- Easy to use, especially if you engage AutoPilot
- Less demanding on your system than the 2012 version
- Excellent detection and removal of malware
- SafePay for increased security when online banking
Romanian security company BitDefender released their new antivirus and internet security range of home products on June 26th. Improvements on last year’s version are promised, including many new features which I shall detail below.
Having tried a beta version a couple of months ago I have high hopes but are they justified? Read on to discover my detailed impressions of BitDefender’s latest internet security program.
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?
Reasonably so, yes.
The installer only takes a couple of minutes to download and the installation process itself is fairly straightforward. At most, you will have to make a few mouse clicks and the install is fairly quick considering the program itself weighs in at around 200 MB.
The only real choice you will have to make will be between a standard or custom installation and the former will be sufficient for the vast majority of users. You’ll need to be connected to the internet during this process and can expect to be up and running with the program in less than quarter of an hour.
As part of the process you will need to either login to an existing BitDefender account or create a new one. You can login to this account with an email address and password of your choosing or via your Google or Facebook accounts if you have either of those. In any event the process is both quick and simple.
Once you’ve done this you’ll be able to configure the product to match your needs. This is done via sliders which can set each component to either ‘On’ or ‘Off’. With my installation everything bar anti-spam was switched on by default (anti-spam was possibly off because I don’t have email set up on my test machine at this time).
What is the user interface like?
Once you have configured BitDefender Internet Security 2013 you’ll be able to jump into the interface for the first time. Prior users of the company’s programs will see many similarities with last year’s version though there are also some new aspects too.
Most noticeable is the fact that it is more customisable than before.
The main interface, the one you will see below, is the heart of the program and it is from here that you can access every aspect that the program provides by scrolling through all the component areas or clicking on the buttons at the top (Events, Settings and AutoPilot).
You will also notice some colour coding here. In my case there is a nice splash of green which means everything is ok but you may also see yellow which would mean problems that need taking care of at your leisure. If you see red then you are
fu going to have to give the program your undivided attention for a few minutes as that means you have one or more urgent issues to contend with.
There is also another nice new touch here which is the security widget.
If you have minimised the main interface then you will see a little control panel on your desktop still, as per the image below:
What this does is it offers you a quick glance of some important security features, i.e. firewall status, scan activity and notifications. You can also click through to My BitDefender and launch the program proper.
When I had this on my desktop machine I though it was great but on my netbook it quickly became annoying because it seemed to occupy a large proportion of the screen. Nevertheless it was still handy at times and, I guess, would be fine, or at least better, on a laptop sized screen.
What features does the program offer?
If you look at the image below you will get a quick idea of the main features on offer here:
- Privacy Control
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.
Does what it says on the tin – the anti-spam feature will prevent dodgy emails even getting to your inbox. Works with Outlook 2007/10, Outlook Express, Windows Mail and Thunderbird.
This component of the program gives you access to the anti-phishing element as well as a secure file shredder.
Another fairly self-explanatory component is the firewall which will guard your networked PC from outside attack from hackers.
BitDefender SafeGo has been available as a standalone program for some time now but is 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 – 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!
One other feature that is well worth mentioning is AutoPilot which users of last year’s program will already be familiar with. It can be found, and switched on or off, via the top right hand corner of the main interface.
The great thing about this feature is that, when on, it needs no further user interaction in order to keep you safe. This is ideal for inexperienced computer users, or those who aren’t too comfortable with security software, as it will take the key security decisions out of your hands, thereby avoiding the chance of you messing up settings that you don’t understand!
Will it keep me safe?
Being such a new program means there are no independent reviews available just yet. Therefore, I decided to test it out against a large list of dodgy sites. BitDefender IS 2013 coped admirably and successfully detected everything I threw at it!
But this program isn’t just about blocking email or other viruses, it goes a lot further than that. One of the best new features is designed to protect you when you are involved in perhaps the most crucial task you may perform on your computer – online banking –
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.
I am really, really impressed with this program. I liked the 2012 version very much but this offers many significant improvements, the most important of which is probably SafePay. There is more to be excited about though as slight concerns from last year have been addressed too, namely resource usage which, thus far, seems to be much, much better.
Malware detection is great and Autopilot will be loved by those who feel daunted by security software.
If BitDefender have improved their customer service for home users (which wasn’t the worst by any means anyway) then I can confidently say that they have an unbeatable product on their hands this year.
If you are looking for a really good security program for the coming year then I seriously recommend that you check this one out first.
- from $49.95