Trend Micro Internet Security – Trend Micro Internet Security 2016

The mix of components that go into a security suite varies from company to company—that’s what keeps a reviewer’s job interesting! Trend Micro Internet Security skips the firewall component, opting to let Windows handle that job, but adds some unusual bonuses including active ransomware protection and a social media privacy scanner. Yes, its parental control system is weak, but not everyone needs that component. Overall, it’s an excellent suite.

Trend Micro Internet Security lists for $79.95 per year for three licenses, roughly the same as Bitdefender, ESET Internet Security, and Kaspersky. McAfee’s entry-level suite now goes for $89.95 per year, but that subscription gets you unlimited cross-platform licenses. Note that you can use your Trend Micro licenses to install the suite on a PC or antivirus protection on a Mac.

A big, round Scan button dominates the center of Trend Micro’s unusual main window, while four icons across the top represent four security areas: Device, Privacy, Data, and Family. Except for the product name at top left, it looks just like Trend Micro’s basic antivirus. The numerous suite-specific features appear on the pages associated with each of the four icons.

Shared Antivirus Abilities

For a thorough understanding of this suite, you should start by reading my review of Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security. Everything in that product is also a part of this suite. No time? Check the summary that follows.

Lab Test Results Chart

Malware Protection Results Chart

Phishing Protection Results Chart

Trend Micro’s antivirus lab results run the gamut. Like many products, it failed both tests performed by MRG-Effitas, but it aced the three-part test conducted by AV-Test Institute. Scores from AV-Comparatives ranged from just-passing Standard certification to top-of-the-line Advanced+.

The aggregate lab score for the antivirus came to 8.1 points, out of a possible 10, which is on the low side. At the top you’ll find Kaspersky Internet Security with 10 points and Bitdefender with 9.6—both tested by all four of the labs that I follow.

In my hands-on malware blocking test, Trend Micro detected 89 percent of the samples and scored 8.4 points. McAfee made an excellent showing in this test, with 9.5 points. Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Plus

Symantec Norton Security Premium, with 98 percent, is the only recent product with a better score.

That same ability to detect bad sites brought Trend Micro a great score in my antiphishing test. Scores vary wildly in this test. One product in five can’t even beat the phishing protection built into Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. At the high end, a scant few outscore long-time antiphishing maven Norton. Trend Micro’s detection rate was just 2 percentage points less than Norton’s, which is quite good.

Other Shared Features

This product’s ransomware protection features protect your files in several ways. Its Folder Shield component prevents unauthorized changes to: files in your personal folders; files in folders representing online cloud storage services such as Google, OneDrive, and DropBox; and files on USB drives. It detects ransomware behavior, aiming to block any attacks that get past the main antivirus. And it maintains a secure backup of protected files. Its one weakness is that it can only protect one user’s files.

The new Mute Mode aims to prevent security interruptions when you’re busy working (or gaming). You turn it on manually when needed. It doesn’t kick in automatically for full-screen programs the way many others do. In this mode it suppresses noncritical notifications and scheduled scans. A Mute Mode session ends after two hours, by default. You can change the timeout, and of course you can turn it off manually.

In addition to keeping your browser away from fraudulent or dangerous websites, the Trend Micro Toolbar also marks up links in Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge. By default, it checks links on social media sites, webmail sites, and search portals, marking them with green, yellow, or red icons. You can optionally set it to rate any link that you point to with the mouse.

This suite doesn’t include a firewall, but it offers the same firewall booster functionality found in the antivirus. This feature aims to detect and prevent attacks by botnets and other network threats, and also warns when you connect to an insecure wireless network.

Trend Micro’s spam filter works only with Microsoft Outlook; those using a different email client can’t use it. It’s configured correctly out of the box; you don’t need to tweak its settings, except perhaps to import your contacts into the whitelist. It also filters both POP3 and Exchange email accounts.

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Protect More Devices, Including Macs

After you’ve used the suite for a while, it pops up a reminder that you can protect more devices using your available licenses. You can also click Protect Another Device on the main window at any time.

It’s most cost-effective to use your licenses for installing the suite on other Windows boxes. However, if you have licenses to spare, you can protect your macOS devices with Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac

parental control software; even if you’re a parent, you may not want it. In that case, just leave it disabled. When you enable it, you must define a password, to keep the kids from turning it off. After that, you configure it either for the whole computer or separately for each child’s Windows account. If you choose per-user configuration, you can add a nickname and photo to each profile.

Content filtering keeps kids away from inappropriate sites in over 30 categories, organized into four groups. Selecting one of three age ranges sets the initial configuration, but naturally you can choose your own collection of categories for blocking. A child who hits a bad site receives a warning identifying the reason the site was blocked. Filtering happens below the browser level, but when I tested with a hand-coded browser, the warning pages came out jumbled and mostly blank.

Do be sure to block the Hacking / Proxy Avoidance category. Otherwise, a clever teen could effectively disable the content filter by connecting through a secure anonymizing proxy. Trend Micro does filter HTTPS websites, so it can block such sites when it recognizes them. In testing, I did find a few proxy sites that the filter missed, which is not good. Unlike my recent test of parental control in McAfee Internet Security, however, I did not find any porn sites that got past the filter.

The content filter in Bitdefender Internet Security and Kaspersky goes beyond a simple database of sites and categories. It actually checks page content, so, for example, it can allow access to a short-story site but block erotic stories. Trend Micro doesn’t do that, and when I checked a couple short-story sites I found that it allowed everything, including some seriously adult stories.

The parental control system doesn’t attempt to force Safe Search, a difficult task now that most search portals use a secure HTTPS connection by default. However, in an unusual move it covers up pornographic images in search results. Or rather, it tries. I hit a few snags with this feature.

I used Google’s Image Search to seek pictures of naked women. Initially, all the pictures showed up, briefly. It took a few seconds for Trend Micro to cover up the naughty ones—or most of them, at least. Trend Micro missed some, and of course some weren’t actually naughty. Resizing the browser window temporarily revealed some of the covered images. In addition, I found that after clicking one of those missed images, I could use the left and right arrows to scroll through all the rest, with no blocking. Nice idea, but its implementation needs work.

Trend Micro Internet Security Image Blocking

What the kids do on the internet is one concern for parents; when and how much they use it is another. Trend Micro lets parents set a daily maximum for weekdays and weekends. You can also use a grid to define a weekly schedule of just when online access is permitted, or simply set a span of allowed time for weekdays and for weekends.

Don’t want your kids playing games during the homework hour? You can set Trend Micro to block use of any program during specific times, or just block it all the time. Your kids won’t evade this function by copying, moving, or renaming the blocked program.

Parents can view a simple report listing the most blocked categories and websites, or click for more detail. The detailed report lists every blocked site, the date and time it was blocked, and the user account involved.

The parental control system is easy to use, but it lacks advanced features, and it exhibited some problems in testing. If you want a suite that includes parental control, consider Bitdefender, Kaspersky, or Norton. You might also consider a dedicated standalone parental control utility such as ContentWatch Net Nanny or Kaspersky Safe Kids.

Bonus Features

If you enable Data Theft Prevention on the Privacy page, Trend Micro will protect your personal data from theft by spyware or accidental disclosure by kids. You define a password to lock down settings, if you haven’t already done so for parental control.

You enter as many personal data items as you wish. The program suggests storing a portion of your credit card number, or part of your home address. Trend Micro stores your data in encrypted form and never displays it; if you want to edit an item, you must delete it and add it again. With this feature active, your kids can’t overshare via email or instant message, and can’t enter personal data on websites that don’t use HTTPS.

It’s smart to protect your most sensitive documents using encryption, but the plain-text originals can be a security risk. Even if you delete them and then empty the Recycle Bin, their data remains on disk, accessible by forensic data recovery tools. Trend Micro can help. Click the Data icon on the main window and enable Secure Erase. Now you can right-click any file or folder and have Trend Micro overwrite its data before erasure, which is enough to foil most forensic recovery software. If there’s a chance some three-letter agency might seize your computer and go over it with hardware-based forensic recovery tools, you can switch it from Quick Erase to Permanent Erase. Now the utility overwrites data seven times with various bit patterns. It takes longer, but it really is permanent.

On the Data page, you’ll also find a button to launch a free trial of Trend Micro Password Manager, but I wouldn’t bother. The best password managers outperform this very basic tool—even some that are free.

Tiny Performance Hit

Modern security suites don’t hog resources or slow down your daily activities, for the most part, but there’s still some variation in the results of my hands-on performance tests. Trend Micro’s test scores are among the best for current products.

I averaged multiple runs of my boot-time test before and after installing this suite. Like Kaspersky and a few others, Trend Micro had no measurable impact on this test. A lengthy script that repeatedly zips and unzips a large collection of files ran just 1 percent slower with Trend Micro installed.

Performance Results Chart

Real-time antivirus protection checks for malware on certain types of file access, which could conceivably put a drag on common file manipulation tasks. To check that possibility, I use a script that moves and copies a varied collection of files between drives. This test took 9 percent longer under Trend Micro’s scrutiny, better than the current average of 14 percent.

Averaging the three performance scores yields an overall impact score of 4 percent, which is excellent. BullGuard Internet Security

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