Silent protection remains a strong selling-point, but we preferred the cleaner interface of last year’s suite
- Autopilot mode gives silent protection
- Improved resistance to ransomware
- Feature list is dwarfed by rivals
- User interface redesign isn't great
System requirements: Windows 7 SP1 or higher, 1GB RAM, 1.5GB hard disk space
Bitdefender Internet Security is notable for its Autopilot mode, which suppresses all popups and alerts in favour of silent protection. If you’re regularly tinkering with obscure downloads and tweaking your network settings, you might prefer a more interactive approach, but for those who are less technically inclined, or simply don’t like being interrupted, it’s a big attraction.
It’s an established performer, too: according to AV-Test.org, last year’s release of the suite scored 100% against both established malware and zero-day threats; in the lab’s latest tests, the 2017 release matched those impeccable scores.
But while BIS 2017 lives up to its predecessor’s performance, it brings little extra to the table. The ransomware protection module is now apparently faster, so if a rogue process starts encrypting your documents, Bitdefender will now step and block the operation almost instantly. The web-based remote management console has had a redesign, too: it’s still clunky, but I like the way it lets you see when your registered PCs were last updated and scanned. It also lets you remotely turn Autopilot on and off, which could be useful if you’re providing tech support for a colleague or family member.
Beyond that, though, it’s slim pickings indeed. If you step up to the Total Security package – currently selling for £30 on Amazon for a five-device licence – you can take advantage of a new Disk Cleanup module, and a Wi-Fi Advisor that warns you when you connect to an insecure network. Frankly, we’re not impressed: these are both jobs that can be done perfectly well by free software.
In fact, the main thing that’s changed in Bitdefender Internet Security 2017 is the interface. The publisher proudly declares that this is “more user-friendly than ever before”, but as far as I’m concerned it’s a step backwards. A fiddly proliferation of panes and overlays makes the front-end painful to navigate, and there’s little visible logic to the arrangement of buttons and links.
If it’s the Autopilot feature that attracts you to Bitdefender then such gripes don’t really matter, as you won’t be using the interface much anyway. But if you’re looking for more hands-on control, choose Kaspersky instead: it offers equally impressive protection in a friendlier, more intuitive interface.