Antivirus publishers throw in a suite of security tools to distinguish themselves in a very competitive market, with varying degrees of success. The full suite of Trend Micro Maximum Security includes a password manager, a mobile device security app, an email filter, browser add-ons, and even a social network analysis tool.
High-grade malware and antivirus scanning: The core of Trend Micro Maximum Security is as reputable as ever, scoring some of the highest marks in independent security lab AV-Test's analysis. The app hits the trifeca of high detection rates, fast scanning, and a low performance impact.
Extra-mile personal data protection: Maximum Security can analyze the privacy settings on your social network accounts and in your browser settings, picking up trouble spots that nontechnical users might miss. Since sites like Facebook share a lot of your personal info by default, this feature can help protect against scammers and password cracking.
Streamlined multi-device support: Maximum Security supports up to three devices and works in Windows and OS X. From within the Maximum Security interface, send an email link to another device, and open the link to go to an installation page -- or you can scan a QR code. Be aware that Android and iOS users get pointed to a general security app rather than a mobile malware/antivirus scanner.
Bundled tools generally not as good as dedicated apps: The password manager does not support multifactor authentication, nor can you create passwords longer than 20 characters. Its user base is also quite small compared to that of LastPass or Blur, making it more difficult to Google answers if you have a problem. The Maximum Security interface offers no details on which methods it uses to secure the Vault, a password-protected desktop folder. Its boot speed optimizer flags the Adobe Flash updater for removal, while its PC Health Checkup scolds you if Adobe Flash is out of date -- you can't have it both ways. The optimizer also forces you to dig into the interface to see exactly what it thinks is a problem.
Installation hurdles: During installation, Maximum Security requested the removal of Spybot Search & Destroy, despite it not being an actively running program. This required a reboot. On the second attempt to install Maximum Security, it scanned again and said IObit Uninstaller had to be removed, despite this program also requiring direct user initiation that should not interfere with an antivirus program (which we know, because the copy of Kaspersky Antivirus previously installed on this system had no problem with Spybot or IObit programs). This required a second reboot. Such an approach may reduce customer support issues for Trend Micro, but the company probably should not imply that the mere presence of these other programs is going to negatively impact the operation of its product. Having to reboot for each offending program to be removed also creates a hassle.
Toolbar issues: There's some irony in an antimalware program encouraging you to install its toolbar in Internet Explorer, a behavior that security experts have been trying to nix for well over a decade. While it makes IE safer to use by checking for potentially malicious scripts and URLs, the better long-term solution is to migrate away from IE altogether. Starting IE with the toolbar installed also triggers a pop-up ad hawking Trend Micro's password manager extension.
Trend Micro Maximum Security's core antimalware protection is top of the line. However, the other tools in the security suite leave something to be desired, and the installation experience is not friendly toward complementary third-party programs.
From Trend Micro:
Trend Micro Maximum Security provides comprehensive, multiple device protection and privacy for your digital life. It's unique security, designed to safeguard you and your family on social networks like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn. With its parental controls, you can restrict or filter website access when your kids go online. Maximum Security gives you the flexibility to protect up to 3 devices -- any combination of PC, Mac, or mobile (iOS and Android) devices. This is all-in-one security for practically everything you do online. It allows you to enjoy your digital life safely with comprehensive protection and privacy for multiple devices.
What's new in this version:
Version 11 may include unspecified updates, enhancements, or bug fixes.