Some companies blur the line between standalone antivirus and full-scale security suite by adding firewall, antispam, and other suite features to the antivirus. TrustPort Antivirus 2013 ($39.95, direct) sticks with the basics: scanning to remove existing malware problems and monitoring to prevent new attacks. In testing, it proved a lot better at blocking new attacks than at rooting out existing malware infestations.
The 2013 edition’s appearance may surprise long-term TrustPort users. Previously, the product’s main window displayed quite a bit of information against a background of white and pale blue. The pint-sized user interface for 2013 edition has quite a different color scheme, mostly grays and dark blues, and it displays no status details at all, just four big buttons. Two buttons serve to toggle the on-access scanner and behavior-based Application Inspector on or off. Another launches a check for updates. Clicking the remaining button brings up a menu of choices for an on-demand malware scan.
Setting-tweakers need not despair. Clicking “Open advanced configuration” brings up a dialog of advanced settings with almost exactly the same layout as that of the previous edition. Oh, the color scheme is different, but everything’s in roughly the same place.
Impressively Easy Installation
TrustPort installed without a hitch on ten of my twelve malware-infested test systems. As always, ransomware on one system blocked all access to the desktop and start menu, making installation impossible. On another system, a malware process actively terminated the installer process every time it tried to start.
I solved both of these by creating a bootable TrustPort rescue CD on a clean system. I did have to install Microsoft’s free Windows Automated Installation Kit, but the resulting CD boots to Windows PE, which is a lot nicer than booting to Linux. After a full scan using the bootable antivirus, I had no trouble finalizing installation of the regular antivirus.
In addition to TrustPort’s own antivirus engine, the product also scans using two licensed engines. One, code-named Xenon, comes from Bitdefender; the other, code-named Argon, is from AVG. Triple-scanning does naturally take a bit more system resources than just using one engine, so TrustPort limits how many engines it uses if the system is low on resources.
For testing, I absolutely wanted all three engines active. However, my virtual machine test systems necessarily have a limited amount of RAM and disk space. TrustPort tech support kindly supplied a tweak that allowed me to override the default behavior and enable all three engines.
Unimpressive Malware Removal
As noted, getting TrustPort installed on my malware-infested test systems was easy, and I didn’t run into any post-scan problems like those that plagued my testing of G Data AntiVirus 2014. However, when I tallied the results TrustPort failed to impress.
TrustPort detected 69 percent of the samples. That’s a tad better than the 67 percent detected by ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall 2013, but not a great showing. Of the products tested using this current collection of malware, Kaspersky PURE 3.0 Total Security detected the most—86 percent of them.
Though ZoneAlarm’s detection rate lagged behind TrustPort’s, it did a better job of actually cleaning up what it detected. ZoneAlarm scored 5.3 points while TrustPort only earned 4.7 points. In a number of cases, one or more malware processes were still running after TrustPort’s cleanup. Kaspersky earned 6.0 points in a removal test using the same malware samples.
Tested against my previous malware collection, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 1.70 and Norton AntiVirus (2013) both detected 89 percent. Norton and Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus 2013 both scored 6.6 points, while Malwarebytes beat all the rest with 7.1 points.
Please read the article How We Test Malware Removal for a full description of my malware removal testing methods.
TrustPort Antivirus 2013 malware removal chart
Keeps a Clean System Clean
TrustPort did a much better job when allowed to install on a clean system, before any malware could gain a foothold. When I opened a folder containing malware samples, TrustPort quickly quarantined nearly 80 percent of them. I did find its quarantine method slightly unusual—it simply changed the .exe file extension to .0xe.
I proceeded to launch each sample that remained after the initial flurry of activity. In a couple of cases, the Application Inspector feature reacted to the malware installation, but I couldn’t count that as actual detection of malware, not when Application Inspector flagged perfectly valid programs in exactly the same way.
TrustPort detected 94 percent of the samples in this test, tied with Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ 10.5 for best detection. With a score of 9.0 points, it’s tied for second place with G Data, at least among products tested using the latest set of samples. In the larger group of products tested using my previous collection, Webroot topped the list with 9.9 of 10 possible points. For a full explanation of my malware blocking test, see How We Test Malware Blocking.
TrustPort Antivirus 2013 malware blocking chart
To check the product’s Web-based protection, I attempted to download my current malware collection again. Naturally some of the URLs aren’t valid any longer. TrustPort didn’t block any downloads at the URL level, but its on-access scanner kicked in to wipe out 65 percent of the downloaded files. Using a combination of URL-based blocking and download scanning, Ad-Aware blocked an impressive 92 percent.
TrustPort’s application inspector monitors all active processes and pops up a warning when it detects certain potentially dangerous activities. These include launching another program, modifying a protected file system location, installing a system-wide hook, and “using potentially harmful access privileges,” among others.
The warning popup asks you to decide whether to allow the program to continue, restrict its ability to access critical system areas, or block it. If you choose block, the default, TrustPort terminates the program immediately and won’t let it launche again.
For a sanity check, I attempted to install twenty PCMag utilities, most of which interact with Windows at a level that might be considered suspicious. Application Inspector popped up to warn me about seven of them, and choosing block either aborted the installation or the program itself.
One of my test utilities is a ringer—a simple color-matching game, not a Windows utility at all. TrustPort blocked its installation even so. This feature might catch an unknown Trojan based on its behavior, but it’s just as likely to prevent you from installing a valid game or utility.
Labs Mostly Mum
I always check results from the independent antivirus testing labs, to see how well they jibe with my own results. Alas, TrustPort isn’t found in many independent tests. West Coast Labs has certified it for malware detection and cleanup, and it received VB100 certification in eight of the last ten tests by Virus Bulletin, but they’re the only labs I follow that have evaluated TrustPort.
I’m more interested in the innovative real-world tests by AV-Test.org and AV-Comparatives.org. Alas, TrustPort doesn’t appear in recent tests by either of those two. The chart below summarizes recent lab tests. For more about these tests, see How We Interpret Antivirus Lab Tests
TrustPort Antivirus 2013 lab tests chart
Protection, Not Cleanup
Based on my own experience, I would not rely on TrustPort Antivirus 2013 to clean up a PC that’s infested with malware. If you’re sure you want to install TrustPort, consider cleaning the system first with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware 1.70, our Editors’ Choice for free, cleanup-only antivirus.
Better yet, install one of our Editors’ Choice commercial antivirus products instead. Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus 2013, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2013, and Norton AntiVirus (2013) all cost the same as TrustPort, and they offer significantly better protection.
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|OS Compatibility||Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8|
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Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc