Bitdefender Total Security 2013 Review

very good
key review info
application features
  • Antivirus and Antispyware
  • (12 more, see all...)

Bitdefender’s 2012 suite of products was definitely a game changer for the company as both looks and performance took a turn for the better. Generation 2013 seems to build up on the foundation laid down last year and adds up a few more modules as well as a bunch of changes designed to increase usability.

Total Security 2013 is the top of the line product for home users, the richest in features and modules, with protection options that transcend the digital threats, and with system optimization capabilities.

 The suite is available for a $79.95 fee (subject to geographical location) for up to three licenses valid for one year.

Installation is not too different from what we’ve seen in the previous release It is the same streamlined process that scans the system (cloud-based process), downloads the necessary files and installs them, all in one go.

Part of the procedure is checking the system for alternative antivirus solutions available on the system, and if found, you are prompted to remove them in order to continue the installation. At the end you have to go through a minimum of configuration that consists in enabling/disabling modules such as the Autopilot, automatic game mode and various protection filters (antispam, firewall and web).

The final step is to log into your personal Bitdefender account at mybitdefender.com. This is essential since it allows remote management for some services while others, such as parental controls, can be configured strictly from this online dashboard. If you do not want to create a new account you can use your Facebook or Twitter credentials.

The dashboard also gives you access to the freshly included protection module, Anti-Theft. It is designed to prevent the data on your mobile devices to be extracted if your laptop or netbook is stolen.

Anti-Theft is also available for Android devices, but for computers its options include localization, remote wipe and lock. On phones it can also send a message and sound an alarm.

During our testing we could successfully use the remote lock and wipe commands on our test laptops as well as desktops. Locking a mobile computer from the online console consists in typing in a four-digit number, which is required at the other end to cancel the command; otherwise, the activity is disrupted by a restart and the device is locked.

It’s a Windows pre-boot gate so this leaves little room for workarounds. Wiping works in the exact same way, but the command also runs a wiping algorithm for the entire hard disk.

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The suite preserves the same easy-to-use interface that lays no less than nine modules in panels you can navigate to by using the slide control at the bottom or the arrows at the sides of the application windows. However, these are not all the modules you can rely on in Bitdefender Total Security 2013 because Parental Controls and Anti-Theft have been moved to the online console.

Autopilot function is turned on by default. In this mode, interaction with the user is reduced to a minimum, all decisions taken automatically in the background. The user has access to all the events that have occurred and correct the bad actions.

The crux of the suite is the antivirus engine, designed to fend off all sorts of malware. Configuring it is a one-off stop, but for most of the users the default setup makes for great protection as it offers standard security and low use of computer resources.

For the seasoned user, there are customization options for on-access scanning so that the engine checks only applications or all the files, looks inside archives enable traffic scan (incoming/outgoing emails, IM and HTTP traffic) or verification of boot sectors as well as choose the action to be taken upon malware detection.

Besides the regular scan options (quick, full and custom), Bitdefender Total Security 2013 offers the possibility to check for system vulnerabilities (updates for Windows and important web-related applications as well as weak user account passwords).

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Rescue Mode is another scan type, which is actually a scan performed in a Linux-based operating system, completely independent from Windows. Once Rescue Mode is initiated, your system will restart and Bitdefender Rescue Mode will be available in the boot options. It integrates a file manager and a web browser, an older version of Firefox. This is the equivalent of Rescue CD featured in suites of the same feather.

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We did our detection and elimination tests using a database of 99, 298 malware samples. At the end of the scan, a batch of 24 965 threats still remained on the system. This adds to a ratio of detection and elimination of 74.86%.

The behavioral analysis engine (Active Virus Control) contributes to an increased detection ratio as we started launching remaining threats on the test computer. In our case it brought the value close to 80%.

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In-browser protection is carried out by the tools in the Privacy Control module. These can offer details about the safety of the search results (in all major browsers and search engines) as well as block access to phishing sites. During our tests, antiphishing protection showed 100% accuracy on a set of 30 freshest samples we could get our hands on.

Tucked in this module are the options for defining data protection rules that prevent personal information from being transmitted through email (SMTP), web (HTTP) and IM traffic.

Unauthorized incoming and outgoing connections are mitigated by the built-in firewall, which most of the time takes a silent stance even if the Autopilot is disabled. During our evaluation, it managed to stealth the ports and foiled attempts such as rootkit installation, direct access to physical memory or process injection; but it failed to reject actions such as dropping files in system32 folder or some forms of DLL injection. However, many of these would be picked up by the behavior analysis.

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New in this release is Safepay component, designed for carrying out online financial transactions securely. It is an isolated environment equipped only with a basic web browser that can store bookmarks and offers a virtual keyboard.

You can deploy the virtual space independently, but you can also be prompted to launch it when Bitdefender detects you navigate to an online banking site or online shop in any browser on your computer.

The options in Safepay let you choose the action when you navigate to a banking website: open it automatically, ask for permission or continue without using Safepay. The same choices are available for stored bookmarks.

Another benefit of this feature is protection for unsecured networks. When you connect to an unsecure network, the Hotspot protection kicks in, encrypting all Internet communication. For this to happen you have to log into MyBitdefender account from the Total Security window.

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During our tests we noticed that not all banking sites are detected and in some cases it opens multiple tabs of the same domain. On the upside, you can manually open it in order to safely execute sensitive transactions.

Parental Control module is no longer manageable from the application window of the suite. Instead, the developer gives you access to controls in the online dashboard (mybitdefender.com). Thus you can monitor and control the activity of a user from any device with an Internet connection.

Just like in the case of Anti-Theft, parental controls extend to Android phones, too, as long as the Bitdefender app is installed on the device. This gives you an overview of the SMS and calls of the user.

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The online console lets you impose web restrictions as well as block specific applications from launching on the protected computer. Predefined profiles, which can be customized, are also available for an easier set up. Overall it does a great job, although the commands are carried out with a delay of several minutes and in some cases websites may be mislabeled with the wrong category resulting in blocking an address perfectly suitable for the child.

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Additional modules available in the suite include system optimization tools (clean-up, defragmenter, duplicate finder, registry cleaner and recovery), file encryption and 2GB of cloud storage space through Safebox component (you get 2GB for backing up and synchronizing files between computers).


The Good

Bitdefender managed to include a huge set of security components as well as a bunch of tools for improving computer performance and file synchronization across multiple devices in package that does not take its toll on usability.

MyBitdefender dashboard offers parental controls, localization, computer locking and wiping services for multiple devices from any digital equipment with Internet access.

The components offer round the clock protection without issuing too many alerts, especially with Autopilot mode enabled.

The Bad

We encountered small glitches in some of the modules tested. Parental Control commands are executed with a delay and in some cases websites may be labeled with the wrong category, while Safepay is not initiated with all banking sites even if navigating to them is set to trigger the component.

 

The Truth

Bitdefender Total Security 2013 is not the perfect protection suite and it needs more polishing in some areas, but it does offer a wide range of layers of security that can keep you safe from a large variety of malware.

Furthermore, it is easy to use and the Autopilot mode ensures minimum disturbance, at the same time giving you the possibility to correct the wrong decisions.

Note: We have 10 licenses to give away for Bitdefender Total Security 20013. In order to win one of them you are expected to come up with a smart post, positive or negative, about the application in the comments section below.

The campaign will end on August 21 and the winners will be notified by the end of that week; needless to say that we need valid email addresses in order to contact you.


GIVEAWAY OVER
user interface 5
features 4
ease of use 5
pricing / value 4


final rating 4
Editor's review
very good
 

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