Its firewall produces a fair number of pop-ups and its detection wasn't perfect, but BullGuard is cheap and reasonably effective
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Although BullGuard uses BitDefender’s malware detection engine, which earned the latter company’s own Internet Security 2012 a 100 per cent accuracy rating, it’s been implemented differently here.
BullGuard tends to request more user input, and is prone to asking if you wish block a potentially malicious file without providing a default option. This makes it easy for users to instinctively click on the usual left-hand option of Allow just to get rid of the irritating pop-up as quickly as possible. In fairness, BullGuard usually picked up any malware that was allowed through in this way during execution or after a full scan, but in our tests the software was compromised in seven per cent (two virus samples) of incidents.
BullGuard’s integrated firewall is also very chatty, frequently popping up warnings and asking for approval when the benign applications in our false positive tests tried to connect to the internet. This meant that in our false positive tests it warned us about 40 per cent (eight samples) of our harmless applications, which means more annoying pop-ups; however, nothing was actually blocked, so BullGuard didn’t seriously disrupt our user experience.
BullGuard’s interface isn’t as glossy as some of its rivals’ but it is clear and easy to use, with handy buttons for each of the suite’s key functions and an opening screen which displays your protection status at a glance. The advances settings are similarly unambiguous. Like most fully-featured internet security suites, BullGuard has plenty of extra modules and features, including parental controls, spam filtering and even a PC tune-up toolkit. The most noteworthy feature is 5GB of free online storage and a backup interface that makes it easy to store copies of your most precious files either online, across the local network or on external storage media.
If you shop around for a boxed version of BullGuard 12, you’ll pay around £16, compared to £42 if you buy directly online. It’s also worth noting that if you buy BullGuard 10 (there was no version 11), it’ll automatically be updated to the current edition. Although BullGuard is very reasonably priced and it provides effective defence against most malware, we prefer the less obtrusive and more clear-cut detection of BitDefender Internet Security 2012.
For straightforward advice on getting the best anti-malware deal, and keeping your software up-to-date year-on-year, then read Avoiding the anti-malware trap now.