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Bitdefender AntiVirus Plus Review
Excellent virus detection rates in independent lab tests
Includes privacy protection features that most vendors typically reserve for internet security suites
Microphone & monitor protection
Guards your online transactions with SafePay secure browser
Wallet being phased out, a seperate paid password manager on the way
Bitdefender AntiVirus Plus is a top performer in virus and malware protection. It is also user-friendly, feature-rich and offers excellent value for money. Virus detection rates outstrip many competitors in the recognized independent anti-virus labs. Additions such as ransomware protection, SafePay and a VPN keep this anti-virus ahead of the competition.
Updated: 24th July 2023
Bitdefender have a good reputation and have won several industry awards for their products. Their latest version of anti-virus features a fresh and modern interface design, ransomware protection, and silent security that's supposed to be hassle-free.
Installing Bitdefender AntiVirus Plus is straightforward. During installation, Bitdefender scans system files for malware. You are usually good to go straight away, but it's possible, like in our tests, that it may request a reboot to remove deep malware.
Bitdefender AntiVirus Plus is designed to first protect your computer against virus threats. Built on top of that is protection from spyware, rootkits, worms and keyloggers. Like all good modern anti-virus solutions, it will also protect you from identity theft, phishing attempts, social networking and ransomware threats. Threats are covered across different mediums, including the internet, email, search engines and flash drives.
Search engines - Alerts you to potentially dangerous websites that appear in search engine results.
Banking - SafePay is a virtualized browser that isolates the browser from the operating system. Keeping them separate provides another layer of protection by ensuring web-based threats can't get through.
Ransomware - Bitdefender were one of the first security vendors to introduce ransomware protection into its security suites. They use a multi-layered approach. "Advanced Threat Defense" helps find viruses through behaviour recognition. "Network Threat Prevention" stops ransomware from getting in through common pathways. Combined, it's a formidable defence.
Email - If you use a desktop email client, then this is a feature you will want to take advantage of. Bitdefender scans incoming emails on POP3 and SMTP protocols, integrating with Microsoft Outlook and Mozilla Thunderbird.
Bitdefender has been included in tests conducted by all the major anti-virus testing labs, and the statistics reveal impressive results.
AV-Comparatives awarded Bitdefender "ADVANCED+", the highest rating it could have received in June 2023 for its "Real-World Protection Test".
Additionally, Bitdefender also won AV-Comparatives' Product of the Year for 2022. This resulted in them achieving the highest scores in testing over the year.
In the AV-TEST for April 2023, Bitdefender earned 18 from the maximum possible 18 points, receiving the "Top Product" badge.
Scans & updates
AntiVirus Plus offers both quick and system scans. On our test computer, a quick scan took around 45 seconds. While the system scan averaged 1 hour, 40 minutes. These are roughly the same times as last year's version.
Bitdefender will automatically quarantine any viruses it picks up during the scan process. However, not all viruses can be removed from your computer - without a reboot. Bitdefender will alert you if a reboot is required after a complete scan process.
Within the advanced settings, there are plenty of scan options - you can choose whether you scan files, applications, network shares even boot sectors. You can also select whether you want to scan email, IM, and HTTP traffic.
Bitdefender also offers a vulnerabilities scan which checks for out-of-date applications and other security issues.
VPN - Included is a limited version of Bitdefender's VPN. It is limited in a couple of different ways.
Firstly, you have limited data. A purple bar at the bottom of the VPN tells you how many MB you have used out of the 200MB made available. You have 200MB daily usage that resets every 24 hours. You cannot carry forward any unused data. If you have upgraded to the Premium VPN subscription, you can choose the location of your VPN server. Otherwise, you have to make do with the server assigned by the VPN.
Secondly, you cannot select the country from which your VPN precedes. You are automatically assigned the location at the start of every session. I have noticed that it tends to pick the country you are currently located in.
Game, movie and work modes - If you like to play games on your computer, you can set the anti-virus to play in gamer mode. This means that the Bitdefender won't interrupt you during a game. Gamer mode is also helpful if you're in full screen, making a presentation or watching a movie.
Rescue Environment - This enables you to scan and remove threats that cannot be eliminated while the operating system runs.
File shredder - The file shredder is adequate, although pretty basic. For example, there are no shredding algorithm options available.
Password manager lacks bells and whistles, but you can store credit card information. Regular users of Bitdefender will be more familiar with "Bitdefender Wallet", their old software version. This will be sunset in October 2023 and permanently replaced by a password manager.
Ease of use
Bitdefender developed a reputation for overhauling its user interface each year, but in recent times they have given only slight tweaks. The UI remains simple, the layout logical, and the colors dark and flat, in keeping with Microsoft's latest look.
One feature we were particularly fond of was autopilot mode. It allowed you to run Bitdefender silently in the background making its own security-based decisions and temporarily pausing any alerts or messages. Autopilot mode is still there, but its function has changed. It now simply provides suggestions to improve your protection. We would like to see it return to its old functionality.
We have always been a huge fan of Bitdefender AntiVirus, and the 2023 version has not failed to impress. It scores well in the independent lab tests and offers additional privacy protection features that most security vendors only include privacy protection in their more expensive internet security suites.
Overall, Bitdefender AntiVirus Plus is an excellent option for anyone in the market for anti-virus software.
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