You probably got here while searching something like “how to remove webroot”, perhaps because it started popping up in security dialogs.

Webroot is anti-virus software, and it’s popular with large companies since it installs onto multiple platforms.

Sadly, there’s something wrong with Webroot on MacOS, and that’s probably why you’re here. I’m writing this in Autumn 2019.

The webroot daemon is sucking your CPU and wrecking your performance.

Webroot High CPU usage

In my experience, Webroot hogs CPU constantly and runs down the battery. There are plenty of threads elsewhere on the internet, it seems like a lot of people are facing the same problem.

There have been speculations on forum threads that the issue may be related to Chrome, and Webroot’s web protection.

If open Activity Monitor and you find that a process called WSDaemon (Webroot) is constantly using a large percentage of your CPU, you’re having the same problem.

Webroot won’t uninstall.

Perhaps the webroot on your machine was installed by your company’s IT team. It may not give you the option to uninstall.

Looking for a workaround, you might try to uninstall Webroot by booting into safe mode and dragging the application into the trash. That’s what the support articles recommend.

On this Mac however, WSDaemon resurrected itself afterwards and got back to it’s old habits of burning up CPU cycles and refusing to die.

It’s frustrating to work on a laggy machine, and there are plenty of Google suggestions like webroot won't uninstall mac in the search results.

How to uninstall Webroot on a Mac

I found the command line uninstallation commands.

If you’re ready to completely remove Webroot SecureAnywhere from your Mac, paste the following commands into Terminal, which is a command line interface built into MacOS.

These came from an email that Webroot themselves sent to a user who was facing the same issue.

You can copy and paste them into terminal all at once, you don’t need to run them line by line.

launchctl unload /Library/LaunchDaemons/
kextunload /Library/Extensions/SecureAnywhere.kext
kextunload /System/Library/Extensions/SecureAnywhere.kext
rm /usr/local/bin/WSDaemon
rm /usr/local/bin/WFDaemon
killall -9 WSDaemon
killall -9 WFDaemon
killall -9 "Webroot SecureAnywhere"
rm -rf /Library/Extensions/SecureAnywhere.kext
rm -rf /System/Library/Extensions/SecureAnywhere.kext
rm -rf "/Applications/Webroot"
rm /Library/LaunchAgents/com.webroot.WRMacApp.plistSudo
rm /Library/LaunchDaemons/
rm ~/Library/Preferences/com.webroot.WSA.plist
rm ~/Library/Preferences/com.webroot.Webroot-SecureAnywhere.plist
rm -rf ~/Library/Application\ Support/Webroot
rm -rf /Library/Application\ Support/Webroot

If you see some permission denied errors, you might need to use sudo su before you try those commands.

Slaying the daemon

Once those commands have run, hopefully you have permanently killed the Webroot daemon and gotten your Mac back on track. Expect to see improvements to responsiveness, battery life and enjoy a quieter fan.

Unsolicited advice section

Ok, now for the unsolicited advice section. I’m not a security expert, just a developer, and I don’t work on security.

Do you need an anti-virus for MacOS?

I personally do not think that an off the shelf anti virus product is required to keep your Mac secure online. It depends on what you are doing of course, but for most users, the default MacOS security will keep you safe.

The newest release macOS Catalina seems to have taken security even more seriously, peppering the interface with security popups. The last thing I want to add is yet more security dialogs to my workflow.

Apple also seem to do a great job of pushing out security patches frequently.

So far, the majority of MacOS users have been safe from malware.

Ask your Mac friends if they have run into any trouble with ransomware or malware. I would wager most of them will say no. Except perhaps, the truly reckless users.

It seems to me that OS security is the responsibility of the OS vendor, and anti virus programs that claim to make improvements are always clunky and annoying.

When Malware causes a disaster

It is understandable that many organisations are happy to allocate a budget to “anti-virus” software if they feel that it does anything at all to reduce the risk of ransomware taking them out.

In 2018, a virus called WannaCry hit the computer system of the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK. It inflicted £92 million in damages.

In this case, however the NHS was running Windows XP.

There has been no similar disaster affecting MacOS.

Whether they do much to reduce the risk is up for debate.

In my opinion, if all you do is browse Facebook all day, you probably don’t need to pay for anti virus software. Just keep your OS and all of your software up to date.

If you are working in a very sensitive environment where all of the computers are networked together, and you are often opening attachments from people that you don’t know, you need to be more careful than the average user.

At the very least, you should think about the data that you can not afford to lose, and put some plan in place to back it up.