Bitdefender Internet Security 2013 review
The Bitdefender website quotes £35 for a three-PC licence for this software, but shop around and you can get it at close to half price. That’s a bargain considering what you get.
To start with, Bitdefender Internet Security 2013 achieved an exceptional 100% score across all of AV-Test’s zero-day malware tests. That’s a perfect protection record against never-before-seen threats – a feat equalled only by F-Secure and Trend Micro. Bitdefender fared spectacularly well against older malware, too, with a 99% protection rate.
The installer sets up a Linux-based rescue environment on your hard disk, so you can scan for malware from outside of Windows, without messing around with boot CDs. In tests, the software restored compromised systems to their pre-infection state with a 94% success rate.
Bitdefender ticks every feature box, from anti-spam to parental controls. Its firewall lets you create custom rules by application or type of connection, and the intrusion-detection system flags attempts to install rogue drivers, tamper with Windows, or change system settings. A vulnerability scanner checks for missing updates to your operating system and applications, and warns if accounts have weak passwords.
Browser integration is low-key, with no visible toolbar or buttons, but try to visit an untrusted website and an interstitial page appears, giving you the option of turning back or opening a sandboxed browser. On sensitive sites, such as banks and online retailers, you’ll be prompted to use the new Safepay feature – a specially secured browser designed to lock transactions away from keyloggers, screen scrapers and man-in-the-middle attacks.
Bitdefender also places reputation indicators next to search results in Bing, Google and Yahoo, and you can have your Facebook wall and Twitter stream scanned for dangerous apps and links to keep you safe from social networking scams.
With so many features at hand, the interface is slightly convoluted. You have to scroll left and right to access all of the controls, or to access the new Overview panel and drill down into a particular area of the program. Some features, including parental controls and the Safebox backup feature (which provides 2GB of free space), must be accessed via a separate web-based dashboard.
Yet this doesn’t wreck the experience. Bitdefender defaults to its trademark Autopilot mode, which silently protects your privacy and safety with as little user interaction as possible. Novices who don’t want to go hunting for settings and options can enjoy full protection without getting their hands dirty.
Resource efficiency isn’t Bitdefender’s strong suit. On our test laptop it added 16 seconds to boot time, with an undistinguished memory footprint of 172MB. Ultimately, though, we feel that’s a reasonable compromise when you’re receiving excellent malware protection, and a comprehensive feature set, at a price that shames Bitdefender’s paid-for rivals.