- An absolute beast of a program, but a real beauty too
- AutoPilot makes it suitable for beginners as well as experienced users
- Does a great job of spotting, blocking and removing the bad stuff
- Not as demanding on system resources as last year’s version was
- SafePay for extra security when banking online
A few weeks ago BitDefender released their new 2013 branded home security products. I’ve already looked at the antivirus and internet security programs so today I’ll be finishing off with the Total security suite. Considering how much I like the other two programs, I have extremely high hopes for this one too. Are they warranted…
Will it run on my PC?
The minimum suggested system requirements for this program are as follows:
- Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8
- 800 Mhz Processor or quicker
- 1 GB of RAM or more
- 1 GB or more of RAM (2 GB recommended)
Is it easy to install this program?
Other than for the fact that you have to have a ‘MyBitDefender’ account, yes, it is pretty easy to install this program.
You may be downloading for a minute or two and making a couple of mouse clicks but beyond that there are no complications at all. You will, however, have to log into or create a special account -
As part of the installation process you will need to sign into a new or existing ‘MyBitDefender’ account. Creating such an account is easy and you can even login with your Google or Facebook credentials.
As you can see in the image above, your account gives access to some of the more intriguing features, such as Anti-Theft (more on that later).
What is the user interface like?
As long as you don’t mind white text on a black background (I do, but the program is too good to mark down for that) then you will find the interface pretty clean and straightforward. The colouring doesn’t stop at black and white though – there is also a splash of green as you can see below. This means all is well and my computer is well protected. Should that colour change it may mean I have minor issues to resolve (amber) or something serious to attend to immediately (red).
Back to the interface itself and you’ll see that the key components are laid out through the middle. Beneath these 4 sections you may also notice a slider which is a handy means of navigating to the other areas of this security suite.
Further up the screen you’ll see AutoPilot (more on that further down the page), Settings and Events.
The settings allows you to get into the program in a bit more detail and this area may appeal more to those who are more familiar with computers and/or these sorts of program. The events, as it sounds, is a list of things that have happened since the program was installed, be it updates or minor points of interest that you should take a look at.
What features does the program offer?
BitDefender Total Security 2013 comes packed with features. Lots of features.
For starters, there is everything that can be found in the company’s antivirus program:
- USB immunizer
- search advisor
And then there are the extra features from the internet security program:
- parental control
- two-way firewall
And then there are a few more additions specific to this suite as well:
- device anti-theft
Here is a little more info on some of the most important features -
The antivirus component, as you would imagine, offers a range of scanning options such as a Quick Scan (very slow on first use but improves over time), Custom Scan (configure it how you want it), System Scan (slow but very thorough), Vulnerability Scan (checks passwords, etc – see last image to see how it flagged up a couple of mine that I had made deliberately weak), Removable Device Scan (USB Immunizer) and Rescue Mode (allows a Linux reboot which is useful for getting rid of pesky viruses and rootkits).
Whichever one of those modes you use will utilise something called the Smart Scan system which means that any files that have been scanned recently (and flagged as safe) will be skipped. This means that valuable system resources will be saved during the scanning process.
Tune-up is a feature that is unique to this Total Security program. As you can see in the image below, it leads to several different options, namely:
- PC Clean-Up
- Disk Defragmenter
- Duplicate Finder
- Registry Cleaner
- Registry Recovery
Safebox is another component of this suite that cannot be found in any of the other security offerings from BitDefender this year. In essence it is encrypted online storage and you can read all about it in one of my previous posts - here.
Search advisor is pretty standard fare in security programs these days. With it running, you will see something like the image below when you search for something online. As you can see, all the results returned for my search for “Google” have a green tick next to them. This means those links are perfectly safe and you should have no worries about clicking on them. If, however, you see a red cross… I’m sure you know what that means!
This feature is something that BitDefender brought out in their programs last year and it is very good indeed if you are the sort of person who realises the need for protection but doesn’t want to spend a lot of time learning how to use their new program.
As ever the delectable Kymmy says, maybe even a teddy bear could use it:
First things first, I should point out that in my experience some of the firewall features, i.e. the intrusion detection system, were set as off when I first installed the program. If you are someone who likes to tinker with their security software then you may want to check this and other settings soon after installing the program. Alternatively, if you are running on AutoPilot then you probably won’t have to concern yourself with the firewall at all.
Overall the firewall is pretty good in my opinion and won’t bug you with messages every few seconds whenever an application attempts a net connection. That is, unless you run the paranoid mode! If you get into this section and know what you are doing then there are many options you can play around with and configure just how you want. There doesn’t, however, seem to be any way to specify certain ports on a per application basis.
BitDefender SafeGo has been available as a standalone program for some time now but you will find it bundled here for ease of use.
It can be used to enhance your security on two of the most popular social networking sites – Facebook and Twitter (I wonder if anyone will come up with something similar for Google +) – by scanning shared links, friends and followers and posts to see if any people or content pose a threat to you. Having used it myself on occasion I can tell you that you may be surprised by what it flags up – there are definitely some dodgy people using those sites!
This is a brand new feature for 2013 – a secure browser designed specifically to protect you whilst you conduct your online banking. Not only is it for use with your online bank but you can use it with other sensitive web sites too, such as the site associated with your credit card or for online purchases.
SafePay gives you a secured connection which protects you from malicious activity and there is also a virtual keyboard you can use for entering PIN numbers and other crucial information. This prevents your details being stolen via keyloggers.
This component will recognise many banking web sites and you can also add your own too if needed.
You can set up, configure and monitor parental controls through your MyBitDefender account that you created as part of the installation process.
Once you have created one or more accounts you can configure and monitor many features such as what your child is browsing on the web, Facebook and, would you believe, even phone calls if your kid has an Android phone and the right app.
Anti-theft is the main selling point for all those Android security programs out there right now. Or at least in my opinion it is – I actually think this aspect is far more important than anti-malware on such devices right now. For that reason it is good to see it available here.
Of course it may not be suitable for all users – most of you can expect not to lose your big chunky desktop PC (though it is possible). More likely, your netbook or laptop could be lost or stolen though.
With anti-theft you may be able to find it though – sign into MyBitDefender and select the device you want to track. You’ll then see a map which will be much clearer than the one above (I’ve hidden my location as I am at home right now), along with a description of the device’s location.
In my case the reported location gave the correct street along with a range of 6 possible door numbers. None of those were actually correct, but they were pretty damn close – 2 houses away in fact! Armed with that sort of accuracy you/the police (as the case may be) would have little difficulty in tracking your lost device.
Will it keep me safe?
I’ve still not seen any conclusive independent analysis of the new 2013 range from the big independent labs yet but my own testing, plus the consensus of most of the reports I’ve seen elsewhere on the web are that this program is pretty damn good indeed.
The core aspect of detecting, blocking and removing viruses and other malware works very well. The huge number of extra features that you get in a package like this will all combine to aid you in your defence against just about every other threat imaginable.
This is a very, very good program packed with features that you may never previously have know you needed! Expert users will find much to configure as they see fit whilst less confident people can turn on the trusty AutoPilot.
The main aspects to consider if you are weighing this up against the competition is it’s ability to deal with traditional threats well, combined with the new features such as SafePay and anti-theft which may really make a tremendous difference to some users.
I really do like the entire 2013 lineup from BitDefender. All three of their security programs get the job done and should protect you very well indeed in many different ways.
Keen observers may note that this and the Internet Security program get the full 5 stars whilst Antivirus only gets 4.5. Why is that? Purely because I think that the security suites offer a whole lot more for just a few more dollars – if you’re going to buy a security program then you may as well get the full works if it will only set you back a small amount more than the AV program, don’t you think?
- from $69.95