Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security 2011

There is a lot to be said for minimalism, but with Titanium Internet Security 2011 ($70 for one year, three PCs, as of 12/2/2010), Trend Micro takes it to the extreme. The suite’s user interface is one of the most simplistic and stripped-down of the security apps we tested. A simple summary of threats stopped, a link to the utility’s parental controls, and the date that your subscription expires are all the information the primary display offers. Below that, you can choose to scan your system, configure options, or check your logs. A large blue “Tools” button is actually a red herring, telling you only whether parental controls and “data theft prevention” (a rather useless utility that mysteriously claims to “prevent hackers from stealing credit card numbers, passwords” and so forth) are turned on.

And that’s Titanium Internet Security.

Perhaps it’s called Titanium because it’s so lightweight? Rather than giving the user myriad options to choose from in how security rules are applied, Trend Micro goes for more of a “low/medium/high” approach to configuration. Would you prefer better security or better performance–or a balance of the two? Low, Normal, or High protection against malicious Web sites? Trend Micro defaults everything to the middle of the road, and you’ll probably just leave its settings there, since there’s no compelling need to change them.

In our tests of its effectiveness, Titanium Internet Security produced exceptional but not quite top results, with 22 out of 25 real-world attacks fully blocked (it partially blocked another two attacks) and 98.4 per cent of known malware detected. Its false positive rating (just 0.0006 per cent) is good enough for us, as is its 80 per cent rating at fixing infected machines. Speed is a sore spot: On-access speed (for scans that kick off when you open or save a file) is quite good, but on-demand scans (which are manually initiated) were some of the slowest we saw in our formal testing. We saw this firsthand during additional time with the product: If you’re running a full system scan, be sure to do it while you’re sleeping–even your lunch hour isn’t long enough for Trend Micro’s leisurely scanning speed.

We had some issues with Titanium’s installation–which is rabid about requiring registration and which manages to hide the field where you input your license key very effectively (hint: it’s in the system tray!). Novice users may also be confused about why clicking the “Scan” button doesn’t do much. It’s because Titanium is configured by default to run a Quick Scan–a scan so quick that it looked at only 11 files on our test unit. This could leave users with a seriously false sense of security should infections actually lie deeper in the machine.

Trend Micro’s promise with this product is that users will “never click an update button again,” and Titanium honors that promise. In fact, there is no update button at all. Everything is done behind the scenes. For set-and-forget security, it doesn’t get much simpler than that.

If you’re a more advanced user, you may want to look elsewhere for a suite that offers more fine-tuned controls. But if you’re looking for something that provides good protection and doesn’t require you to fiddle with settings, Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security is worth a look.

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