Sixteen realtime shields provide Spy Sweeper with continuous monitoring for just about any spyware. The Spy Communication Shield, for example, prevents access to websites hosting known spyware threats, and the Spy Installation Shield kills the install routines of any that should escape onto the PC.
This multilayered approach works well enough that when the Spy Installation Shield was fooled by a renamed installer file the threat was still blocked by other elements. Webroot makes an error in judgement by toggling Rootkit Sweeping off by default, though, warning that ‘sweeps take longer with this option, but are more thorough’. Other defaults are more sensible, with automatic updates of both definition and application firmly on. Spy Sweeper has the edge over Spyware Doctor (see below) in providing silent updating with minimal user involvement – essential to ensure systems remain protected.
A new Home screen provides all the at-a-glance information you need, while the simplified configuration options are a single click away and, courtesy of the excellent mouse-over help system, easy to understand. Clarity and simplicity are at the core of the Spy Sweeper interface revamp, with visual risk-level ratings, full threat descriptions and listings of related traces making the decision to quarantine or delete easier than ever.
But the improvements run deeper than this, with the number of pop-up alerts being reduced dramatically. Being able to pause or stop a scan without losing the ability to remove detected objects goes a long way in the usability stakes too. Compared to Spyware Doctor, even with ADS scanning on, Spy Sweeper is a slow performer. However, the user can balance scanning performance against CPU resource usage with a clever slider mechanism.
Backed up by the launch of Phileas V, a next-generation automated spyware research system that implements a multi-tiered bot network with deep packet sniffing to quickly discover new threats, Spy Sweeper performed as well as Spyware Doctor in the Labs by catching, removing and blocking all threats.
Overall, Spy Sweeper impressed us with its attention to detail, particularly with regard to the user interface. For this reason, it regains its place on the A-List.
This Review appeared in the December, 2006 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine
Source: Copyright © PC Pro, Dennis Publishing