In 2011-2012 I conducted many reviews of antivirus and internet security programs and two companies stood out as offering the best level of protection for home users. One of those was BitDefender so I was extremely happy when Catalin Cosoi offered me the opportunity to test out a very early beta of their 2013 Total Security product.
As the program is a beta this won’t be like my other reviews where I check malware detection and removal, resource usage, etc as the results will not likely reflect what you will find with the final version. Instead I would just like to share some images and thoughts on what you will find when the program is released in the very near future.
This year’s program offers a large range of features, many of which you will be familiar with if you’ve used this sort of program before, and a few you may not have seen before. The key components are as follows:
- privacy controls
- file encryption
If you have used BitDefender products before then you’ll be very familiar with the screens above which look almost identical to the 2012 version of this program. Underneath the group of four modules is a slider which leads to further modules and this is an intuitive means of navigation, especially for those of you who are used to swiping the screen on your smart phone.
Talking of modules, you can also switch views to the one above which clearly displays all nine of them on screen at one time. As I said, this is a beta version so I won’t go into any of these in detail at this time but you should recognise and understand what many of them do.
There is also another almost identical screen which allows you to access the settings of those very same modules.
So what is new for 2013?
BitDefender Total Security offers up some brand new features as well as enhancements to old staples.
The first new feature you’ll likely come across is the widget you can see below. This Security Watchdog widget gives you very quick and easy access to a few key features:
- it displays your status and other important notifications
- you can quickly see any scanning or network activity that is running
- you get direct access to your MyBitDefender account
- you can drag and drop files directly onto the widget to initiate an instant scan
Another great new feature surrounds online banking.
When you visit your online bank web site a safe e-banking environment is automatically opened. Unfortunately, try as I might, I couldn’t get a decent screenshot of this in action but, basically, the program knows when you visit a banking site (it recognises most instantly but you can add your own if its not already known) and you also get the additional benefit of the virtual keyboard shown below. With this you can safely enter user names, account numbers and passwords without the worry of a keylogger copying that information.
Another interesting new feature is Anti-theft.
This is very similar to the feature you find in many mobile apps in that it will allow you locate a stolen computer and even lock it up or erase the hard drive. I’m not 100% convinced that this can be completely effective on a computer but there would certainly be some instances in which it could prove valuable.
Old features made new
Being a new version there have, of course, been improvements in some of the existing features.
For example, Parental Controls (not yet fully functional in this beta), will include a facility which will allow you to gain an insight into what your kids are doing on Facebook. You will also be able to view some comprehensive reports though your MyBitDefender dashboard.
Safebox has also been improved. The data that you backup can now be synchronised between different devices and you have the ability to share data with friends and family.
BitDefender Total Security 2013
Last year I looked at some BitDefender betas and they sucked in a big way. That said, the final retail versions went on to be mightily impressive indeed. This year, the beta I’ve looked at looks rather good. Its early days, and not everything is fully working yet, but I’m rather liking the program already. Its very simple to use and seems very smooth indeed (I’m led to believe that CPU and memory usage will be much improved on last year).
With some 450 or so people working on this year’s security programs I fully expect BitDefender to offer some of the best security programs once again in 2013. And just as soon as the final version comes out I’ll give it the full review treatment to see if I’m right.