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Webroot Spy Sweeper 5.0

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At a Glance
  • Webroot Spy Sweeper 5.0 Beta

A beta version of Webroot's Spy Sweeper 5.0 earned a Best Buy distinction in our October 2006 issue's "Spyware Specialists" story. It produced the top score in performance tests and offers protection against rootkits and phishing Web sites.

In tests performed by, Spy Sweeper ranked first among the five products tested for "Spyware Specialists." It detected 90 percent of actively running adware and spyware samples and four of nine active rootkits. In disinfection tests, it cleaned up 40 percent of adware and 65 percent of spyware. In real-time detection tests, Spy Sweeper detected all additions to HKCU and HKLM Run keys (Registry keys targeted by many malware threats) and to Windows Startup and the Hosts file. It also detected all changes to the Hosts file and Internet Explorer Home and Search pages.

Spy Sweeper offers superior features including real-time analysis of phishing Web sites and full startup, scheduled, and custom scanning options. It also includes conveniences like CPU usage settings, which let you decide whether to do a fast system scan that takes priority over other work or a slower scan that's less intrusive. Another nice touch: Spy Sweeper adds itself to the Windows Explorer contextual menu for quick scanning of files and folders.

We do have one reservation: In the version 5.0 beta, Webroot removed Spy Sweeper's previous ability to set a system restore point, relying instead on the restorative features of its Quarantine, where you decide whether or not to remove questionable files found in scan results.

Narasu Rebbapragada

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At a Glance
  • Pros

    • Excellent spyware and adware detection
    • Smart antiphishing protection


    • Ability to set a system restore point is gone
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