Our Review of Bitedefender Total Security 2015
Paid Anti-virus Programs
Because Bitdefender was founded in 2001, the company may seem like a new comer to the anti-virus market when compared to many competitors. However, the developers of Bitdefender also produced AVX, which was a popular award-winning anti-virus application during the mid to late 1990s. Consequently, some of the proprietary techniques and technologies used in Bitdefender date back quite a ways. Bitdefender's latest offering, Total Security 2015, carries on that proud tradition and is one of the most effective anti-virus/security applications available today.
Cost and Value
Bitdfender offers subscriptions for three PCs at an annual price of $89.99. This is $10 more than Norton's annual subscription cost for the same number of PCs and $34 more than the much-less expensive McAfee Internet Security product. Nevertheless, Bitdefender boasts first-in-class virus/malware neutralization and plenty of tools for protecting you from malicious websites, social network exploits and phishing emails. Even more, the application offers useful tools that help you maintain, repair and optimize your computer as well as provide anti-theft protection for associated devices. Update - as of the time of publication, Bitdefender is offering a "Buy One Year - And Get One Year Free" promo. So, for a limited time Bitdefender is effectively half its original price!
Installing Bitdefender is relatively straightforward and simple. Unlike with some other security suites, Bitdefender allows you to download the setup file without providing any personal information such as your name or email address. Once you download the setup file and run it, installation is pretty simple. The installer will first scan your system for threats. Then, it will download the remaining application and update files needed to install Total Security 2015.
After installing Total Security 2015, the application prompts you to create a "My Bitdefender" account. If you want to purchase a subscription, you must create an account before you can do so. If you only want to evaluate the application for up to 30 days, though, no account information is needed.
The Bitdefender Total Security 2015 user interface is simple, yet elegant, in its design. Its black background, simple icons and bright lettering make it easy to read on both PC screens and mobile devices alike. Bitdefender sized the buttons so they are convenient for both mouse and touchscreen users.
The default configuration settings in Total Security 2015 were well planned and will suit most mainstream users just fine. Therefore, you will probably only need to concern yourself with the functions you will use most, which are "Protection," "Privacy" and "Tools." Each of these buttons has a label that aptly describes its functionality.
As you can see from the above screenshots, each window contains simple-to-understand labels for preforming various functions. In addition to the three primary buttons, the main interface window has four smaller ones that enable you to run a quick scan, update pattern definitions, configure a safe online payment option and optimize your computer. All four functions are easy to use and do an effective job at performing the functions described.
Virus, Malware and False Positive Testing
As with all AV and security applications reviewed here, we disabled the antivirus detection features on Bitdefender, and then introduced a set of 8 virus and malware items and 16 safe files that mimic or resemble infected ones. Afterwards, we re-enabled Total Security 2015 on the test system.
The eight infected files should all be detected and quarantined/deleted automatically by the anti-virus program. Conversely, the security suite should recognize false positive files as safe and not detect them or recommend their removal.
Bitedefender anti-virus products have a long-standing reputation for having some of the highest detection and neutralization rates around, and Total Security 2015 is no exception. By detecting and removing all of eight of the virus and malware files transferred to the test system, Total Security 2015 earned a perfect 100% rating.
On the other hand, false positive detection was not nearly as good. Total Security 2015 erroneously identified six of the false positive files as potential threats and recommended their removal. Therefore, the program's false positive score (where 0 detection results in a perfect score) was a dismal 62.5%. Nevertheless, the application did not remove the files automatically (which is good, as doing so may lead to system or program errors.)
Below is a screenshot of the files used in the false positive test.
Scan times with Bitdefender Total Security 2015 are quite slow when compared to other products reviewed here, such as McAfee and ESET AV suites. Although a quick system scan with Total Security 2015 took only 29 seconds, the test scanned a very small set of files. The quick scan scanned only 1144 files versus more than 60,000 scanned with other similar products.
The full scan of the system, while ultimately quite effective, was also quite slow and took more than 15 minutes. Bitedefender Total Security 2015 does offer one very good advantage in terms of performance, though: resource utilization. While scan times with the application are slow, Total Security 2015 does not use a lot in terms of CPU power or RAM. Therefore, the scanner has little effect on system performance, which enables you to multitask and open other applications quickly when scanning for viruses and malware.
In our review of Bitdefender Total Security 2015, we used same test system as we did when testing other current anti-virus programs. The test PC includes an Intel dual-core processor, 2 Gigabytes of RAM and runs the latest, updated version of Windows 7. Consequently, the computer used in the testing is comparable to many owned by mainstream users in the market today.
Malicious Website Blocking and Antiphishing
The website protection and anti-phishing tools included with Bitdefender Total Security 2015 are as good as any we've seen in our testing and reviews of security applications. Total Security 2015 scored a perfect 10 out of 10 in both 2-day and 0-day links to malicious or phishing websites. When we tried to access known malicious or phishing sites, Total Security 2015 blocked every single attempt successfully.
As do many other security products, Bitdefender Total Security 2015 offers a ton of extra features such as Email scanning, a Firewall and Parental Controls. Additionally, the application provides an effective file shredder and file encryption tools for protecting sensitive data. The email scanner, firewall and parental controls features are first-rate, easy to use and add layers of additional protection to your system. Other features such as "Wallet," "Safepay" and "Safego" help ensure privacy online when using social networks or shopping with a credit card.
Bitedefender Total Security 2015 offers unparalleled protection against viruses, malware and malicious websites. Additionally, its extra email, firewall and parental controls features are among the best we have seen or reviewed. Finally, Total Security 2015's user interface is excellent and super easy to use and navigate whether you�re a PC or mobile user.
System scan times with Bitdefender Total Security 2015 are extremely slow and could delay shut down times considerably if performed at the end of the day. Also, Total Security 2015 flagged way too many safe or harmless files as potential threats during false positive testing. While this may not be a problem for many users, those that install and use software from lesser-known developers may encounter problems if they follow the recommendation to delete files flagged as being potentially dangerous simply because they don�t contain author or digital signatures.