A typicalintegrates antivirus and firewall protection along with other components, such as spam filtering and parental control. Many companies offer an upper-tier suite with even more security components. TrustPort’s basic suite failed to impress in testing, with low scores in our hands-on tests, a noisy, hackable firewall, and an ineffective parental control system. TrustPort Total Protection Sphere (2017) adds a comprehensive (if complex) encryption system to the features in TrustPort’s entry-level suite, along with a useful secure deletion utility and some components that are too complex for the average user. But these additions can’t redeem the lackluster basics.
At $45.95 per year for three licenses (or $37.95 for one), TrustPort costs roughly half as much as the mega-suites fromand on-access virus scanning. The other four, colored blue, offer actions such as checking for updates and scanning for malware. Some of the mega-suite’s added features show up when you click the Extra applications button, while others are buried in Advanced configuration.
Rather than rehash my review of
While the antivirus component keeps data-stealing Trojans from exfiltrating your sensitive documents, it can’t do much if a snoop gains physical access to your computer. For the most important documents, the ones nobody else should see, you need to use. TrustPort Total Protection’s implementation of secure, encrypted storage is more flexible and comprehensive than many, for those who master it.
To start, click Extra applications and select Create new encrypted drive. The wizard offers you a default location for the file that will hold the drive’s data—naturally you can change this. The default size for your drive is 256MB, a far cry from G Data’s default, which is all available disk space. There’s a pointless option to use the CAST 128 encryption algorithm rather than the more-secure; don’t do it!
Next, you create a password for yourself as administrator of the encrypted drive. There’s no real-time password rating like you get with G Data. Like
Note that the Image Editor’s user interface is seriously awkward. It’s controlled by 14 minuscule icons across the top, with no identifying text. You can point to an icon for a tooltip label, but you get no label for disabled icons. It’s not clear to me how many consumers need this level of control, but if they do, the user interface may discourage them.
There’s no point in stashing a copy of your top-secret data in the encrypted safe if you leave the original in existence. Deleting it isn’t enough—that just sends it to the Recycle Bin. And even if you bypass the Recycle Bin, or empty it, the file’s data still exists on disk. It’s just marked as available for reuse by the operating system, and can be recovered using forensic software or hardware.
In order to foil such recovery, you need a tool that overwrites the file’s data before deletion. TrustPort’s secure shredder defaults to overwriting data three times before deletion, which should be sufficient. You can crank it down to a quick one-pass wipe, for speed. Six other options include several government standards.
You choose your algorithm in the Advanced configuration dialog. There’s also an option there to apply secure deletion to a collection of traces of your Internet and computer usage. And then there’s Panic Shredding.
Back in the 80’s, when the Iran-Contra debacle surfaced, Colonel Oliver North and his staff started feeding incriminating documents in to the shredder as fast as they could. With TrustPort’s Panic Shredding, you can wipe out all incriminating documents at once. Setting it up is simple. Define the “panic objects,” meaning folders that should be shredded in case of emergency, and set a panic hotkey. Now when you hear, “Open the door—federal agents!” you can just hit the hotkey.
OK, it’s true; the average user does not need this. But it’s an entertaining variation on secure shredding.
The ZIP file format is ubiquitous. Windows itself has included the ability to compress and combine files into ZIP archives for years. Those with a more technical bent sometimes prefer to use RAR files, which offer some features not found in the ZIP format. With these choices available, TrustPort offers you…CAR files?
You access the CAR file manager from the Extra applications menu. Files archived using the proprietary CAR file format can only be opened by other TrustPort users. Strangely, the CAR file manager defaults to the less-secure CAST 128 encryption algorithm, rather than using government-approved AES.
You can get around the requirement that the recipient also have TrustPort by creating a self-extracting archive. However, you may then run into transmission trouble, as many email networks forbid executable attachments. I don’t see much value in this component.
The remaining mega-suite features are all reached by opening Advanced configuration and clicking the Access Control node. In the basic suite, Access Control just includes the Parental Lock and an option to password-protect its settings. Total Protection adds Volumes and Directories, Devices, and Autorun, none of which are needed by the average user.
Volumes and Directories. This component lets you restrict access to specific folders or drives. In order to use it at all, you must navigate the same awkward Windows Select Users dialog that was a pain in Parental Lock. Assuming you manage to add at least your own Windows user account to the list, you’re ready to start protecting.
First, click the default profile, click the Settings button, and deny all access to the drive or folder in question. Now click your own profile, click Settings, and allow full access. Note that you can’t deny access to system folders such as Documents or Pictures, “because it can lead to instability of the whole system.” Really, you don’t need this.
Devices. The Devices dialog lets you control just what devices can be used on your PC, and by which users. It’s similar to the device control component in G Data, but significantly more complicated. To start, you can control access for 10 device types, plus unknown devices. The list of types includes the expected disks, removable devices, and CD/DVD drives, as well as some unlikely ones like printers and tape drives. For each device category, you can allow access, block access, or ask the user.
Separately, you can limit the way devices connect to your PC. The same block, allow, or ask options are available for USB, Firewire, Serial bus, Bluetooth, and Infrared. Finally, you can make a list of devices that are blocked even though their category is allowed or, more likely, devices that are allowed even though their category is blocked. You can, for example, block the use of USB drives in general, but allow specific trusted ones. Is it worth the trouble? You’ll have to decide.
Autorun. Autorun protection works in two ways. You can globally enable or disable the autorun feature for all drives (which requires a reboot). Or you can modify removable media to prevent infestation by autorun malware. This second feature works only on drives formatted using the FAT32 system. Fortunately all but the biggest USB drives typically use FAT32.
By observation, autorun protection for drives consists of installing an autorun.inf file containing the line “Protected=TRUE.” I had no trouble modifying or deleting the file. I don’t see how this feature could protect a USB drive from infestation by USB-centric malware. Panda’s similar feature actively prevents any modification.
TrustPort Total Protection Sphere (2017) includes everything found in TrustPort Internet Security Sphere, but that’s not saying a lot. I rated the entry-level suite two stars. Of the added features in this mega-suite, only the encrypted file storage and associated file shredder are truly useful to the average user. The other bonus features don’t solve common problems. Even in a business setting, where they might be more useful, they remain unduly complex.
If you’re looking for a mega-suite with all the features you could imagine, look instead to our two Editors’ Choice products for this product type. Either Bitdefender Total Security or Kaspersky Total Security will do you a lot more good.
Note: These sub-ratings contribute to a product’s overall star rating, as do other factors, including ease of use in real-world testing, bonus features, and overall integration of features.