Trend Micro Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity: Great se­cu­rity suite, but pri­vacy pro­tec­tion fea­tures need work

A few pri­vacy fea­tures need an up­grade.

PCWorld (USA) - - Reviews - BY IAN PAUL

The best an­tivirus so­lu­tion is one that’s as sim­ple as pos­si­ble. Af­ter all, if a user can’t nav­i­gate the app to take ad­van­tage of its fea­tures, then much of the pro­gram’s use­ful­ness is lost. Trend Micro’s Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity nails this prin­ci­ple with some of the eas­i­est nav­i­ga­tion we’ve seen yet.

The de­fault dash­board is very straight­for­ward. There’s a large Scan cir­cle in the mid­dle that changes color based on the sta­tus of the PC. Click­ing on the cir­cle ini­ti­ates a quick scan, while click­ing the down­ward­fac­ing ar­row to the right of it of­fers the choice

of quick, full, and cus­tom scans.

Above that cir­cle are the four ba­sic se­cu­rity cat­e­gories for the app: De­vice, Pri­vacy, Data, and Fam­ily.


The De­vice tab in­cludes the set­tings for Trend Micro’s real-time scan­ning and web fil­ter­ing. There’s also a PC Health Checkup op­tion to help op­ti­mize sys­tem per­for­mance. If you use the fea­ture, the app ranks your cur­rent op­ti­miza­tion level and lets you choose to “make im­prove­ments.” Th­ese tweaks range from fix­ing se­cu­rity vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties to re­claim­ing disk space.

In my case, it found some saved pass­words in my browser, though I can’t recall ever sav­ing any. When I clicked on this par­tic­u­lar find­ing, the pro­gram loaded the Trend Micro Pass­word Man­ager—mak­ing the si­t­u­a­tion feel more like an in­tro­duc­tion to the fea­tures of the se­cu­rity suite.

Next up in this sec­tion of the app is Mute Mode, which is a re­ally nice take on the typ­i­cal gam­ing-mode fea­ture. You ac­ti­vate it from the sys­tem tray by right-click­ing on the Trend Micro icon.

When run­ning, Mute Mode stops “non­crit­i­cal” no­ti­fi­ca­tions from in­ter­rupt­ing you. There are op­tions to dis­able Win­dows Up­dates, au­to­mat­i­cally ter­mi­nate pro­grams, and even turn off Mute Mode af­ter a spe­cific in­ter­val. That’s great for gamers who, say, want to shut down their backup pro­gram or chat app when it’s time to play, or for stu­dents who want to get se­ri­ous about that history pa­per.


The Pri­vacy tab has fea­tures de­signed to keep sen­si­tive data from leav­ing your PC. The Pri­vacy Scan­ner op­tion, which works via Trend Micro’s browser add-on, au­to­mat­i­cally

scans so­cial net­works like Face­book, Twit­ter, and Linkedin to op­ti­mize your pri­vacy set­tings, for ex­am­ple. You can also scan your web browsers to make sure they are as pri­vate as pos­si­ble too.

In the­ory, scan­ning so­cial net­works is a great op­tion, es­pe­cially given Face­book’s al­ways con­fus­ing pri­vacy set­tings. How­ever, its ef­fec­tive­ness was hit and miss in my ex­pe­ri­ence. In Chrome and Fire­fox, the app pro­duced a set of re­sults that claimed I was off­line. Later, I went back to Twit­ter on

Chrome and Trend Micro dis­played a pri­vacy anal­y­sis sum­mary within Twit­ter. Click­ing through to see the scan’s re­sults took me back to the browser add-on page that still claimed it couldn’t con­nect to the In­ter­net. Thus, no se­cu­rity sum­mary.

A bet­ter ap­proach would be to man­age so­cial net­work­ing pro­tec­tion fea­tures in­side the Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity desk­top app— in­clud­ing log­ging in. That would of­fer a more re­li­able and cen­tral­ized ex­pe­ri­ence, sim­i­lar to how Vipre Ad­vanced Se­cu­rity han­dles its So­cial Watch fea­ture.

When I asked Trend Micro about my trou­bles, the com­pany said this is­sue was prob­a­bly due to some browser-spe­cific is­sues. “In Chrome, the fea­ture will not work when the user is also logged in with [a] Google ac­count due to some pos­si­ble sync is­sues, es­pe­cially when the ac­count is setup on mul­ti­ple de­vices,” a Trend Micro rep­re­sen­ta­tive told me. “[In] Fire­fox, the re­cent browser up­date has caused an is­sue and the fix should be ap­plied [dur­ing] the next Trend Micro up­date in July.”

Fi­nally, Data Theft Pre­ven­tion un­der the Pri­vacy tab lets you en­ter spe­cific in­for­ma­tion

like a credit card num­ber, email ad­dress, or tele­phone num­ber that you want pro­tected. If Trend Micro sees this data en­tered into a web­page, email, or in­stant mes­sage, it will warn you that the data is leav­ing your PC. Trend Micro says you don’t have to en­ter the en­tire num­ber ei­ther. Just seven con­sec­u­tive numbers is enough to mon­i­tor your credit card.

In my brief tests, Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity was able to stop my credit num­ber from go­ing out in a Gmail mes­sage, but didn’t do a thing when I pasted my numbers into Slack and a new mail mes­sage in Thun­der­bird.

Trend Micro says the Data Theft Pre­ven­tion fea­ture doesn’t sup­port the web sock­ets pro­to­col, which is why Slack was able to send out the data. It should have worked in Thun­der­bird, ac­cord­ing to Trend Micro. So per­haps my ex­pe­ri­ence was spe­cific to my PC.


The Data tab is the meat of Trend Micro’s se­cu­rity fea­tures. Folder Shield pro­tects spe­cific fold­ers against ran­somware, and you can spec­ify as many or as lit­tle fold­ers as you’d like. Se­cure Erase gets rid of sen­si­tive data, while Pass­word Man­ager is a browser-based pass­word man­ager for sav­ing pass­words, form fill­ing data, and se­cure notes. Vault lets you en­crypt sen­si­tive data.

There’s also an in­ter­est­ing— and per­haps con­tro­ver­sial—fea­ture called Cloud Stor­age Scan­ner. This fea­ture scans Mi­crosoft Of­fice and PDF files stored in your cloud stor­age ser­vices for threats. To do this, how­ever, the files have to be sent to Trend Micro and af­ter­wards the com­pany says they are se­curely deleted. Once the scan is done, you can get an email re­port let­ting you know the re­sults.

This fea­ture works with Onedrive right now, while Drop­box is in beta. In my tests, the Onedrive scan failed af­ter a few sec­onds.


Fi­nally, the Fam­ily tab lets you use Trend Micro’s parental con­trols for on-de­vice lim­i­ta­tions, such as re­strict­ing web­pages or plac­ing time lim­its on com­puter time.

Trend Micro also has a set­tings sec­tion

If Trend Micro sees this data en­tered into a web­page, email, or in­stant mes­sage, it will warn you that the data is leav­ing your PC.

ac­ces­si­ble via the set­tings cog next to the big Scan but­ton on the main dash­board. Here you can ad­just op­tions for scan­ning and the PC Health checkup. There’s also an ex­cep­tions list to pre­vent Trend Micro from mon­i­tor­ing cer­tain pro­grams, and whitelist­ing web­sites and cer­tain Wi-fi net­works.

Re­turn­ing to the dash­board, next to the set­tings op­tion is a but­ton for dis­play­ing se­cu­rity re­ports that show all threats found or blocked, re­sults of the lat­est PC Health Checkup, a parental con­trols sum­mary, and a se­cu­rity sum­mary of your pass­words.


Trend Micro Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity has an in­tro­duc­tory price of $50 for five de­vices for a sin­gle year—the price goes up to $90 af­ter the in­tro­duc­tory pe­riod. If you need to cover 10 de­vices, the price goes up to $60 for the first year and $100 af­ter that. Over­all, th­ese sub­scrip­tion prices are on par with many of the other ma­jor an­tivirus suites.


Tak­ing a look at Av-test’s March and April 2018 re­sults, Trend Micro scored 100 per­cent on both the zero-day and web/email threats test, as well as the wide­spread and preva­lent mal­ware test.

Av-com­par­a­tives had sim­i­lar re­sults. Trend Micro blocked 100 per­cent of 224 sam­ple threats in the April 2018 real-world pro­tec­tion test with 10 false pos­i­tives. Trend Micro also scored 100 per­cent in Av-com­par­a­tives’ mal­ware pro­tec­tion test for March 2018 with 166 false pos­i­tives against more than 20,000 mal­ware sam­ples.

SE Labs also looked at Trend Micro and gave the com­pany’s pro­tec­tion a AAA rat­ing—the high­est pos­si­ble.

For our in-house tests, per­for­mance in

Trend Micro Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity’s de­fault view.

Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity’s Mute Mode.

Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity’s Pri­vacy tab.

Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity’s data pro­tec­tion in ac­tion.

Max­i­mum se­cu­rity’s Data tab.

Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity op­ti­mizes your PC and gives it a rank­ing.

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