Is Spybot any Good?
Spybot is available both as a free and a paid product. Sadly, Spybot Search and Destroy Free isn’t nearly as capable as the paid editions and comes with a limited set of features. And, while all the subscription plans are extremely affordable, malware detection rates leave a lot to be desired. Furthermore, there are several issues with performance, which makes it impossible for this software to compete with the leaders.
Pros and Cons
- Very friendly, easy to use
- Immunization is decent at blocking malicious websites
- The paid editions come with an impressive list of features
- Two Home, and two Business editions to choose from
- Anti-Beacon, System Registry Repair and Protected Repair Environment are very useful
- Regular automatic updates in the background
- Scans take a long time to complete
- The free edition is very limited
- Detection rates are well below average
- Some of the advanced tools aren’t very user-friendly (or useful)
- Performance issues even on modern devices
- Only available for the Windows OS||No antivirus protection with the Free edition
- Offers a long list of additional features
- The free version is limited but still useful
- Affordable, especially the entry-level package
- Compatible with Windows XP up to Windows 10
- Supports both 32- and 64-bit systems
- Users looking for free anti-spyware protection
- People in need of universal software against all online threats
- Owners of Windows 7-10 interested in an affordable protection suite
Spybot Reliability and Security
Usually, we always mention independent lab test results in our reviews and compare them to our own tests. However, during this Spybot review, we didn’t find any third-party tests on the Internet; so, we had to rely on our own results solely. Our team of experts used a folder full of malware samples to check this product’s real-time performance. Of all the planted samples, it managed to block 83%, which is a very disappointing result.
For blocking malicious URLs, Spybot Search and Destroy uses the immunization feature. This is a pro-active tool, meaning it protects the system by blocking access to websites that are known to be malicious. It’s also capable of blocking dangerous browser plugins and tracking cookies. Immunization is compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and even Explorer, and is doing a decent job of blocking phishing websites.
Next, we moved on to the Spybot Anti-Beacon review. This tool has only one task: to protect users from telemetry (which is when the OS spies on your activity). Windows is known to automatically install updates and new software, send personal info to its center, and more. Anti-Beacon proved to be an excellent “remedy” against all these issues, including personalized ads.
While the recommended system requirements aren’t very demanding, Spybot Search and Destroy will still have a negative impact on performance during a full scan. Compared to the most potent rivals, the strain on the CPU and the RAM is average. If you’re running this product on Windows 10 and have 8GB of RAM, you won’t even notice it working in the background.
Ease of Use
Spybot Search and Destroy combines malware protection and a list of tools for system optimization. During installation, Spybot Search and Destroy offers the user a choice. You can either let the program take care of most tasks automatically or take the reins in your hands.
It is effortless to switch between the two modes any time you want. Spybot asks to let it update the database, and it takes a long time to complete.
Overall, the user interface is very friendly and intuitive. The menus and buttons do look a bit outdated, though, especially compared to the likes of Malwarebytes and Sophos.
Other than that, everything is always within reach. During our Spybot Search and Destroy review, we learned that it has a habit of restarting the computer once it is updated. So, make sure all your current documents are saved!
When it comes to the scanning options, you get the usual quick, deep, and scheduled scans. And, you can hand-pick which files, folders, and apps should be checked. The bad news is – full scans take very long to complete, which makes Spybot Search and Destroy lag behind the competition. The good news is – these scans are in-depth and do their job right.
Spybot Packages and Pricing
Spybot basic package can be downloaded for free. Besides, the provider offers two paid packages for home and to options for business.
Spybot Search and Destroy Free edition
The free package offers a basic set of tools for malware protection.
You get the following features:
- Anti-Spyware (protection against keyloggers, adware, and tracking software; implements the company’s unique technology).
- Anti-Virus (protects against all known types of malware).
- System Immunization (blocks access to malicious websites; also protects against cookies and malicious browser plugins).
- Startup Tools (a more sophisticated version of the standard Windows feature for configuring system startup).
- Rootkit Scan (checks the registry, file system, and other “deep dark” places to find and eliminate rootkits).
Overall, even though Spybot will detect and eliminate most threats, the lack of real-time protection puts it next to the free antimalware tools such as Malwarebytes. Any decent antivirus should constantly monitor the system for potential threats. With Spybot, you’ll have to go for one of the paid editions to get this kind of protection.
Spybot Search and Destroy Home
This is the basic paid package. Protecting one device will only cost you $15.99. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use, simple, yet relatively effective subscription plan, Home might be the best choice for you as the best pay antivirus. With it, you’ll get the same malware and virus protection as with the most expensive tiers. The available features are as follows:
- Live Protection (real-time protection; constantly monitors the system, checking every single active process).
- Auto Signature Updates (this feature automatically gets new updates from the official server).
- Scheduling (can be used to schedule system scans, updates, and more).
- PRE (Protected Repair Environment, Spybot’s version of a sandbox).
Spybot Search and Destroy Professional
The second tier is the most popular one, as it’s more feature-packed than Home and still comes at a relatively affordable price-tag – $27.99 for 1 device. If you’re an experienced user and need all the additional tools, you’ll be pleased by what this package has to offer:
- Anti-Beacon (Spybot’s exclusive anti-telemetry tool, excellent at making sure your private data stays private)
- SRR (System Registry Repair, a registry cleanup, and repair tool, quite good at boosting OS performance; can both repair and delete broken entries)
- Priority Support (the name says it all: the support agents will prioritize you)
- Secure Shredder (use this tool if you need to completely get rid of a file(s) or folder(s))
- Script Editor (this one is for the pros; if you’re a regular user, it would be best to leave SE alone)
- Command Line Tools (allows the administrator to control the system without user interaction)
- Boot CD Creation (with a Boot CD, you’ll be able to launch the system and eliminate most types of malware safely)
Spybot Additional Features
Spybot Identity Monitor
As the name suggests, this service was developed to alert users whenever their data is in danger. The Identity Monitor works in real-time, 24/7, and keeps tabs on the hackers trying to steal sensitive data. It’s safe to say that you’ve got accounts on numerous websites. And, when creating them, you’ve shared an address, birth date, and maybe even credit card number.
For cybercriminals, it’s not very hard to get their hands on weakly-protected accounts. The best thing you can do when Spybot’s tool warns you of a security breach is to change the password. And don’t forget to do the same with accounts that aren’t in imminent danger but share a password/login with the one that is. Two-factor identification will also help improve security.
Spybot File Analyzer
To better understand the contents of a file, the File Analyzer is an excellent tool. Standard content, a hex viewer, and customized displays allow users to dig deeper into complex archives. With the File Analyzer, you can even pick the correct attributes and write exclusive malware file signatures. However, this feature is only for the pros, and you shouldn’t use it unless you’re a specialist.
Alternate data streams, anomalies, archives, databases, hashes, file bitmaps, images, and prefetch files – that’s just some of the stuff that Spybot’s Analyzer can access. It is only available on the Windows OS but is compatible not only with Win 10, but also 8.1, 8. 7, and XP. That is a free service and can be downloaded and installed separately from the Spybot antivirus packages.
Support is one of the least impressive features of Spybot Search and Destroy. There’s no Live Chat, and no phone support, which is strange to see in 2020. The only way to get in contact with the support agents is to send a message through the ticketing system. If you’re looking for priority support, you’ll have to go with Professional package.
There’s also a FAQ section available on the official website. It’s pretty decent and will be helpful for users that prefer to solve problems on their own, without getting in touch with an agent. The forum isn’t particularly useful, though, as you’ll have a hard time finding an answer to a question at hand.
Alternatives to Spybot
Overall, we don’t recommend you to entrust your security to Spybot. It offers an impressive line-up of features at an affordable price, but its detection rates and CPU load are below the industry average.
If you are in the market for something affordable and still reliable, take a closer look at Bullguard or TotalAV. After all, even Avast free edition will do better than Spybot as it offers real-time protection and boasts high detection rates.
Looking for good alternatives to Spybot? We can help you: