TrendMicro releases 2013 version

Every fall, industry releases its new “year” of models; we see new cars, new appliances — and new security software. Many (but not all) PC, Mac and smart device security software publishers typically allow the user of a 2012 version to upgrade to the 2013 version, often at no charge, for the balance of the original license period. Taking advantage of this policy, I recently upgraded the TrendMicro Titanium Maximum Security (Premium Edition) 2012 installed on all of the PCs in my house and on my Android smart phones to the newly released 2013 versions of the security software.

Few industries are as dynamic and competitive as the computer security industry. There are several publishers of fine security software, both freeware and commercial, that offer a wide selection of “models” that vary in price, protection, features, benefits and the number of devices (licenses) that a single purchase may be installed on. After having tried several of the leading free and commercial security products on my computers and other smart devices over the years, I have settled on the TrendMicro Titanium Maximum Security three-device license pack. Late last year, as the security licenses on my family computers were approaching expiration, I started shopping around for a new set of security software, as it is often cheaper to purchase new software than it is to renew licenses on currently installed software. I was very happy with the 2011 build of the TrendMicro Titanium Maximum Security, so I purchased the 2012 “Premium Edition” for three devices when I saw it on sale. The 2012 version uninstalled the prior version, and installed itself on my computers; I also used two of the available licenses to protect our Android cell phones, one of the available options.

Early in September, I saw that TrendMicro released the 2013 versions of its software, which included several powerful security enhancements, so I downloaded the 2013 version of the Maximum Security (64bit) from the TrendMicro Web site (downloadcenter.trendmicro.com), and installed it on all of my PCs; it picked up the license key from the 2012 version, and shows that it is active for the remainder of my original 2012 license period.

While I have experimented with several of the major and minor security products over the past several years, I keep coming back to a TrendMicro security suite. Since it became available a few years ago, I have been using the Titanium Maximum Security suite on all of my computers. For 2013, there were several improvements and security enhancements that recognize what users really do with their computers, and addresses the different security risks imposed on each of those uses. Research has shown that on a daily basis, 88 percent of computer users check e-mail, 75 percent browse the Internet or conduct Web searches, and 69 percent utilize social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Cyber criminals are aware of these statistics and typically target their malware and other threats to take advantage. The 2013 versions of all of the TrendMicro security products explicitly protect from threats transmitted via these vectors. TrendMicro is also well aware that users often connect to the Internet through a variety of means, including direct hard-wired connections (Ethernet) and wireless “WiFi” hotspots.

TrendMicro added several new features to all of its 2013 versions, from the most basic TrendMicro Antivirus to the most comprehensive Premium Security. These new protection benefits include automated security ratings and warnings about search engine results (cyber criminals often manipulate search engine ranking to place their purloined Web sites at the top of the rankings); security validation for WiFi networks and hotspots; protection from much of the spam e-mail that we all receive, which often contains malware or links to dangerous Web sites, as well as protection from phishing (identity theft) scams; reinforcement for the integral Windows firewall, strengthening it substantially, both inbound and outbound; malicious link blocking in e-mail and instant messaging (IM) chats; a “Rescue Disk” utility that can create a bootable CD/DVD or USB drive that can be used to detect and remove difficult malware and rootkits; and a variety of features to greatly enhance security, safety and privacy while engaged on almost all of the social networking services. In most social networking services, “friends” often appear to post links that are illicit and dangerous. TrendMicro 2013 will alert the user; the user can then notify his “friend” to delete the questionable post and check his or her machine for security issues. One feature that I like in the 2013 products is the “Facebook Privacy Scanner,” which identifies Facebook security and privacy settings that might leave your personal information vulnerable.

Most of the 2013 products (except for the basic Antivirus product) include “Parental Controls” that can filter the content accessed by a child; allows the parent to set a schedule that restricts the child’s use of the computer to designated times and limits; controls which applications the child can access (like games); and provides the parent with detailed activity reports about what the child does on the computer. The Maximum and Premium security products also contain a security feature TrendMicro calls “Online Guardian” which monitors the child’s social networking activities.

The TrendMicro Internet Security 2013 offers all of the features of the more basic Antivirus product, but includes the Parental Controls mentioned above, a “System Tuner” that may improve hardware and software performance, “Data Theft Protection” to help protect from online identity theft, and a “Secure Erase File Shredder,” which can securely delete files and render them virtually unrecoverable. There is also a build of Internet Security explicitly for Mac users (single license).

The TrendMicro Titanium Maximum Security 2013 offers several additional features over the less comprehensive Antivirus and Internet Security products, including 5 GB of “SafeSync” secure online data storage; “DirectPass” secure password manager to store and access the many different passwords that we often find difficult to memorize; the “Online Guardian” (mentioned above as a Parental Control) to protect a child while online; and the “TrendMicro Vault,” which stores sensitive personal files in an encrypted folder on the hard drive such that they cannot be accessed by unauthorized individuals, even if the computer is lost or stolen, a real risk for laptop owners. The license included with Maximum Security allows it to be installed on any combination of three devices, including desktop and laptop PCs, Android smart phones and tablets, and Mac computers (including Mountain Lion and Golden Key).Trend Micro Titanium Premium Security is virtually identical to Maximum Security, except it includes 25 gigabytes of “SafeSync” remote storage, and licenses for five Windows, Android or Mac devices in any combination.

System requirements for all of the 2013 TrendMicro security products is minimal, allowing it to run effectively on all eligible devices. The Titanium products are also certified for use on the upcoming release of Windows 8.

While no security software is perfect, I have been very satisfied with TrendMicro Titanium Maximum Security. The new 2013 version offers significantly improved performance, malware detection and malware remediation.

Listen to Ira Wilsker’s weekly radio show on Mondays from 6-7 p.m. on KLVI 560AM.

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