PC-cillin Internet Security 2004 review: PC-cillin Internet Security 2004

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.3
  • Setup and interface: 8.0
  • Features: 9.0
  • Performance: 8.0
  • Service and support: 8.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Includes a firewall and an antispam component to weed out junk mail; updated interface makes it easier to locate and configure program settings.

The Bad Nagging pop-up reminders for product registration and subscription services.

The Bottom Line PC-cillin 2004 includes a firewall and antispam tools--features not found in Norton AntiVirus 2004 or McAfee VirusScan 8.0.

CNET Editors' Choice Nov '03

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Review summary

Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 2004 isn't your average antivirus program. Sure, top-selling antivirus apps such as Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2004 (NAV) and McAfee VirusScan 8.0 (MVS) battle viruses, worms, and Trojan horses, but they charge extra for firewalls and antispam tools. Not so with PC-cillin 2004, a feature-packed virus buster that zaps spam, foils hacker intrusions, and detects spyware--all for about $50, the same price as its lesser-equipped brand-name competitors. Our only real complaint is that PC-cillin 2004 doesn't inform you up front when your signature files are out-of-date, something that both McAfee and Norton do. That aside, PC-cillin 2004 is an excellent value for the home and for small offices. Like any decent antivirus program, PC-cillin 2004 installs with minimal input from you. Its preinstallation scan checks only the most critical areas of the Windows operating system for viruses, and lasted 1 minute in our tests; Norton AntiVirus 2004, by comparison, does a more thorough scan and took 20 minutes. A thorough scan is more reassuring but not always necessary. Once setup is complete, PC-cillin automatically downloads the latest virus definitions and program updates.

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PC-cillin 2004's main screen is easy enough to navigate, but the interface should do more to inform you when virus definitions need updating.

According to Trend Micro, you can access almost all functions within PC-cillin 2004 with two mouse clicks or fewer. (For the record, it took us three clicks to start a viral signature update, but we're not complaining.) Plus, the firewall is considerably less intrusive than those bundled with competing antivirus programs, such as F-Secure Anti-Virus Client Security . For instance, PC-cillin's firewall automatically permits popular consumer online programs, including AOL and MSN, to access the Internet; F-Secure Anti-Virus Client Security, however, takes a less tolerant approach and requires you to approve Net privileges for any program. A rep for Trend Micro said that nontechnical users are often baffled by repeated firewall requests, and the company may have a point.

Yet the PC-cillin 2004 interface is almost too passive in other ways. For instance, the Norton, McAfee, and F-Secure main screens all use a series of color-coded icons, such as red check marks or yellow exclamation points, to indicate when virus definitions are out-of-date. PC-cillin, on the other hand, gives no indication that you should update definitions to avoid compromising your PC's security. We hope to see a more proactive approach in future editions of this antivirus utility.
PC-cillin Internet Security 2004 is what Norton AntiVirus 2004 and McAfee VirusScan 8.0 both strive to be: an all-around security solution for your desktop PC. Unlike Norton and McAfee, PC-cillin includes a personal firewall to fend off malicious intruders and antispam tools to battle junk mail. To be fair, both Norton and McAfee do offer firewalls and antispam tools, but you'll have to pay about $40 for each standalone app. PC-cillin is the first antivirus app to include both within its basic feature set.

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PC-cillin 2004 is one of the few antivirus programs in its price range to include a firewall.

When it comes to down-and-dirty virus busting, PC-cillin delivers the tools you need. Its real-time scanner checks all file downloads, inbound and outbound e-mail, and even attachments received from instant-messenger applets. PC-cillin cleans zipped files by default, which is important for inexperienced users, most of whom don't check their advanced antivirus settings to see which file extensions are scanned.

Like most antivirus programs, PC-cillin also integrates with Windows Explorer. Simply select a file within Explorer, right-click, and choose Scan Virus from the menu. We were less impressed with PC-cillin's own standalone Scan Files tool, however, which performs only drive- and folder-level scans.

PC-cillin virus definitions are free for one year, after which Trend Micro charges a $14.95 annual fee, on a par with what Norton and McAfee users pay.
In our CNET Labs tests, PC-cillin 2004 caused less drag on system performance than Norton AntiVirus 2004 but wasn't as efficient as McAfee's VirusScan 8.0 . Still, PC-cillin scanned our 1GB drive much faster than either McAfee and Norton. Here are our test results:

  Test system Trend Micro PC-cillin 2004 McAfee VirusScan 8.0 Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2004
SysMark2002 Internet-content-creation (ICC) score 233 227 234 223
Normalized score 100 97 100 96
Percentage of degradation N/A 3 0 4
Average boot time (seconds) 40.8 45 48.38 52.72
Scan 1GB directory; average scan time (minutes) N/A 2.48 4.75 3.59

In past &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Evirusbtn%2Ecom%2Fvb100%2Farchives%2Fproducts%2Exml%3Ftrend%2Exml">VirusBulletin tests, Trend Micro's PC-cillin has been tested on Windows systems six times since November 2001 and earned its coveted VB 100 percent title five times. By comparison, Norton AntiVirus has been tested on Windows systems six times since 2000 and passed each time; McAfee VirusScan has been tested and earned the coveted VB 100 percent title only once. Previous versions of PC-cillin have also been certified by the independent antivirus testing laboratories at &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Echeck%2Dmark%2Ecom%2Fcheckmark%2Fproducts%2Ehtml">West Coast Checkmark, &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eicsalabs%2Ecom%2Fhtml%2Fcommunities%2Fantivirus%2Fcertification%2Fcertprod%2Eshtml">ICSA Labs, and &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Eav%2Dtest%2Eorg%2Fdown%2Fspecial%2F2002%2D07%5Fmarket%2Den%2Exls">AV-test.org.

For more details on how we test antivirus apps, see the CNET Labs site.
PC-cillin 2004 beats its retail competitors in overall value largely because of its free telephone support, Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT for one year. Both Symantec and McAfee charge for phone help. Like Symantec, Trend Micro provides e-mail support with a 24- to 48-hour response time. Unlike McAfee, however, Trend doesn't offer online chats with tech personnel. But given the choice, we'll take a free phone call over chat any day. 

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Trend Micro's support site provides plenty of FAQs and tips for PC-cillin users, who also receive free phone support Monday through Friday.

The Help link on PC-cillin's main screen provides fast access to online assistance, including Trend Micro's support center, with the latest virus news, a knowledge base, FAQs, and updated viral definitions and program files. The site is well organized and easy to navigate.

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Where to Buy

PC-cillin Internet Security 2004

Part Number: PCCIWWEB0SCUPNNAA Released: Oct 27, 2003

MSRP: $49.95

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Oct 27, 2003
  • Category security applications
  • Compatibility PC