Trend Micro shuffles features for your safety

There's much more to Trend Micro 2013 than just Windows 8 support. With mobile about to be shoved down the throat of every Windows security vendor around, Trend swaps its features around to prepare for the new era.

Trend Micro Premium Security 2013, with an interface optimized for Windows 8.

(Credit: Trend Micro)

Trend Micro wants to redefine the expectations of people buying security suites by changing what level of protection they get. The Trend Micro Titanium 2013 updates move feature sets around, lowering the price on features previously available only for more money, as well as debuting new ones.

Available exclusively from Download.com today, Titanium Antivirus Plus (30-day trial download, $39.95), Titanium Internet Security (30-day trial download, $79.95), Titanium Maximum Security (30-day trial download, $89.95), Titanium Premium Security (30-day trial download, $99.95), and Titanium Mac (30-day trial download, $69.95) push a number of formerly premium options down to the basic security level, while introducing others at higher levels.

Trend Micro also currently is offering a deal that lowers the price of each by about 25 percent.

At the entry level, Antivirus Plus has always included antivirus, anti-malware, search result ratings, and malicious link protection in instant messages. Now it includes the formerly premium-only social networking protection including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, MySpace (yes, MySpace), Weibo, and Mixi; anti-spam e-mail protection; a Facebook privacy scanner; and Windows 8 support. This includes a tweaked interface, with bigger buttons for easier touch screen use.

People using Titanium for Mac 2013 get the same features, except for the Facebook privacy scan, and (obviously) Windows 8 support.

At the higher subscription levels, you'll get more features and more device support. Antivirus Plus will work only on one computer. Titanium Internet Security 2013 will work on three computers, and includes parental controls, a system tuner, data theft prevention, and a secure file shredder. Titanium Maximum Security 2013 offers all of the above, as well as the Trend Micro Online Guardian social monitoring service, Trend Micro's password management service, Trend Micro Vault for securing files on your local hard drives, and 5 GB with the company's SafeSync cloud storage. It also features a change in the license, so that Titanium Maximum Security will work on any combination of Windows, Android, and Mac, up to three devices.

The new Trend Micro Premium Security 2013 is identical to Maximum Security in terms of features, but it comes wtih 25 GB of SafeSync storage, and will work on up to five devices.

On the one hand, there's no doubt that this is a play to make Titanium more attractive to new people in the incredibly competitive consumer security field. However, it's hard to deny that it's a good idea to make the everyday things that we do online, such as social networking, protected at the entry level.

We don't have independent security numbers for Titanium 2013 yet, but Titanium 2012 did about average on security efficacy according to independent tests. In June 2012, the most recent test available, AV-Test found it to be very effective at preventing infections, tied for second place in that category with seven competitors. However, it was significantly less effective at removing infections or detecting false positives. Likewise, AV-Comparatives found Titanium 2012 to be 11th best out of 21 suites tested between January 2012 and June 2012, blocking 97.6 percent of threats on its real-world protection test.

Basically, you're still likely to be safe with Titanium 2013, but there are suites that block more threats. CNET Labs' benchmarks will be updated as soon as they're available.

Another component of Titanium's adoption rates is marketing. The company's Director of Consumer Product Marketing, Natalie Severino, told CNET that Trend Micro has partnered with Best Buy to encourage their customers who buy Macs to also purchase Titanium for Mac. This is a likely a big part of why Trend Micro claims 97 percent of the Mac security suite market share.

On Windows, Trend Micro's market share is much smaller, at around 2 percent.

The bigger question, though, is whether Titanium 2013's changes will help attract new people. Free suites dominate Windows security and with good reason: they're low-cost, and they're effective. Certainly, it benefits all to have Trend Micro's kind of creative thinking in the normally slothful security field -- how many of these suites still don't support Google Chrome, now aged four years? -- but ultimately it's still a pace that doesn't reflect the changing needs of consumers.

A full CNET review of Trend Micro Titanium will be available soon.

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