If you are like me (a geek for life) then you probably remember growing up in the 90’s with computers. Anytime we got a new computer it always had the same types of software bundled with it, usually there was some audio/video apps in there, bundled games, some office software and then the big one – an anti-virus program! A lot has changed since the 90s, but some things find a way to stay the same – there are still unsavory hacker types out there trying to get access to your computer and mess with your data (and your day).
In the uncertain future world we find ourselves in, it is not always obvious which program we should entrust the security of our digital lives to – surely there must be something better to protect our computer to than a mere bundled security app, right? Today we are here to review just that – an alternative to the bundled anti-virus – there is new software available to save us from the likes of Norton, McAfee and the other antivirus softwares that have grown stale over the years. Today we are reviewing Bitdefender and their Total Security Software. Is there a better value here with more features? Let’s find out.
Who is Bitdefender?
First let’s talk a little bit about Bitdefender, some of you have heard of them and others have not – they are certainly not a new player in the security industry.
Bitdefender has risen through the ranks of anti-virus software over the years to win tons of awards in the security space. Bitdefender has been a trusted security provider since 2001. They have worked with government organizations, large enterprises, SMEs and private individuals across more than 150 countries. With over 1,600 employees, and a team of 800+ engineers and researchers, Bitdefender is one of the most innovative IT security software vendors in the world today.
The Setup – Installing Bitdefender
Let’s go step by step through the install process, so first like anything else, we get a .exe download (We are using Windows 10, but you can also download antivirus for Mac) – click on the bitdefender .exe file and launch the install process – after a short download we are off to the races – this entire process took only a few minutes to get everything installed (download speed depends on your connection of course).
After the installation files are downloaded from the server you just agree to the terms and hit the “Install” button and everything is done for you (rather quickly).
Installer runs through a few information tidbits about Bitdefender with some nice little icon designs.
Now that Bitdefender is installed just to keep things simple on our machine (and yours if you decide to give it a try) we just run the Start Device Assessment “wizard” and let Bitdefender do all the setup for us – pretty handy. So we grab a cup of coffee while it does all the hard work!
Bitdefender does a quick initial scan (took 2 1/2 minutes on our machine) of your files and makes sure there is nothing nasty already on your PC and after that you are all setup!
All in all it was super easy, and quick, to get Bitdefender setup and protecting our PC. I remember using these installers before in the past and it was always such a pain and took forever to do an initial scan – this was painless and welcome. Kudos to Bitdefender for this easy onboarding process! Can’t wait to dig into the rest of the features? Well let’s go!
Chock full of features, but before we dive into those let’s talk about what you don’t actively seek out – all the passive features that you don’t even notice! Bitdefender silently protects your PC in the background, since your computer makes constant pings to the outside world via your internet connection this is THE most important feature. Bitdefender logs these connections and if it finds the files on the other side being downloaded to your PC malicious it stops the transaction in it’s tracks – keeping your PC safe from malware and viruses seeking to do harm to your PC and it’s data.
Shady websites, files, viruses, malware, links, etc – all of it will be blocked the instant that Bitdefender smells something fishy. There is even ransomware protection which you might not even think you need, but just in case, there it is.
Nothing beats a physical backup of your data in terms of keeping it safe, but this is pretty close – don’t worry another minute about those irreplaceable files and customer data falling into the wrong hands.
We like the simple interface design Bitdefender’s dashboard has – all of the most important security features are easy to find and understand. The advanced settings are there for the uber geeks (don’t judge us) to customize the application to their hearts content. Speaking of geeky specifications, the performance hit that comes along with Bitdefender is negligible, we can hardly tell that it is running on our beefy machine, if there is any impact on your machine it would probably be a very low percentage of performance decline in day to day operation. If your PC is feeling bloated there is even a Windows Optimizer utility where you can clean up your file system and registry files in order to get a snappier performance out of your PC.
So far Bitdefender has been a breeze to setup, and isn’t hindering our productivity, might even be enhancing it – but how does it perform overall? Let’s find out!
Antivirus & Protection
We already talked about the initial scan and how fast it was, we didn’t encounter any offending software or apps in our initial setup, but we did play around with some known virus files and fishy sites and Bitdefender was able to squash the offenders efficiently! When it comes to real-time defense we are very pleased with our tests and the software quickly disposed of all e-threats at lightning speed. Anything we threw at it be it spyware, viruses, or even zero-day exploits (worms and Trojans too) just quarantined and went away! Bitdefender is also adept at handling ransomware (as we mentioned) and rootkits.
We tested on a Windows 10 PC but as we mentioned the software works on Mac computers as well, there is even support for android devices which is great since that world is increasingly under attack from hackers and data thieves, it’s good to be able to get support for multiple devices that you actually have a need to protect. We also noticed that the initial installer had added Bitdefender’s Anti-Tracker extension, and Wallet (a secure password manager) to Google Chrome – very fancy.
Bitdefender as a VPN
This was a welcome feature that we did not expect to see, a built in VPN. We have used many VPNs in the past as you know and this one just works, is bundled with the antivirus software, and that makes it so easy to use. The daily limit is 200 MBs which is not bad at all and resets every day. You can modify your subscription to get a higher limit but for a basic entry keeping the plan cost into account this is a good value for browser privacy through a VPN.
Speeds when testing VPN connections were good but after playing around with it this VPN feature is still awesome, but probably isn’t a replacement for your dedicated VPN service although it looks like they’ll expand this feature in the future since what is already there is good for a freebie in a security suite.
While we had zero issues with the product it appears they have a robust support system in place for those that do have issues or need further help in your setup or implementation of the software. You get access to support via Bitdefender’s existing support team which includes live chat, email and phone. I will venture to say that is quite generous and better than more other companies offer for, well, just about ANY product. So kudos to them to dedicating so much of their time and resources backing a great product.
As we always like to end our reviews, our opinions are only used to inform your decisions so you don’t HAVE to try out the software but our review is never a replacement for YOUR preferences and opinions for yourself. So we always encourage everyone to try out the product for yourself if possible, and in this case it is possible! Bitdefender offers a 30 day trial that would be great to pickup and give it a go just to make sure the software serves your needs and requirements.
While good habits and common sense can get you pretty far in terms of protecting your computer, today the internet is a wild place, and we can all use the peace of mind that comes from a security software suite such as Bitdefender. Having had some hands on time with the software we can clearly see it’s value and it is an easy recommendation from us – go give it a try and protect your PC with this software!
Plenty of extras come along with Bitdefender that make it shine, but those frills pale in comparison to the main selling point which is top notch antivirus and data protection from viruses, malware, ransomware, phishing, you name it. Robust firewall security is what Bitdefender is selling and they deliver on that promise at a fair price considering it’s ability to protect over a range of devices with additional features for Windows systems and protection that extends to macOS, Android, and (to an extent) iOS devices.
What are your thoughts on Bitdefender? Have any recommendations? Leave your feedback in the comments below and thanks for reading!