Bitdefender Internet Security 2013 review
Bitdefender won our Best Buy award last year and its performance this year remained excellent, even though it was slightly outshone by Symantec and Kaspersky's latest internet security suites.
Bitdefender completely blocked malicious software in 93 of our 100 tests, and entirely neutralised the threat in another five instances for a total protection score of 98 per cent. It was only compromised by two threats, putting it on a par with ESET and Norton but failing to match Kaspersky's perfect score.
Unlike any of its fellow test leaders, Bitdefender put in a perfect performance in our false positive tests. In one instance, it popped up a non-blocking warning about a benign program, but it didn't block a single harmless application, making it the security program least likely to get in the way of your day-to-day internet use. This gave it an excellent total accuracy rating of 373.75.
Unlike many security suites, you can choose which elements you want to enable or disable during the initial setup process; these include anti-spam, a firewall, antimalware, anti-phishing, antifraud and a search advisor plugin for your browsers. The spam filter is the only one that's disabled by default. Once again unlike its rivals, you can sign in using your Facebook, Google or Microsoft account to activate your product, as well as using or creating a Bitdefender account, which is handy for those who like using unified logins.
Once installed, Bitdefender puts itself into autopilot mode and you can happily leave it at that, with or without the security widget enabled to let you know what it's up to. The widget provides shortcuts to Bitdefender's events overview, firewall settings, anti-virus settings and your online account controls, as well as showing any protection or event alerts, but there's no shortcut to the main screen of Bitdefender's primary interface.
Instead, you can launch this via the Start screen or its desktop notification area icon. The interface hasn't changed much since last year, but its large buttons are already suitable for touchscreen users of Windows 8.
You can scroll through all of Bitdefender's main features, starting with anti-virus, anti-spam, privacy and firewall settings. Each of these includes a shortcut to its settings screen and a number of instant options for triggering a manual scan, accessing a file shredder for secure deletion or viewing the traffic across your network adaptors. Scroll to the right, and you can access a couple more features: updates and SafeGo plugins, which you can activate to defend your Facebook and Twitter accounts against malware. Once you've given it permission to access your social media accounts, SafeGo provides a web-based dashboard that you can use to check for infected items in your feeds and examine your privacy settings.