Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 2005 review: Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 2005
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.
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.
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.
In CNET Labs tests, Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security 2005 produced zero system performance drag, equaling EZ Antivirus 2005 in this regard. And PC-cillin also took much less time to scan our 1.3GB hard drive than did F-Secure, Norton, or McAfee.
To measure F-Secure's impact on system performance, CNET Labs used BAPCo's SysMark 2002, an industry-standard benchmark. The Internet-content-creation portion of SysMark measures a desktop's performance running off-the-shelf applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Windows Media Encoder, and Macromedia Dreamweaver. (We did not run the Office Productivity portion of the benchmark because it incorporates McAfee VirusScan 5.13.)
Our test system was a Dell Dimension 8200 running Windows XP Professional, with an Intel Pentium 4 1.9GHz processor and 256MB of RDRAM. With PC-cillin running, our test system scored a perfect 100, meaning there was a no reduction in overall system speed. Only one other antivirus product, EZ Antivirus 2005, also scored a perfect 100. By comparison, F-Secure Internet Security 2005 scored a 95, or a 5 percent reduction, while Norton AntiVirus 2005 and McAfee VirusScan 9.0 each scored a 94, or a 6 percent reduction. (An Internet-content-creation score of 100 represents the performance of our test system without any extraneous software running.) In a test of scanning speed, PC-cillin averaged a speedy 2.4 minutes, again rivaled in speed by only EZ Antivirus 2005.
In past VirusBulletin tests since November 2000, the Windows desktop version of PC-cillin has been tested 6 times and has passed 5. By comparison, over the same period, Norton AntiVirus has been tested 10 times and earned the coveted VB 100 percent title each time. Norton AntiVirus is one of the few products we test that consistently wins the VB 100 percent award. Previous versions of PC-cillin have also been certified by the independent antivirus testing laboratories at West Coast Checkmark, ICSA Labs, and Checkvir.com.
In informal testing, PC-cillin's firewall received a thumbs-up from ShieldsUp, the Gibson Research Corporation site that tests a PC's protection against unwanted intrusions via the Net. PC-cillin protected our test computer's data during the test. In comparison, VirusScan no longer includes a firewall, and Norton AntiVirus, which never included a firewall, comes instead with a limited port-blocking technology that proved not as secure as a full-strength firewall in ShieldsUp testing.Trend Micro delivers what the rest of the antivirus pack won't: free phone support. And since the company also provides a toll-free number for its U.S. customers, the call's on their dime, not yours. We found wait times to be very brief--a minute or less--during regular business hours, and the Trend Micro tech staff was polite and knowledgeable. Phone support hours are weekdays, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT.
Unlike McAfee, Trend Micro doesn't offer online chat, but its e-mail support is available 24/7. E-mail queries are addressed quickly; in one instance, we received a reply within 11 hours. The PC-cillin support site is well organized and contains the usual assortment of tech tips and virus alerts.