BitDefender Review 2020January 2020 BitDefender Review & Deals
Multiple security features
Live chat customer support
Setup process could be smoother
Many software conflicts during installation
Prior to downloading any Bitdefender package, it’s worth making sure you have enough CPU available to complete the installation effectively. On my first attempt, I received a warning informing me that there was not enough CPU available for Bitdefender to install. I remedied this by closing a few active programs which proved effective but the installation process was, nonetheless, sluggish and took a good 30 minutes to complete.
Bitdefender products aren’t exactly lightweight, with the most basic package, the Bitdefender free antivirus, requiring 9.9MB of space, and the premium versions over 10MB. As a result, the installation process is quite time-consuming, especially as it insists on performing a scan during the process, making it even lengthier.
Once installed, however, Bitdefender has very little impact on performance which is a positive, but you do have to switch between your desktop app and the Bitdefender Central website where you manage your account and devices in order to complete the process, which is frustrating and fiddly. Having said that, Bitdefender does offer plenty of tutorials and support so effectively holds your hand throughout the process which certainly makes life easier.
If you’re really struggling and have got to the point that you’d happily auction off your grandmother in order to make this hellish experience stop, you can get a Bitdefender expert to do it for you for $39.99 by purchasing the Bitdefender Install & Setup MultiPlatform tool. Not only will this see your Bitdefender product installed and configured correctly, but it will also ensure all previous antivirus and security software is removed to facilitate its operation.
Not the smoothest or fastest setup process known to antivirus software, but worth the effort if you want the benefit of comprehensive internet security that won’t let you down.
Although not scoring the top marks for malware protection, Bitdefender nonetheless does a great job of detecting and deflecting malware threats but is even more impressive when it comes to phishing and other web-based attacks.
Antivirus software tends to be revamped and updated regularly in order to deal with the constant evolution and increasing sophistication of cyber threats. In keeping with this trend, Bitdefender received something of an overhaul earlier this year which saw, amongst other things, the introduction of a new Network Threat Protection component. This handy feature is constantly on the lookout for vulnerabilities in your running applications and attempts to access and exploit your system.
One of the most difficult issues for antivirus programs to deal with are zero-day attacks. These occur when new vulnerabilities are discovered in a piece of software which the developers have not yet had the opportunity to devise a patch for. By striking while the iron’s hot, so to speak, cybercriminals can wreak havoc with malicious software attacks which, naturally, makes them difficult to identify.
Bitdefender performed well in real-world protection tests and uses multiple layers of ransomware protection to ensure your safety. Features such as Safe Files, Advanced Threat Defense, and Ransomware Remediation back up the first line of defense by performing the following functions:
- Safe Files – prevents any program from making unauthorized changes to your sensitive documents
- Advanced Threat Defense – uses heuristic technology to identify anomalies and suspicious behavior on your device to access and block potentially harmful processes
- Ransomware Remediation – at the first indication of any ransomware activity, this tool immediately backs up your most important files and documents, restoring them only once the danger has passed.
Even if you disable the first layer of defense, in other words, the standard antivirus tool, Bitdefender will continue to fight for your corner, deflecting file-encrypting ransomware like the Patriots deflected the strong offensive of pretty much everyone else in the SuperBowl earlier this year.
An upgrade to Bitdefender’s entry-level antivirus package will give you the benefit of a host of additional features, making it well worth considering. In addition to the SafePay option that will keep you safe when performing online transactions, and access to the Bitdefender Central website from where you can scan and maintain all your devices and their level of security, you’ll also get:
- Improved multi-layer ransomware protection
- Wi-Fi security advisor which ensures a safe internet connection
- Safepay which provides additional online protection when shopping or banking
- Free online support
- Password manager
- 200MB of VPN protection daily
- Vulnerability scans
- File shredder
To say Bitdefender’s products are feature-rich is an understatement and this most basic package offers an impressive array of cybersecurity features. Of course, given that the AntiVirus Plus package is only $5 cheaper annually than the Internet Security option, one would expect much the same features to be present in both, as is the case.
Internet Security just has a couple of additional features, but they are very useful and welcome ones, especially the inclusion of parental controls and webcam protection. Once we reach premium packages like Total Security, we enter a whole Alice in Wonderland world of wonders. Not only will a subscription to Total Security give you the same intelligent antivirus protection as the two products, but you’ll also get anti-theft tools and access to the OneClick optimizer option.
Bitdefender’s anti-theft feature isn’t much use if you’re using an old heavyweight desktop but, as most of us utilize lightweight, mobile devices, it’s responding to a very real need. This tool allows users to lock their device so they can’t be accessed without a password and can even track and trace a stolen device.
The OneClick optimizer will run a scan of your device and alert you to any unnecessary files or registry items that are slowing down your device’s performance. A quick cleanup will result in a fastest, more responsive machine that’s also less vulnerable to malicious attacks and exposures.
There aren’t very many other tools available when it comes to cybersecurity, so you know if you sign up for one of Bitdefender’s premium products, you literally have a complete toolbox. Having said that, the Bitdefender VPN can’t really compete with the likes of ExpressVPN so investing in additional virtual encryption and protection is worth considering. Overall, however, when it comes to antivirus protection and internet security, you can’t do much better than Bitdefender.
The new look includes a dashboard option which allows you to customize how the antivirus software operates. This main interface displays certain important functions by default, such as quick scan, Safepay and the VPN function. Users can then add their favorite tools and processes to the interface for easy access.
The top section of the main interface is dedicated to the Autopilot function. For users who don’t really want to engage too much in the day-to-day running of their internet security suite, the most recent Autopilot improvements will be welcome.
With 2020 products, Bitdefender has decided to make Autopilot an automatic feature which makes recommendations based on your interaction with your device. It might, for example, recommend enabling the Safepay function when shopping online or suggest you run the optimizer function to improve overall performance.
The Autopilot isn’t without its drawbacks, however, and its relentless advice can get a little tedious, especially if you’ve specifically decided not to erase your browsing history, for example. There’s no way to inform the Autopilot that you made a conscious decision to do this, so instead, it will just keep on alerting you to the same issue.
Unlike other antivirus programs, Bitdefender’s navigational simplicity and slick design extend to its Settings menu as well and there you’ll find a bunch of security profiles to choose from. This is a nice touch and means that you opt for Bitdefender to select the appropriate profile for your current activity. If you select all profiles, it will automatically switch according to whether you’re working, streaming movies, or playing games.
The revamp was much-needed and is much-appreciated, making navigating and operating this powerful piece of cybersecurity software a pleasure. In fact, if you prefer it to just run itself, you can have it do that as well, while you carry on with other activities.
This lack of hidden fees makes it highly competitive, especially with other companies like McAfee charging well over $100 a year for technical support and, if you select one of its premium packages, like Total Security, you’ll get a VPN thrown in for free. Unfortunately, this version of the Bitdefender VPN is rather lackluster and doesn’t offer anywhere near the same level of security and anonymity as the best VPNs. Plus the fact, 200MB a day isn’t going to get you very far.
At its baseline, Bitdefender isn’t the cheapest antivirus software around, although it does have a limited free version which will do a better job than many of giving you standard protection. In fact, the proficiency of Bitdefender’s products, coupled with their versatility and efficacy, makes the pricing seem appropriate rather than excessive.
At the top end of Bitdefender’s pricing tiers is the Bitdefender Box which is designed to protect all your connected gadgets and devices. Bitdefender is one of the first antivirus software developers to come up with this level of protection and it’s pretty is costly, coming in at $179.99 per year, but is nevertheless in keeping with the cost of other, similar products.
Even Bitdefender’s entry-level antivirus software packs a punch and has an impressive artillery of tools, making it excellent value for money.
If you can’t find the answer to your question there, you can try one of their community forums or contact a customer support representative by email, phone, or live chat. As far as I’m concerned, if a cybersecurity product hasn’t yet figured out how to provide a live chat support service, it’s not worth investing in. Sadly, few antivirus companies seem to have caught onto this useful tool and BitDefender is one of the few with such a service available.
Users who have subscribed to one of Bitdefender’s paid products get the additional benefits of the Bitdefender Central and, of course, remote technical support such as the Install & Setup MultiPlatform function we mentioned earlier. By using a secure connection, remote technicians can access your system and get to the bottom of complex issues without you having to waste time trying to understand and carry out multiple fixes.
Of course, even without the extra support, there’s always the AutoPilot onhand to oversee day-to-day operations but, if you have a problem with your account, for example, a quick visit to either of Bitdefender’s online support centers should resolve the matter within a few minutes.
Overall, Bitdefender’s customer support is better than average and much of the technical support is available at no extra charge.