Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac review
Trend Micro is a name well-known to fans of computer security. It offers two products for the Mac: Maximum Security, and Antivirus for Mac. We chose the latter, which misses out on the password protection of its bigger brother, as well as mobile device security. However, it’s also much cheaper for a year’s subscription, at £49.95/US$29.95, available here.
Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac installs quickly and upon running for the first time instructs you on how to take care of the security issues surrounding installing its all-important kernel module.
Upon first running the app you’re asked if you want to use Folder Shield. This protects certain folders against ransomware. By default it protects your Documents, Music, Pictures and Movies folders, and any attached USB memory storage, but you can add others.
It works by blocking all processes and therefore apps from accessing the folder, unless they’re whitelisted. This whitelist contains a list of popular apps but you can add your own choice of app(s) to the whitelist pretty easily. As the documentation points out, Folder Shield is a last line of defence. Hopefully the antivirus app will catch any ransomware before Folder Shield even required.
After updating the virus definitions we opted to undertake a full scan, which was impressively quick and completed in around 15 minutes. The results dialog box reported finding 12 threats, which is odd because only 10 were on the computer. Clicking to view the details shows that Inqtana had been “detected” four times, something that can happen if malware is within a container file, so is nothing to worry about.
What was concerning was the fact that although Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac had detected KoobFace, Clapzok, FileCoder and Macarena, it had “ignored” them (that being the word it used in the scan log). These hadn’t been deleted, cleaned or quarantined, and there was no option to do so now either.
If we hadn’t clicked to view the results of the scan then we would never have been aware of these infected files. The app had successfully spotted and quarantined Renepo, Inqtana, BadBunny, WeaponX, and MineSteal although it hadn’t spotted XcodeGhost.
When we created the virus files afresh by extracting them from the password-protected archive, we were warned each time that malware had been detected. However, only WeaponX, MineSteal, Renepo, and BadBunny were automatically removed. Macarena, KoobFace, Inqtana, FileCode and Clapzok all were not deleted or cleaned. Opening the XcodeGhost DMG didn’t cause Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac to identify a threat, although scanning it manually did.
Looking on the positive side, we liked the fuss-free simplicity of the Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac’s interface. We’re big fans of antivirus apps just keeping out of the way and offering as few options as possible. The main program window can’t be resized, however, which made it difficult to view long file paths when looking at the results of scans.
Aside from web protection that’s supplied as a Safari extension, and which protects you while browsing (including performing social media security audits upon request), that’s about all we can say about this app.
To be blunt in our summary, the results of our test scan are baffling and worrying. Why didn’t the Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac quarantine those outstanding malware files? Why didn’t it at least make it abundantly clear that it had taken no action so the user could perhaps choose to do something? Why didn’t it offer an option to delete or quarantine these "ignored" malware files from within the app?
Because of these issues it's difficult to recommend Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac over other antivirus options we've reviewed in our group-test of the best antivirus for Mac.