A major concern for most computer owners is Internet Security. With a number of potential products available to the consumer, the Bitdefender Internet Security 2016 as one of the leading antivirus solutions in the market demands some consideration. Historically, Bitdefender has obtained several high remarks from PC World and AV-Test Institute, and the 2016 version builds on the product’s past successes.
The intent of any security program is to protect while running silently in the background. The only time users want to know the program is active is when a significant threat is imminent. Bitdefender utilizes proprietary technologies in machine-learning to process collected data from across the world to find malicious patterns. This information is communicated back to the local program to enable detection without requiring the user to make security related decisions. This work is completed with very low impact to a computer’s performance, even during active scanning.
Installation of Bitdefender is relatively quick with a download of the install program and the actual program. While some custom options are available to users for installing the program, a standard install is automatic and requires no input from users. An account is required to use the program on a system or users can sign in using Facebook, Google or Microsoft credentials. The download process includes an initial quick scan of the system which may vary installation times for specific users.
User Interface and Scans
The Bitdefender interface is intuitive with options to initiate a quick scan, system scan or vulnerability scan. The Autopilot feature is automatically enabled upon installation and performs these scans automatically for the user: however, users may disable the Autopilot feature in the Bitdefender interface. For more customization, users may go to Modules at the bottom of the interface to view and change default setting for Bitdefender. Modules are divided into three categories: Protection, Privacy and Tools.
The quick scan took less than a minute to complete. A full system scan took over an hour to complete on the same computer which was expected. Unexpected was the impact on other running processes. Past experience with full scans in Norton and McAfee suggests running system scans during off hours because too many system resources were required to perform the scan. With Bitdefender, the imprint on system resources is nominal and allows users to continue working without any apparent performance problems. Vulnerability scans will typically look for missing security patches. Bitdefender takes an extra step to allow identify weak passwords and other potential vulnerabilities.
Bitdefender Central is a personal webpage accessible through the Bitdefender interface. The webpage acts as a hub to manage Bitdefender on multiple devices including smartphones and tablets. Bitdefender Central also helps to report and manage computer and Internet use by multiple users: a feature useful to parents.
The newest feature on Bitdefender Internet Security is protection against ransomware: a new threat where personal files are encrypted or deleted remotely and held ransom. Bitdefender enables users to identify the specific areas where this protection is focused. This can be done by accessing Modules at the bottom of the Bitdefender interface. Ransomware protection is turned off by default which is the program’s first major setback. Once the protection is turned on, the typical list of Windows files, i.e. Documents, OneDrive, Pictures, etc., are automatically included in the protection list. Users then add and delete files from this list. In addition, users need to decide to initiate ransomware protection when booting. In addition to these new feature, Bitdefender Internet Security has features typical to most security programs these days: anti-phishing, anti-spam, etc.
A next-generation firewall is utilized to detect intrusions and filters incoming and outgoing traffic, even over wireless connections. The purpose of a firewall is simple – it prevents vital information on the computer from leaking and prevents malicious attacks. Most security programs utilize some firewall, in fact, Windows has its own firewall capability: often these programs require the user to make decisions on network permissions in the form of popups. Bitdefender will make such decisions for users by granting access to an unknown program and monitoring the program’s behavior. Any malicious activity will pull Bitdefender into action. Tech-savvy users may manually manage rules used in the firewall by going into Bitdefender’s settings. Otherwise, users may simply allow Bitdefender to make the decisions based on large amounts of data gathered and analyzed by the company.
Intrusion Detection offers three levels of protection against attack. The default level is Permission and protects against malware drivers being added. Medium protection prevents attempts to inject malicious DLLs into legitimate programs running on users’ systems. Aggressive level will monitor potential information leaks and keylogging attempts. For users, the major difference between these three levels is the number of alerts generated as more popups will occur as intrusion detection is more aggressive. By leaving the program in its default lowest level, no popups will be generated; however, advanced forms of malicious attacks will not be detected. Limitations on the number of popups generated allows users to work without interruption.
Parental Advisor logs information about a child’s computer and Internet use, including time spent online, websites visits, interests and social behavior. Bitdefender will ask for the child’s name, gender and birthdate, as well as the child’s device. Once setup, the program will monitor all activities by the child and provide a summary of activity to the parent through Bitdefender Center. Parents may also block children from using specific applications and websites. Websites are identified though 42 categories: half of which are blocked by default. A parent can block calls and text from certain friends or identify safe and restricted locations for their child. Bitdefender has a monitoring application to view a child’s Facebook account, if the parent has the child’s credentials or permission to monitor.
The agencies mentioned perform tests against similar products in the marketplace. Results typically rank these products with Bitdefender rising to the top in most categories.
Help and Support
Technical support for Bitdefender is regulated to FAQs and email ticket system. During testing, technical support was not required which demonstrates the program’s ease of use. Most questions about the product exist in the FAQs available on Bitdefender’s website. However, several message boards or comment sections identify a potential lack of customer support in specific cases.
Recommended requirements for installing Bitdefender Internet Security are:
- Operating system: Microsoft Windows 7(SP1), Microsoft Windows 8, Microsoft Windows 8.1, Microsoft Windows 10
- CPU: Intel CORE 2 Duo (2 GHz) or equivalent processor
- Memory (RAM): 2 GB (Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Windows 8, Microsoft Windows 8.1, Microsoft Windows 10)
- Available free hard disk space: 2 GB free space (at least 800 MB on hard system drive)
Internet Explorer 10 is required, but Bitdefender will integrate with the following programs:
- Yahoo Messenger 9 and higher
- Skype 6.3 and higher
- Mozilla Firefox 14 and higher
- Google Chrome version 20 and higher
- Thunderbird 14 and higher
- Outlook 2007, 2010, 2013
- Outlook Express and Windows Mail on x86
Pricing and Licensing
Bitdefender Internet Security will typically run users $79.95, but the developer has marked down the price to $51.97. This price includes a one-year license for up to 3 different computers or Android devices. Subscriptions can be obtained for up to three years or 10 devices.
For protection and performance, Bitdefender is a leader in the Internet security market. With a proven track record, the program is reliable in meeting the needs of most users. Proprietary technologies in identifying potential threats before they happen makes Bitdefender a valiant guard to users’ privacy and protection. Any missteps in default settings or customer support are minimal in comparison to what is being provided. The greatest attraction to Bitdefender is its seamless and transparent running in the background. Its quiet presence is comforting and most welcome compared to the sometimes intrusive nature of other Internet security products.