Webroot is perhaps most well known for its best-of-breed anti-spyware tool, Spy Sweeper. Webroot Internet Security Essentials - or WISE - builds on the strengths of this by adding anti-virus, firewall and automatic backup, to create a security bundle.

These aren't in-house add-ons - the anti-virus comes courtesy of Sophos, the firewall from PWI PrivateFirewall and the backup from the well-regarded SOS Backup Online.

The WISE bundle covers most security angles but anti-spam, personal information and parental controls are absent. Given the suite's name, these must be considered non-essential, presumably!

However, the package's simplicity doesn't make WISE fleet of foot. Not only is installation relatively slow but you'll notice longer boot times once WISE is installed.

WISE's user interface, which uses muted autumnal colours, is based in that found in Spy Sweeper. The core of WISE rests on over a dozen 'shields', each one designed to detect and prevent specific types of malware.

The spyware side of WISE achieves the usual high Webroot standard, as does the AV side, scoring goods results with the independent testing labs such as ICSA and West Coast Labs and obtaining four VB100 scores out of the past five Virus Bulletin tests.

As well as offering a full range of protection WISE also incorporates a gamer mode to ensure you can play games uninterrupted. However this appears to turn off some protection rather than just the irritating pop-ups. Scanning is also a tad slow. Apart from this, we have no real complaints on the malware side.

The firewall didn't disappoint, successfully ‘stealthing' the first 1056 ports according to the GRC ShieldsUp! test. The firewall learns your Internet usage over a definable period but this initially allows access for all programs, even the bad ones.

WISE's backup lets you backup either locally or online: you get 2GB of online backup space and extra capacity can be bought. Even with fast broadband the initial backup was painfully slow, which is only to be expected.

However, subsequent backups are much faster because only changes to existing files are backed up. You can access your backed-up files from any Internet connected PC, which could prove handy in a scrape.

OUR VERDICT

Webroot Internet Security Essentials needs a few tweaks – and better malware detection – to be worth serious consideration. WISE is the proverbial curate’s egg and suffers from appearing to be a suite cobbled together from various components. Overall, an unbalanced security suite.