Old-school anti-virus vendors learn new tricks

Testing reveals that traditional AV vendors have added defense-in-depth, BYOD protection

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The other popular way that people become infected with viruses besides e-mail attachments is by visiting a corrupted webpage. As such, many companies have included link scanners that work with popular search engines like Google or Yahoo. Trend Micro Premium Security goes beyond this to add that technology to social media pages. Working with Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and others, it scans for links and posts that attempt to steer users into dangerous or corrupted places. Should a bad link be found, it can block a user from clicking on it as well as alert the rest of that user’s social network to the dangers.

Another program Trend Micro added to its suite is called the Trend Micro Vault. Users can drop important files and programs into the vault for added protection. Locking the vault then encrypts those files and prevents them from being opened unless a proper password is entered. If a device is stolen, its loss can be reported to Trend Micro which will then put a permanent lock on the files the next time the missing device connects to the Internet to prevent them from ever being opened again. However, permanent does not really mean forever in certain circumstances. Should the device be recovered, there is also a process a user can go through to prove he is the rightful owner to unseal the vault once more.

Trend Micro Premium Security offers a lot more than one would expect from a standard anti-virus program suite, which when combined with a very easy to use interface, a quick install process for any device and a huge maintenance suite of helpful programs, earns it the highest score for this review.

John Breeden is an award winning reviewer and public speaker with over 20 years of experience. He is currently the CEO of the Tech Writers Bureau, a group of influential journalists and writers who work in government and other circles. He can be reached at jbreeden@techwritersbureau.com.

How we tested anti-virus suites

A test bed was created consisting of several desktops running Windows XP, 7 and 8, a Windows laptop, an Apple Macbook Pro, a Samsung Galaxy S5 and an Apple iPhone 6. Devices in the test bed were partitioned away from everything else, but networked together. One desktop system being used as a primary installation point for each product was selectively allowed to connect to the Internet at the beginning of each test cycle to receive the latest program updates, and also if the test required visiting a corrupted webpage. All devices were re-imaged or factory reset between tests.

An anti-virus suite was added to the main desktop system first, and then used to install protection on all other supported devices. This process was recorded and evaluated for simplicity and ease of use. Management software was also evaluated including managing each device from a central console if available.

Testing consisted of sending 25 pieces of new malware into the devices through various means including directly through a USB stick, over the protected network from one device to another, or by connecting to a website with known malware. The primary installation computer was used to surf common websites and to evaluate things like social media protection, anti-spam and phishing scanners, tune-up suites included with the package and any extra features. For mobile devices, a selection of apps was evaluated, including at least two of which are classified as malware.

Most suites were able to catch almost everything somewhere within their defense-in-depth, however, when something got through it was noted in the review. Because of the time difference between testing – giving a slight advantage to products tested later in the cycle – results from this evaluation were not used in scoring, though they are noted within the text of the review.

This story, "Old-school anti-virus vendors learn new tricks" was originally published by Network World.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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