Trend Micro's latest security and antivirus release, Internet Security Pro 2008, offers a clean interface that's simple to navigate and fairly straightforward to set up.
As far as protection goes, there's a broad range of coverage, but users are not going to get quite as good a cleaning service as from some other suites including Symantec's Norton Anti-Virus, even if it's only by a small margin.
The software is split into a number of sections. Virus and spyware protection covers email, attachments and other realtime file scanning, but also protects unauthorised changes to the system files and settings.
Then there's the home network and firewall section with a personal firewall and a monitor for wireless networks, and lastly there's the online protection, covering phishing sites, spam protection, parental controls and "data theft protection".
This feature is basically a warning that personal information, such as credit card, login or password details are being accessed or requested, allowing users to block it. Beyond that are the Pro Services. This section of the application introduces several helpful features. The first is Trend Micro's Remote File Lock. This allows users to allocate a set of files as protected. These files will only be accessible once Trend Micro has checked the computer's status on its database. If, for example, the computer is stolen, users can have their vault locked and the software will protect their files until the online database is told otherwise. It's not going to stop the cleverest of hackers, but it's a good first point of defence for sensitive files.
Also found in the Pro section are the system tuner, which cleans up unused files and does other small housecleaning jobs, and, more importantly, the Transaction Protector.
This is a particularly useful tool when using foreign networks, such as wireless hotspots. It will check the security of the connection users are using and tell whether it is safe or shows characteristics of a network that may include fake or phishing websites. It also has key encryption to encryps keystrokes, protecting against key-logger spyware.
A small icon shows up in the browser window indicating the safety level. It also shows whether the encryption tool is turned on or off.
In PC World tests, Trend Micro Internet Security Pro 2008 didn't quite match up to some of the other antivirus suites in terms of detection, but was one of the least taxing applications on system resources and did a good job of cleaning what it found.
Against AV-Test.org's database of spyware, malware and adware, Internet Security Pro 2008 managed to find 90 per cent of the malware and a paltry 84 per cent of the spyware and adware.
In the heuristic tests it managed to pick up just 13 per cent of malicious files.
It did, however, perform a good job of cleaning files once detected, cleaning 70 per cent of infected files and registry changes.
All other features worked well within their simple boundaries. We were a little disappointed by the password protection, which isn't enforced during setup. This leaves the application itself open to change and is particularly nasty for the parental filters, which, without a password, can simply be turned off by the child users are trying to protect (and let's face it, the younger they are the more they know about computers).