Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 2005 review: Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 2005

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The Good Speedy scanning; includes a full-fledged firewall as well as spyware- and spam-blocking tools; free phone support.

The Bad No automated scan after installation.

The Bottom Line PC-cillin Internet Security 2005 delivers speedy virus scanning and a host of other Internet protection tools--all for the price of most antivirus-only programs alone.

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8.3 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 9
  • Performance 8
  • Support 8


Let's be clear: Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 2005 is the best Internet protection bundle currently on the market--period. It includes first-rate antivirus, firewall, antispam, and spyware-blocking tools, plus a host of extra security features--all for about $20 less than comparable products F-Secure Internet Security, ZoneAlarm Internet Security, McAfee Internet Security, and Symantec Internet Security. Better yet, PC-cillin's virus scanner is fast without overtaxing system resources, and its interface is orderly and easy to navigate. We also love Trend Micro's free phone support, a perk unmatched by any other consumer computer-security vendor. On the downside, PC-cillin's setup routine doesn't automatically scan for viruses, although you can run a manual scan once setup is complete. And its spyware detection is turned off by default, an annoyance that's easy enough to correct. These quibbles, though, are relatively minor. PC-cillin Internet Security 2005 is an excellent value and easily wins our CNET Editors' Choice. PC-cillin Internet Security 2005 offers two setup choices: a full install loads every protection tool on the CD, while a scaled-down option leaves out extras such as the firewall and the new Wi-Fi Intrusion Detection feature that alerts you when an intruder hacks into your wireless network. We'd prefer more installation choices. For instance, the firewall is essential, but Wi-Fi detection isn't much use to someone without a wireless LAN.

Setup took just 11 minutes--including a 2-minute preinstall scan--in our tests. The main reason for the speedy setup was that PC-cillin didn't run a postinstallation scan, which we ran manually. (Most antivirus programs also do a full-system scan immediately following installation, and we wish PC-cillin did also.) Including the manual scan, setup time totaled 30 minutes, still much shorter than with F-Secure Internet Security 2005 or Norton AntiVirus 2005, each of which took more than an hour to install. McAfee VirusScan 9.0 installs without prescanning your system and took only 5 minutes in our tests.

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PC-cillin Internet Security's Summary screen shows green check-mark icons when your security settings are safe.

The PC-cillin interface is intelligently organized and simple to browse. The main Summary screen provides a quick overview of your computer's protection level: green check-mark icons mean your antivirus, firewall, and other security settings are safe; red exclamation-point icons indicate trouble. A left-side column provides fast access to individual security components, including the e-mail scanner, firewall, and spyware detector. We do have one gripe, however. The spyware feature was turned off by default, forcing us delve into the settings to activate it. Furthermore, the Summary screen gave no indication that spyware detection was off; we discovered this for ourselves.

PC-cillin Internet Security 2005's core strengths include an aggressively low price, a generous assortment of security tools, and speedy, reliable virus scanning.
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Thanks to PC-cillin's organized interface, virus-scanner settings are a breeze to configure.

Spyware scans in PC-cillin operate two ways: either during virus scans or via a separate, spyware-only scan. PC-cillin wisely takes a cautious approach with spyware, a vague (if ominous) term used to describe everything from advertiser-supported software to malicious dialers that surreptitiously connect your PC to pay-per-call sites. When PC-cillin detects potential spyware, it gives you the option of deleting the program or going to Trend Micro's support site to learn more about it. We found that two of three "spyware" threats on our PC were, in fact, adware programs required to run free, ad-supported applications.

PC-cillin 2005 has added some new tools, including Home Network Control, a dialog box that lets you manage the security of all PCs on a home network via a single interface. This feature is easy to use but requires the $89.95 PC-cillin Internet Security 2005 Home Security Pack, which allows you to install PC-cillin on up to three PCs. The new Wi-Fi Intrusion Detection alerts you when a bandwidth thief (or other intruder) enters your wireless LAN and begins surfing your Internet access for free; you can lock out rogue surfers with the click of a button. And the new antiphishing software prevents naive users from surrendering personal and financial information to known rogue sites, by safeguarding personal data such as credit card and social security numbers.

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