Trend Micro Internet Security review: Quality protection but it’s pricey
Trend Micro Internet Security makes a great first impression, with a tasteful grey and white front-end that coordinates well with the Windows 10 visual style. Perhaps inevitably, once you start clicking around, the veneer comes off a little. The different panes of the interface open with clunky animations, and secondary functions open in separate windows. All the same, it’s a more elegant presence on your desktop than Bitdefender’s drab tones, or BullGuard’s boxy buttons.
Feature-wise, Trend Micro Internet Security is pretty well equipped. All the real-time scanning functions you’d hope for are present. As well as picking up viruses, the software can identify system components and applications that are known to be vulnerable, as well as files that are harmless but which waste space – such as temporary Windows and application files. It’s a thoughtful touch these days, when you might easily be running on a lightweight “cloudbook” with 64GB or less of storage.
The basic job of intrusion detection is entrusted to the Windows Firewall, but this is supplemented with Trend Micro’s own “firewall booster”, which aims to recognise botnet-like activity.
For those who like to take hands-on control of their security options, there’s a reasonable degree of configurability. You can choose whether to load security components as early as possible in the boot process, for maximum security, or defer them until after the desktop has appeared, to boost performance. The scan settings let you specify various preferences such as whether Zip files are automatically scanned, and whether autoplay is permitted for removable drives.
You can also select either “Normal” or “Hypersensitive” protection behaviour: in the former mode, the software steps in as and when malicious behaviour is encountered; the latter more aggressively intercepts programs that merely have the potential to cause trouble. By default, however, the software automatically switches between the two “when you need it”, which makes us wonder why you’d want to insist on one or the other.
It’s a similar case with web protection, which offers three levels of scrutiny, simply labelled Low, Normal and High. The interface recommends that you stick with Normal for everyday browsing, leaving us to ponder when and why you’d want to engage the other settings. A choice we do like, however, is the option to prevent scripts from running on suspicious websites, rather than blocking them altogether. Switch to the Privacy section of the suite and you’ll also find a link scanner that warns you if someone shares a dodgy page on Facebook, Twitter and numerous other social networks.
Other goodies include a data-theft blocker that prevents sensitive information from being transmitted online without password authorisation – so, for example, you might set it up to block your address and credit card number. There’s a secure delete utility too, but Trend Micro’s password manager is an optional add-on costing £10 a year. That feels like a liberty after you’ve paid for the suite itself, especially when several third-party alternatives are available for free.
Finally, there’s a set of parental controls that let you set usage limits and block certain website categories. These largely replicate the features in Windows 10’s parental controls, but add the ability to block specific programs at certain times – so, for example, you can allow your kids to play Minecraft between 8pm and 9pm.
Trend Micro Internet Security review: Verdict
It adds up to a decent package, and one that can’t be faulted when it comes to protection: AV-Test gave Trend Micro a perfect 100% score across its zero-day and regular malware tests. There are just two flies in the ointment. The first is a 30% slowdown in the speed of launching applications; if you have a fast SSD, the effect shouldn’t be noticeable, but it puts Trend Micro last in that particular test.
The other issue is the price. The publisher evidently doesn’t believe in cutting deals with retailers, so if you’re tempted to invest in Trend Micro Internet Security then you’ll have to pay the full RRP of £35 per year for a single PC, or £42 for a three-PC licence. That’s far steeper than the prices you’ll find online for Kaspersky or Norton – which, unfortunately, makes it hard to recommend Trend Micro.