BitDefender hails from Romania, but is now a global brand which has benefitted from very good test results from the AV testing houses. The 2013 product is available in several incarnations, from Total Security, down through Internet Security to the subject of this review: BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2013. You can choose the number of PCs you want to licence: 1, 3, 5 or 10, with the cost per PC dropping with number of licences. See also: Group test: what's the best security software?
BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2013 is a lovely piece of software to use, with its well-designed black and grey control panel and the Windows Vista/7/8 widget which shows scan and update activity, as well as any security events and current security status. You can also drag and drop files onto the widget for a simple file scan. Ironically though, Microsoft itself is now warning against the use of Gadgets due to security vulnerabilities in Windows.
BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2013's main control panel has four sub-panels, labelled Antivirus, Privacy, Update and Safego. The Antivirus sub-panel includes a switch to enable auto-scanning – which can be scheduled as required – and to start quick, full, custom and vulnerability scans. Visit: Security Advisor
The Privacy sub-panel offers anti-phishing software and a secure file shredder, while Update specifies when the program should check for new virus definitions and program updates.
Safego is designed to make social networking safer, by checking links on Facebook and twitter before they're followed.
BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2013 offers Safepay as a separate icon on the desktop, which opens any of your banking pages in a separate, secure browser, designed to prevent hacking. Bookmarks can be entered into the utility, so it recognises when you are about to make a transaction.
AV-Test has yet to test BitDefender's 2013 AV engine, but it's evaluation of the 2012 product gave it 17/18, the highest score it has awarded this year.
That version scored full marks for Protection against malware and for Repair of damaged systems, but dropped a point in Usability. It was slightly below average in the system performance hit, but better than average in avoiding false positives.
From our own tests, it seems extra work has been put into the performance aspects of BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2013. It took 41 seconds to complete a 1GB file transfer with BitDefender's background processes running, but still only 43s when a full system scan was running in the background. This is only a 7 percent increase in transfer time caused by the scan, the smallest we've yet seen.
Our 50GB file scan took 29 min 16 sec and the program checked 76,689 files, giving a scan rate of 45 files/sec, fairly well down the field in absolute speed terms.
Interestingly, older BitDefender Total Security 2012 checked 98,483 files in 19 min 39 sec on the exact same basket of files. That test was run under Windows XP SP3, while this was under Windows 7 SP1, but that doesn't account for the lower number of files checked, nor the slower speed.
During the period of our test, the Auto-Pilot facility worked well, meaning we saw very few pop-ups of the ‘xyz is trying to access the Internet; what should I do?' variety.
Getting the balance right between this kind of annoyance and satisfactory protection is very important, of course, and BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2013 looks to have made a good job.