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Review: PC-cillin Internet Security 2006

Trend Micro's new anti-malware suite offers solid protection without scaring uneasy users.
Trend Micro's PC-cillin Internet Security Suite 2006 is a multi-tool system fortifier against viruses, Trojan horses, spyware, hack attacks, phishing attempts, and other malevolent entities, whether live or binary.

The ease of putting PC-cillin to work was a surprise, considering the number of tools included, such as a firewall, Wi-Fi intrusion detection, phishing defense, and spyware protection. Users new to security software can use the quick, optional walk-through wizard.


PC-cillin offers a variety of anti-malware tools. (Click on image to expand.)
Before the installation had even begun in earnest, PC-cillin showed its acumen by picking out a commercial key-logging spy program I had planted beforehand. PC-cillin strikes a nice balance between not giving too much detail about malware, but including enough data to identify it (and the file that needs to die), explain what it does, and let the user choose whether to restore it or remove it permanently. There are more options for handling viruses. Unlike some security suites that look for anything that bears a remote resemblance to malware (and overwhelming the user in the process), PC-cillin finds very few villains -- but they are actually viruses, Trojans, keyloggers, and other bad guys.

PC-cillin is also fast compared to the length of time it takes to run, say, Norton Internet Security. Much of that is attributable to the fact that, while you must have PC-cillin's antivirus protection turned on to run tools from its anti-spyware collection, you don't have to actually run PC-cillin's antivirus routine first, as you do Norton's, just to run the anti-spyware tools. In PC-cillin, those non-virus tools include features that fight spyware, adware, dialers, joke programs, hack tools, remote access, password cracking apps, and others.

Protecting Your Privacy
Privacy protection covers password-protected items you define within the program, so they do not sneak off your machine within e-mails or instant messages, or to Websites not on your specifically approved list. You can store any kind of information, and when you click "Enter," it is unreadable, even behind your password-protected screen. If someone tries to get the secret out, PC-cillin immediately stops it and raises a large notification box. A similar privacy scheme of Norton's stops the user's e-mail, but never raises an alarm.

PC-cillin scans e-mail from Microsoft Outlook Express 6.0, Microsoft Outlook 2000, 2002, and 2003, Netscape 7.1, Eudora 6.1, and Becky! Internet Mail 2.0. It did a pretty good job of discerning spam, except for overreaching to one piece of non-spam.

Take advantage of PC-cillin's Wi-Fi intrusion detection if you have a wireless network. PC-cillin pops up the IP address, computer name (if your network has it), and the MAC address, and lists its status as "Trusted" or "Unknown." You can switch between those two categories with the click of a button. The Properties button can help you determine such things as that "extra" machine with an IP address that looks as if it belongs on the network but is actually your router.

Recommended For Rookies...And Others
Experienced users and hobbyists may prefer ZoneAlarm, because it is more configurable and supports more versions of non-Outlook programs, such as older versions of Eudora. However, it is also more likely to interrupt you to ask about everything a program is trying to do. PC-cillin is more likely to do its job without scaring the less-experienced user.

Incidentally, bravo to Trend Micro for making PC-cillin available for a range of Windows versions besides XP, including Windows 98/98 SE, ME, and 2000 Professional (SP4 or above). It also offers toll-free tech support that is live, free, and very good.


PC-cillin Internet Security 2006
Trend Micro, Inc.
www.trendmicro.com
Price: $49.95 (one-year updates)
Summary: PC-cillin Internet Security 2006 is a fast, focused, easy-to-use security suit.
Editor's Choice
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
Astrid Gobardhan, Data Privacy Officer, VFS Global
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing