All-in-one PC security suite BitDefender Internet Security 2008 puts in a distinctly mixed performance.

BitDefender Internet Security 2008 surpassed every other suite in the crucial malware-detection tests, picking up 98 percent of them. It unmasked every rootkit sample and was a good performer in separate spyware and adware tests.

But this stellar work was seriously marred by an unpleasant user experience. From aggravations with the initial installation to difficulties with warning pop-ups, BitDefender Internet Security 2008's flaws are hard to brush off.

BitDefender Internet Security 2008's heuristics detection figures are unmatched in our experience at a 29 percent catch rate and, along with Kaspersky Internet Security 7.0, it was the joint-fastest at responding to malware outbreaks (taking anything up to two hours).

Although superb at finding rootkits and other nasties, BitDefender Internet Security 2008 flagged several false positives, while its disinfectant wasn't as effective as some.

BitDefender Internet Security 2008 completely failed to remove changes to the Windows Registry. This is no minor concern – these can meddle with the smooth running of your PC.

BitDefender's firewall successfully masked a protected PC against outside scans, but displayed needless warnings when Firefox tried to access the internet.

There's a good array of secondary features, including antiphishing, parental controls, antispam and data privacy, but these extras could do with a bit of polish. BitDefender Internet Security 2008's browser-based antiphishing tool blocked no sites until we enabled the feature's heuristic detection, which is set to ‘off' by default.

Parental controls are similarly half-hearted, with no prompt to set a program password.

BitDefender Internet Security 2008's antispam features are limited to Outlook and Outlook Express, while Identity Control pushes you to create definitions for items such as credit-card information that you want to protect.

The BitDefender Internet Security 2008 suite was less than helpful when it found an email worm – it should have prompted us to delete the file but instead wrapped it in a ZIP file and ignored it.

NEXT PAGE: Test results, and our expert verdict > >

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All-in-one PC security suite BitDefender Internet Security 2008 puts in a distinctly mixed performance.

Test results

  • Overall score: 79 percent
  • User scan WildList threat: 100%
  • Real-time WildList threat: 100%
  • Back door: 96%
  • Bot/zombie: 98%
  • Trojan horse: 98%
  • Worm: 100%
  • Adware: 98%
  • Spyware (banking/password-stealing): 96%/96%
  • Heuristic (1-/2-month-old signatures): 28.5%/24.5%
  • False positives: 0.06%
  • Outbreak response time: up to 2 hours
  • Disinfecting malware and Registry: 30%
  • Active/inactive rootkit detection: 83%/100%
  • Rootkit removal: 83%
  • Behavioural and heuristic detection/behaviour-only detection and blocking: 100%/none
  • Prevention and detection of malware/with Registry value removal: none/20%
  • Changes made by Google Desktop: flagged, but action could be denied
  • Incorrectly flagged Windows Update changes: no
  • Additional features: web-based antiphishing, IM traffic support, parental controls, data privacy, wi-fi network protection, scheduled system scanning

For the latest PC security news, reviews, tips and tricks, visit Security Advisor.

BitDefender Internet Security 2008: Specs

  • Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4/XP with Service Pack 2 (32/64 bit)/Vista (32/64 bit)
  • Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4/XP with Service Pack 2 (32/64 bit)/Vista (32/64 bit)

OUR VERDICT

If BitDefender Internet Security 2008's interface and warnings were anywhere near as good as its virus-detection engine, the suite would be easy to recommend. But its confusing pop-ups, program bugs and high false positive rate make it best suited to users who have strong technical skills and can at times make the right security choices without guidance from the software.

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