Welcome to my latest 2012 internet security review in which I look at BullGuard Internet Security 12.
- Very good at blocking malware
- PC Tune Up is good at what it does
- 5 GB of hosted online backups
Bullguard Internet Security 12 is a quick installation with the initial files coming in at a fairly modest 23 MB:
During the installation the program handily checks which version of Windows you are running and installs the appropriate files.
Bullguard Internet Security has the following system requirements:
- Windows XP (SP2) / Vista / 7
- An internet connection
- 512 MB of RAM
- 200 MB of available hard drive space
Installation and first impression
As I mentioned before, installation of this program is very quick and it will automatically detect which version of Windows you are running. A quick scan is automatically run as part of this installation process and, assuming all is well, you will firstly be greeted by a screen like the one above giving you the good news that your computer is safe.
After this you are free to run scans or check out the control panel:
As you can see in the Control Panel screenshot above, Bullguard Internet Security 12 divides it’s functions into 4 main groups, namely:
- PC Protection (antivirus/firewall/spam filter/vulnerabilities)
- Data Protection
- Family Protection
- PC Tune Up (the all important Game Mode can be found here)
In terms of effectiveness Bullguard Internet Security 12 is a bit of a mixed bag.
An internet security program is obviously installed in order to provide multiple types of protection but the main component is still the antivirus side of things. I found that the program did well at blocking known viruses that I threw its way but wasn’t so good at detecting some newer samples I tried.
I’m also sure there were a significant number of false positives too. For example, the image below shows that it has detected Cookie.2o7 as malware. As far as I am aware that it is simply a cookie used by an advertiser – sure you may not want it on your system – but it isn’t a virus by any means.
Resource usage is also an issue. This isn’t the most sluggish internet security suite I’ve ever used but there were noticeable periods of system slowdown whilst a scan was in progress. As one commentator on a previous post mentioned, you can get around this issue by scheduling scans for the middle of the night if you wish but how many ‘average’ computer users would want to leave their PC on overnight?
The firewall that comes with this program is suspect too. If you go back to the Settings screen then you will see that there is a tick box for Self Protection. Ticking this should Allow Bullguard to protect its components against termination.
So its a shame that doesn’t work too well!
It will stop someone using Ctrl + Alt + Del to go into Task Manager and kill the program but other, not particularly difficult, techniques can be employed to switch the firewall off. A simple Registry tweak can render this firewall completely redundant and that is a trick I would imagine even the newest of malware writers could execute.
Its not all doom and gloom though.
The Data Protection element is very good, offering 5 GB of online backup space which is better than most of the competition. This free storage space can be used to host backups of your most important files and Bullguard Internet Security will remind you to configure this service whenever you start the program. You get a lot of control over what is backed up, how often and when or if backups are deleted or updated. You can also encrypt or compress you backups.
The other high point of this program is the PC Tune Up section. Here you can check for unnecessary files on your computer which can then be got rid of. Likewise, you can easily clear out temporary Windows files and temporary internet files too. You can’t undo anything here though so do please check that you know what you are getting rid of!
Plus and minus points
Bullguard Internet Security 2012 is very good at some things and so-so at others in my opinion.
The backup and PC tune up options are great. It is unfortunate, however, that the program is less convincing in areas such as virus detection and the firewall as these surely have to be a far, far bigger selling point of such a program.
This internet security suite isn’t bad by any means but my opinion is that a potential purchaser would and should want a better antivirus engine and firewall option.
I like the backup side of things, the PC Tune Up and the clean and simple interface. If Bullguard can keep those and improve on the core components then they may be able to produce a top product for next year but I don’t think they have it quite right just now.
For me that is a great shame as the guys at Bullguard offer great support and the chaps(girls?) behind their Twitter account are knowledgeable, informative and totally likeable. Heres hoping Bullguard #13 realises the potential that this program hints at.
Do you want to see what the other vendors are offering this year? If so, read my other 2012 Internet Security reviews.