Trend Micro is updating and expanding its antivirus software with the release of PC-cillin Internet Security 2004, a suite of security programs and services for small offices and homes.
The program is the first major update to PC-cillin in nearly a year.
The desktop package is priced at $US49.95, with one year of product support, including virus definition updates online from Trend Micro. Trend claims it is the only major antivirus vendor to also offer a year of toll-free phone support. Upgrades from earlier versions cost $US24.95. Ongoing updates of virus definitions cost $14.95 yearly.
The program runs under current versions of Windows, including 98, Me, 2000, and XP. It also supports personal digital assistants, including those running PalmOS, Microsoft Windows Mobile (formerly Pocket PC), and Epoch, although no viruses targeting these operating system have yet been found in the wild.
Primary new features protected against spam and spyware, growing security issues for systems connected to the Internet, Trend Micro's global director of education, David Perry said.
The antispam protection uses a combination of signatures, whitelists and blacklists of known senders, and heuristics to judge the likelihood that a particular message is junk mail. The spam feature works with POP3 email software, as well as with some Web mail services, including America Online's email.
PC-cillin's virus scanner handled adware and spyware similarly to viruses, worms, and Trojan horses, Perry said.
Trend Micro views spyware and adware the same as any other invaders that install themselves on PCs.
Perry likened antivirus software makers' reluctance to take on spyware to the initial reluctance of virus researchers years ago to include protection against Word Macro viruses in their products.
PC-cillin Internet Security 2004's new Network Virus Emergency Center includes tools to address the unique nature of network viruses, such as the recent Blaster virus outbreak.
Such viruses may not write data to the hard disk, as other viruses do, so standard virus-scanning may not catch them. Instead, Internet Security 2004 uses its firewall to block threats coming from network traffic, Perry said. Like many other antivirus programs, PC-cillin also scanned compressed files, but Perry claimed his product was more thorough than competitors because it could be set to dig through six levels of compression employing any of 24 different compression algorithms.
"Many new [virus] outbreaks are just old ones with new compression schemes," Perry said.
The antivirus part of the program will seek automatic updates of virus definitions at user-designated intervals. The defaults are 10 minutes after log-on and every three hours thereafter; users can choose only to make the updates less frequent.
A new privacy component would also protect users from themselves, Perry said.
Users can set the firewall so that it pops up a warning whenever personal information such as social security number, credit card number, or other designated information is about to be released online, such as in an email message or on a Web form. Rival Symantec has offered a similar function in its Internet Security suite for some time.
However, unlike Symantec, Trend Micro allows only one installation of PC-cillin. While Symantec recently implemented a product activation scheme across its product line, it allows up to five activations.