|Bitdefender Internet Security|
Bitdefender has an enviable reputation for its AV engine and markets it in several different versions. The core AV product is available as Antivirus Plus, but Bitdefender Internet Security adds in several other useful tools and protections. You can pick the number of machines you want to protect and the length of the licence, from three to ten PCs and one to three years.
Installation is straightforward and, as usual with AV products, Bitdefender scans your system before installing. If you’re running Windows Vista or 7, it installs a widget, as well as its main control panel.
Rating charts of the industry’s best Internet security software are only complete with Bitdefender’s solution represented, otherwise an inalienable component is unjustifiably torn off to ruin the true concept of the competition. A little over a decade of the Company’s malware combating endeavors is not the longest we’ve seen, but the achievements and the recognition gained are more than commendable.
Bitdefender Internet Security is a cyber monster-truck on a digital highway crammed up with challenges, threats and dangers. Sticking to the slogan ‘AWAKE’, meaning that it’s constantly on the lookout for menaces, it was made to literally smash viruses you stumble upon, and provide all-embracing protection against the online side of cybercrime: phishing scams, spam, hacker attacks, social networking fraud, and more of the unfortunate facets of the present-day worldwide web.
Even more, the software accommodates tools to remotely handle unauthorized physical access to all the other devices protected by Bitdefender; provides secure browsing environment for financial transactions; includes extensively customizable parental control; delivers a rigid two-way Firewall; enables shredding sensitive files beyond recovery; and allows tuning your machine’s performance to ensure silent security without lags.
The solution being reviewed uses an antivirus technology recognized as #1 by AV-TEST for the year. Bitdefender is also the owner of AV-Comparatives Advanced+ award in multiple lab tests. More distinctions include PC Mag’s Editor’s Choice, VB100, and positive mentions in numerous reviews, including ours.
The widget gives quick access to several status displays, with security events in the top quadrant, progress of scans and updates in the two side ones and a link to the Bitdefender Web site at the bottom. The central section shows current status and active scans. As a final goody, you can drag any file onto the widget for a quick instant scan, to check its safety.
The main display shows a bar at the top with details of current issues, plus a switch for the Autopilot function and a button for settings. Autopilot is Bitdefender’s automated system, where it decides what to do about settings and threat handling, so avoiding pop-ups asking for individual decisions.
The main area of the display is taken up by four panels which by default show Antivirus, Antispam, Privacy and Firewall status with buttons and slide switches to do things like start a scan or switch the firewall off; only temporarily of course.
There are five more panels, which can be moved through, including Tune-Up, Safebox, Update, Safego and File Encryption. The settings button displays all nine panels at reduced size, leading through to separate controls for each element of the suite.
To highlight a few of the extras available in Internet Security, Tune-Up offers a monitor of all running applications, so you can see at a glance how much memory, CPU and system resources each is using. Safebox is an online backup facility, with 2GB available to share between your licences. Safego checks links from Facebook and Twitter, so you don't inadvertently go to infected sites, while File Encryption provides a vault for encrypted files you want to keep more securely.
One other utility, which is started separately from the desktop, is Safepay. This opens a secure browser to handle online banking transactions. It can hold a set of personal bookmarks for your bank, PayPal or other accounts, so they don’t have to be fed through your regular, possibly less-secure browser and also offers a virtual keyboard to guard against keyloggers.
Usability Test Results
We scanned our 30GB of mixed files using Bitdefender Internet Security and it took 20 minutes 10 seconds to inspect 50,844 files, which gives it a throughput of just over 42 files per second. This is the lowest speed we’ve seen, but because of the low file count, it finishes comparatively quickly.
We continue to be surprised by the variations in file counts between different AV applications. Some products have examined over 270,000 files on this selective scan, while this one marks less than one fifth of this number. It depends, of course, on the algorithms used to assess which files are potential malware hosts and which, because of their type, are never going to be a risk. Our results suggest BitDefender is particularly good at picking between the two.
The performance footprint of the software is also pretty low. Comparing the copy times for our 2GB file copy with and without an AV scan running shows only an 11 per cent increase, the lowest we've seen.
Although there are no results yet available for the product, those produced by AV-Test for the previous year's engine are pretty remarkable. The low system load we saw is reflected in AV-Test’s Usability category, where the average slowdown for BitDefender was scored at 7, well below an industry average of 10. Adding in the number of false positives and false negatives, where there was only one in all of the testing, gave the software 5.5/6.0.
The Protection category, which looks at the level of security achieved with zero-day malware attacks, i.e. for new threats not previously protected against via malware signatures, scored the software at 5.5/6.0, too, but this hides the fact that it scored 98 per cent and 96 per cent in the two months of testing, where the industry average was just 88 per cent.
The final category, Repair, which looks at the detection of widespread malware, including rootkits, scored 100 per cent and only dropped two per cent in the removal of malicious components once the malware had been detected. Overall, this section scored a full 6.0/6.0, so the overall score for the product was an outstanding 17/18.
For those hesitating to pay the relatively high price of $69.95 right away (1-year license for up to 3 computers), Bitdefender provides the option of installing free trial to check out the effectiveness of the product, with subsequent opportunity to upgrade to the full version if desired. The stub installer you initially download is there to make sure you are getting the latest build available and the whole process runs smooth. Setup went hassle-free and implied a minimum of action on our end. Once installed, Bitdefender Internet Security works in the Autopilot mode, which means you won’t have to do any excessive configuring or decision-making as the software does it all for you.
At this point, you can explore the Security Widget providing quick access to a few essentials of protection, such as events, antivirus settings, firewall configuration; and allowing you to drag-and-drop individual files you want scanned. While some users’ feedback about this desktop widget is not too favorable, underscoring its large size and clumsiness, we find it quite handy and really informative. We only wish it provided a shortcut to the program’s main pane, which it doesn’t. However, Bitdefender’s system tray icon will do the trick and open up the GUI.
Even a quick glance at the interface suffices to realize that it’s clean and easy to understand. The large buttons linking to the primary features are convenient and perfectly accord with Windows 8 style, being particularly good for touch screens, too. Appropriate user awareness is contributed by the prominent security status bar on the top, with colors varying for different levels of protection. The main screen’s top section is also occupied by Events, Settings, and Autopilot components. Next to the window minimizing and closing buttons is MyBitdefender option which provides access to your account settings, the dashboard, and parental control features. The main menu is composed of the following sections: Antivirus, Privacy, Firewall, Tune-Up, Antispam, Safebox, Update, SafeGo, and FileEncryption, each opening up into a more detailed page for customization and task assigning.
With the default settings unaltered, Bitdefender’s impact on system productivity turned out somewhat tangible – not that the PC was freezing or performing generally slow, but CPU consumption would hump over 90% once in a while during scan or update tasks, and Windows boot times increased substantially. This issue is partially bypassable when Scan Dispatcher comes into play, or can be addressed through the use of Tune-Up feature which optimizes overall PC productivity. We found scanning with Bitdefender not to be lengthy for an application as powerful as that. On the other hand though, cleanup of an infected computer is typically a time-consuming process. In general, the usability benchmark is fairly good: setup causes no trouble, the interface is wonderfully balanced and comprehensive, and system performance is affected within reasonable bounds – though the latter is perhaps the weakest link here.
The toolkit hard-coded into Bitdefender Internet Security covers all facets you might possibly need protected when performing routine activities, and actually provides even more than that. You additionally get far-reaching privacy and social networking protection, as well as reliable defense when visiting e-commerce websites. Plus, the suite offers some options for improving the way your computer operates by delivering a number of performance enhancement opportunities.
In terms of protection, Bitdefender is in close competition with the industry’s flagship suites, which is certainly not by chance. Not only is it equipped with one of the most complete feature sets across the board, the software is also extremely reliable when it comes to actually detecting and eliminating the bad stuff. This has been verified by multiple labs whose reputation is out of the question.
Based on the recent lab test by the German AV-TEST IT-Security Institute, Bitdefender Internet Security scores 6 out of the total 6 points by both protection and repair. This means you can fully rely on this utility for guarding your PC from 0-day malware attacks, relatively new threats that emerged in the last couple of months, and widespread viruses, including rootkits and stealth malware. Given such stunning results, it would perhaps be fair to assume that there might be a side effect – false positives. Surprisingly, that’s not the case at all though: Bitdefender’s false alerts rate is below the industry average.
In AV-Comparatives’ latest malware removal test, the software got 94 points out of 100, gaining the Advanced+ rating, which we already mentioned in this review. Furthermore, Bitdefender didn’t fail to pass a single VB100 certification since 2010. Therefore, no doubt this suite will match and probably exceed your expectations while guarding you from viruses, spyware, spam, and identity theft attempts.
Help & Support
Bitdefender help is wonderfully structured and organized. It has it all: the FAQs, online knowledgebase, comprehensive User’s Guide, the Forum, online chat, and worldwide telephone support. Frankly, with the abundance of self-help options and their immaculate informative value, the need to reach customer service agents directly is not a likely probability here. And yet, live support is responsive and professional. All in all, we really admire the help emphasis and effort Bitdefender makes.
Consistently high lab results by all determinative criteria, overarching feature set, and unfailing dedication to the customer – these are the prominent facts that make Bitdefender Internet Security one of the flagship applications in its niche. Remarkably enough, all controls are made amazingly simple despite the inner sophistication this utility bears. As a wrap up, Bitdefender Internet Security provides hassle-free silent protection of premium quality.
What you're looking for in an Internet Security product is a solid core of anti-virus, antispam and web protection, coupled with useful extra facilities to help protect your PC against all-comers. This is pretty much what Bitdefender Internet Security does, with some of the best results we've ever seen from AV-Test and very good results in our own performance and usability tests. The extra features, such as Safepay, which helps protect your online transactions and Safego, which prevents spoofed links from social networks, are valuable and easy to use. It’s not the cheapest IS product you can buy, but it does combine technical power with a no-nonsense interface.