BitDefender Internet Security 2012 review
To understand how we go about the UK's most accurate and realistic anti-virus testing, read How We Test: Anti-virus software.
BitDefender's core anti-virus engine and signature database are used by a number of other anti-malware suites we've reviewed (BullGuard, GData and F-Secure all license it), but even with the same engine, it's obvious that each program's accuracy depends on how it's implemented: at which stage of exposure potential threats are scanned, which options the software defaults to and which options it gives its users.
Our tests favour programs that defend their users with a minimum of fuss and don't insist on the user making decisions about obscurely-named behavioural detection results that may not make any real sense to them. That said, software should still keep users informed about what action it's taken on their behalf.
This chart shows the percentage of threats that the software intercepted in our testing - click to enlarge
BitDefender met every one of the criterion on our wish-list, scanning and blocking malware from the web before it even had an opportunity to run but still displaying a pop-up to tell us exactly what had been blocked and why. BitDefender Internet Security 2012 protected our PC in 100 per cent of virus exposures in our tests, but didn't let us down when it came to our false positive testing - none of our harmless test software was detected as potentially malicious.
As well as investing serious work in the accuracy of its malware detection engine, BitDefender's development team has put a high-gloss polish on the entire interface. It's both visually arresting and very clear. The main page displays the status of your key anti-virus, firewall and anti-spam modules, along with the detection engine's update status. If you scroll right, you'll be able to check on other components, including parental controls, privacy settings and a system tune-up kit. Any events that you should pay attention to (such as malware detection or required reboots) are flagged up in a bar above.
If you buy a boxed copy from an online retailer, rather than going directly to BitDefender's website, Internet Security 2012 can be bought for around £25 for a three-PC licence, although a one-PC licence typically goes for around £21. It has masses of features, an excellent interface and provides brilliant defence against malicious programs. It's our Best Buy.