messages. Calls received from blocked numbers are automatically sent to voicemail, while SMS messages are simply blocked. Each time a call or SMS is blocked, Webroot will send you a notification. Unfortunately, the app does not include a white list feature.

As with Lookout Mobile Security, SecureAnywhere includes an App Inspector that will search your device for apps and tell you if they are a potential security concern based on their capabilities, such as whether they can access your SMS and MMS messages, your account information, or make phone calls. App Inspector also includes a battery monito, which tells you how much battery power a particular app uses, as well as a network monitor that provides users with information about their apps' network usage.

Ultimately, however, privacy protection and device tracking are useless if they can be easily removed, and that's the biggest problem facing SecureAnywhere. Deleting the software is as simple as entering your phone's app manager and uninstalling it like any other program.

Premium vs. Trial

The free version of SecureAnywhere includes anti-virus, Device Lock, Device Scream and Device Locate features. That's a lot of options for protecting your device and your personal data. But SecureAnywhere's best feature, its App Inspector, is only available with the paid version, along with SIM card lock, Settings Audit and Device Wipe.

Verdict

Webroot's SecureAnywhere Mobile Premier is a very good security app that's light on resources and heavy on features. At $19, it's $10 less expensive than McAfee Mobile Security and Lookout Mobile Security, making it all the more attractive. Still, we'd rather pony up the extra money for what those apps offer, namely, greater control via the Web interface as well as data backup. But, like its software for PCs, Webroot's app has a comprehensive set of security features at a reasonable price.

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Author Bio
Dan Howley
Dan Howley, Senior Writer
A newspaper man at heart, Dan Howley wrote for Greater Media Newspapers before joining Laptopmag.com. He also served as a news editor with ALM Media's Law Technology News, and he holds a B.A. in English from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
Dan Howley, Senior Writer on
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Laptop Mag & Tom's Hardware
Platforms iOS
Platforms Android
Company Website http://www.webroot.com