Maximum Security includes a couple of extra utilities not directly related to antivirus/antispyware protection.
The System Tuner utility goes through your computer and scans for junk files and clears out your internet history; the software does not provide much in the way of specifics or options. It creates a restore point in case it deletes anything you need; given the novice-focused approach of Maximum Security, I doubt the cleaning is too aggressive.
Maximum Security also includes a secure erase utility; this allows you to right-click any file or folder and secure-delete it. Normally when a file is deleted, the disk space it took up is merely marked writable and therefore can be recovered rather easily. The Secure Erase utility writes random data over the secured file’s disk space, making it effectively unrecoverable. I like this feature a lot.
Maximum Security includes a solid parental control component. Any Windows account can be restricted from looking at inappropriate Internet content; several profiles are included by default such as “Ages 8-12”. Naturally, you can tell it to block specific websites.
Maximum Security also allows you to restrict the times users can go online, which is handy; most security suites I test leave this feature out.
Real-World Security Testing
This section is broken up into four parts: Firewall, Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, and Anti-Spam. We use Internet Explorer for all testing.
We use PCFlank’s Exploits Test to test the firewall component; detailed test information can be found here. The tests essentially bombard your system and test its reaction to various types of attacks and unexpected packets.
Trend Micro Maximum Security successfully defended our test computer from the simulated attacks.
To test the effectiveness of Maximum Security I used several virus files from Eicar.org, an IT security website. Please see the test description for extensive information on the tests.
What we look for in this test is the security suite’s ability to detect and block the file from being downloaded; unfortunately Maximum Security is severely lacking in this area. It allowed me to download all of the infected files and did not detect them until I performed a system scan. Other security suites I tested were far more proactive; for example, ESET Smart Security 4 did not even let me initiate the download. Maximum Security does not appear to be effectively scanning network traffic.
We use Spycar.org to test the anti-spyware module. It mimics spyware behavior on a computer, detecting whether the anti-spyware component can block or detect it. We run all available tests.
Maximum Security did well in this test; it redirected the browser to a custom page every time, telling me that what I was doing is dangerous. It effectively blocked all of the attempted downloads.
We use the Apache SpamAssassin Project to test the anti-spam filter. I send an email containing the string on the page to a test email account; if it gets blocked, we know the spam filter is working. Mozilla Thunderbird is used as the email client on our test computer.
Maximum Security’s anti-spam support is lacking; it only supports Microsoft mail clients. Thunderbird is not supported, which is disappointing.