Is Webroot using heuristic protection on both Mac and Android like it's windows counterpart?

  • 24 August 2015
  • 7 replies

I'm trying to make sure that I'm protected properly on my android and mac devices but I'm having a really hard time finding test data that says these programs do what they say they are doing.  Does anyone have any links to test data showing this program on Mac/Android?

Best answer by Wanderingbug 29 August 2015, 19:25

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Userlevel 7
What kind of test data are you looking for?  The mac client runs differently than that of the PC client for a number of different reasons.  The biggest difference would be the way that the programs execute themselves on the different systems.  The mac system does not need a file to execute like the pc counter part, instead it can read the binary code of the executibles to make a determination.  This is a way for us to classify a file without having to sandbox it first.  Please feel free to reach out to me with any mac questions that you may have and I will be happy to assist.
Well to put it more clearly (just read the post I did and it was way to vague, sorry about that) I'm more concerned because Webroot has been crashing on all of my devices.  My two Mac computers, both of my Android phones, and both of my android tablets seem to have issues with Webroot crashing for seemingly no reason.  It makes me really apprehensive to rely on the program for security.  So I was looking for some hard tests and/or data that shows not only that Webroot is better than most for Mac and Android, but exactly why it's better to help me feel better about my decision to stick with Webroot for security.  I came from Sophos free antivirus for Mac but I can't find any side by side comparisons aside from AV-Test which, to my understanding, doesn't play well with Webroot due to the way Webroot stops infections.  I love the performance difference between Webroot and Sophos but I need to be able to "set it and forget it" as the saying goes.  I guess I can start with just a basic question.  What, aside from performance, does Webroot do on Android and Mac specifically that's different from the competition to keep these devices safe and are there any independent tests that back their effectiveness?
Userlevel 7
The biggest differece is going to be our detection methods.  I work on mac threat research so this is the area that I help build myself.  We use a number of different dectections that all build together to files/malware better than other companies.  Most companies rely on a md5 detection method, while we use this as well we also use many other forms of detections.  Our Mac product also uses our cloud technology to scan for possible infected windows files on your mac.  AV tests dont really show consumers how good a program works.  In AV tests all of the malware files have been placed on the desktop in a file together and the executible has been removed.  This idea works great for md5 or biniary detections but in the real world this isnt how customers get infected.  We use methods that grab those files but make sure that we are blocking files we havent seen by looking at the way malware familys install and interact with the operating system.  This allows us to kill files that we may not have the md5 for but we know what it is based on the patterns that it follows.  We have also built internet sniffers that I leave running all day everyday at my office that looks for any new varients of mac malware that may be hitting the internet. I cant speak on behalf of the Android dectections becuase it is not in my field but I do know that we run on the same system for threat detections so I am sure that it is pretty close.  Please feel free to reach out to me with any other questions.
Userlevel 7
Thanks, Devin, for a most interesting expose on this topic. I am not a Mac user but was interested to read it and learn more.
Regards, Baldrick
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Badge +62
Thank you Devin for explaining this! Very interesting and informative!
That makes a lot of sense. Thank you so much for explaining this to me in a way that was more than satisfactory. I really appreciate it. If you don't mind I do have two more questions I'd like to ask about Webroot Mac.  My version of it on both of my computers likes to crash intermittently. The only real correlation I've been able to find between the incidents that I've had is that it seems to crash whenever...
You do something different what your usual behavior ex. All automated tasks work fine but if I try to run a scan after the program has been sitting for awhile it tends to just crash instead.
Just when you open the app or run anything from the top right drop down menu. 
I tried a reinstall and I even allowed it to control my system in system preferences but the random issues still occur. 
The other question is more basic.  One of my computers that has Webroot Mac installed is an unattended system. Is there a way for me to tell Webroot to just clean or delete any bad files it comes across without asking or to notify me via email when it has detected something?  
Userlevel 7
If your system is crashing a good bit then it sounds like it transferring corrupted files over from the last install.  I would recommend calling into support as we have some terminal commands that we can run to fully remove all settings and preferances of past versions so that it will be a clean slate to work on.  Unfortunatly we cant give those out to the public becuase of security issuses.