While 2011 is not even halfway through, security software vendors have been working on the new line of products, for year 2012. BitDefender is no exception. They already issued the private beta for their Total Security 2012 suite and the next step is to make it available for a larger audience, so that a wider pool of bugs and issues is collected and fixed.
As far as security software is concerned the trend continues to be slick-looking, minimalist designs with as few knobs as possible for easy manipulation. Simplicity is the keyword for creating the new interface of BitDefender Total Security 2012 and the way it installs on the system.
Ditching user profiling was the best way to keep to the trend and this is exactly what BitDefender did for their 2012 Total Security suite. The result consists in a much faster installation routine and an easier to handle the interface, since all its menus are within easy reach.
However, even if installation time has been trimmed considerably for this edition of the suite, we still faced some hurdles on our way to completing the procedure. Windows halted the process when some drivers had to be installed and BitDefender also put the progress on pause task and asked to close Firefox, Opera and Thunderbird in order to install its root certificate.
Looks have been redesigned from scratch and the company chose to go with the “black interface” style adopted by other developers in the branch as well, Symantec and Panda being two of them.
The interface is not the only major change in the bundle, though. BitDefender introduces some new technologies in this version, with the purpose of shortening scan times, reducing the number of alerts the user has to deal with, improved behavioral engine and virus removal. Web protection is achieved through TrafficLight which also features the possibility to run the browser in a virtualized environment.
Furthermore, you will benefit from RescueMode
, a feature that allows the engine to scan and remove malware such as rootkits before booting into Windows. The introduction of Scan Dispatcher should act on scheduled scans so that they occur when resource usage is under a certain threshold; this way scanning will not affect your work on the computer.
Just like in the previous editions of the suite, prior to starting the installation process a scan will be performed. This won’t take long and the process will soon move to the next steps of the routine: downloading the application files, putting them on the system and starting the services.
At a first look at the dashboard one would think that they dropped some of the components, but if you check the menus you’ll trace the goods present in the 2011 edition. Modules have been condensed and their number reduced to nine, but guaranteed you will not use all of them, since Update section can run in set-it-and-forget-it mode; also, antispam and firewall require less and less attention as you use them.
The interface fits only four modules in a single view, and it cannot be resized for a fuller picture of all the components. But the flexibility of the frame allows you to drag the menus in any position you want so you can organize them according to their importance or usage frequency. BitDefender Total Security 2012
is a very complex suite in respect to the amount of modules and security layers it puts at your disposal. Besides the regular sections specific to security suites it also brings to the table a set of system optimization instruments.
The complete bundle contains the antivirus, the firewall, antispam, parental controls, privacy control, backup section, and optimization module and network management. Each of them carries sub-modules that expand the functionality.
As you will notice, the dashboard gives you access to the most basic options, such as starting a specific type of scan, checking network traffic details, enabling/disabling the firewall and parental controls, starting backup operation or optimization procedures.
But if you dig deeper into the options of the modules you’ll find for instance that antivirus section can also scan for vulnerabilities (outdated applications, system updates). Antispam protection has been improved by appealing to cloud-based service for more efficient blocking of unwanted messages.
Secure web navigation relies on the services consolidated in TrafficLight
, which includes ad filtering, antiphishing, anti-malware and a search advisor (shows if the search results in engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo! are safe to click). However, the latest build we received did not show the tool in any of the web browsers we tested (Internet Explorer
, Google Chrome
). Parental Control
part of the bundle remained largely the same, offering customization settings for each of the six preset profiles.
looks simplified at a first glance, but you can edit the automatically-created rules governing the applications at any time, in case something does not function as it should. Also, you get to view the entire network activity in real time and set the sensitivity on a three-level scale from permissive to normal to aggressive. Tune-Up module
brings a hefty set of system optimization tools. They can get rid of redundant files on the system, defragment the drives or identify outdated entries in Windows Registry.
The improvements in BitDefender Total Security 2012
are not limited to the refreshed interface and cramming various instruments under a smaller number of modules. Despite the huge gathering of tools and services the application no longer feels heavy. It is quite nimble when executing commands and wait times are definitely shorter when scanning.
When in Auto Pilot
mode the suite will run silently and you won’t deal with any sort of notification. Every decision is automatic and it is based on the currently enforced rules and the internal database with info on applications. The actions can be reviewed by consulting the “Events” screen on the dashboard.
All actions and events are recorded and if the suite made the wrong choice and blocked a valid process, you can instruct it to be allowed in the future. However, in our case this did not work and we’re putting this on account of the beta stage of development.
Our share of problems with the application was a hefty one. The worst experience made us turn to Windows’ abilities to restore the system to a previous state as plenty of important startup processes failed to deploy.
Putting the suite on a clean test machine did not exempt us from trouble. At one point our instance of Chrome no longer worked and we found that it had been blocked by Total Security automatically because it labeled it as a potential malicious file. But it must have been an early glitch because we could not replicate the effect on the latest build we received from BitDefender. The Good
BitDefender Total Security 2012 may seem like the old product in new clothing, but the general feel is that of a nimble suite prepared to gain the trust of its users.
Improvements range from cosmetic changes to a faster installation process and the auto pilot mode which transfers the decision-making process to the application itself.
When it worked, TrafficLight was pretty unobtrusive and quite fast, results of the scan being displayed in about a second for all the links on the page. The Bad
The application is in an early beta stage development and shows plenty of glitches. It also features buttons for functions yet to be implemented. We also experienced IDS turn off by itself as soon as we closed the application window (the effect is not the same if you minimize it instead). The Truth
Overall, BitDefender Total Security 2012
proved to be quite stable during our tests, as its worst moments consisted in stopping the security service and asking for its restart and the interface crashed out of the blue a couple of times. We also noticed that not all the buttons function properly.
The current edition adopted a fresh, new look which features better manageability and easier access to the main options of the modules.Note:
The application is still under development and it may show instability. As it is still work in progress it will be awarded the default 3-star rating from Softpedia which does not reflect our real appreciation of the suite.