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BitDefender Total Security 2011 Review, Giveaway

19 Ago/10

BitDefender recently launched their security product line for 2011, with improvements all over the board, a set of new features to increase the protection of the system, and a new customizable interface suitable suitable for users of all experience levels.

Total Security 2011 is the top of the line product that includes all features that the two other available products, Antivirus Pro and Internet Security offer, plus some that are exclusively available in Total Security.

The installer has been revamped, it now gives the user better control over the installation, which has been divided into visualized steps. This improves the user experience a lot.

bitdefender installation

bitdefender installation

BitDefender scans the system during installation, to eliminate any threats before the actual installation of the security software starts.

bitdefender installation 2011

bitdefender installation 2011

The choice given during installation is excellent. It is for instance possible to keep or uninstall other security programs, select one out of three different layouts (for different experience levels) or turn off specific features during installation. Turning off features immediately again improves the usability. It is for instance possible to keep the Windows Firewall, and disable the firewall in BitDefender.

These settings can be controlled in the program options as well afer the installation, in case they need to be activated or deactivated at a later time.

Two video tutorials are offered on the first run, that offer an introduction to new users and users of last year’s product.

BitDefender Product Comparison

BitDefender Antivirus Pro 2011: Antivirus, Antiphishing, Antispyware, Search Advisor, Quick Scan, Home Network Protection, Chat Encryption, Smart Scan, Smart Schedule

BitDefender Internet Security 2011: Includes all Antivirus Pro features and, Parental Controls, Internet firewall, Antispam,

BitDefender Total Security 2011: Includes all Antivirus Pro and Internet Security features and, Online Backup, File Encryption, File Shredder, Tune.Up, Performance Optimizer.

Some features requires explanation:

  • Quick Scan: Uncover malicious activity using in-the-cloud technology. This uses cloud based scanning technologies to scan files.
  • Home Network Protection: Manage the security of your entire network from a single location. Automatically detect other computers that have BitDefender installed and adds them to the administrator network.
  • Search Advisor: Warn about unsafe pages displayed in search results, available for Internet Explorer and Firefox.
  • Online Backup: 2 GB of back up on a secure, remote server. Automatically back-up files and folders
  • Chat Encryption: Keep your conversations private on Yahoo! and Windows Live (MSN)
  • Optimized scanning technology skips safe files for better scan speed and lower system load. Prevent slowdown by adjusting settings to match available memory and CPU type.
  • Smart Schedule: Maintain maximum performance with system load analysis so on-demand scanning tasks are suspended, to free-up resources for other processes, such as a media player or games

BitDefender Total Security 2011 Review

BitDefender Total Security 2011 looks slightly different depending on the interface selected during installation. It is possible to switch the interface in the main window, in case it displays to many, or to little information in its current state. Inexperienced computer users will see an interface with less settings and switches, while experts have access to all features and options directly in main window.

basic view

basic view

The dashboards of the basic and intermediate view can be customized, to include the modules most important to the user of the computer. This review was mainly written with expert mode activated.

bitdefender total security 2011

bitdefender total security 2011

A click on a module in the left sidebar, say antivirus for example, displays the controls of that module in the main window. This usually includes a protection level slider, direct access to scans and other features. Tabs often divide the functionality on multiple pages to eliminate scrolling.

One aspect that comes a bit short are links to help files that explain the settings of the current page. Pages do contain descriptions (by hovering over an item, and on the page) but inexperienced users may sometimes still have questions left after reading those. Experts and most intermediate users will find those explanations sufficient on the other hand. Additional links to help pages for users, with an option to turn those off would be a good addition to the program.

BitDefender makes a distinction between settings, which are module specific, and options, which define the security software in general.

Antivirus

A new layer of security has been installed to this year’s version of the security application. The antivirus protection supports both signature based and heuristic scans, as well as intrusion detection to prevent the installation of malware drivers, manipulation of system files, the Registry, and dll injection.

Internet protection offers antiphishing protection for Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and the two messengers Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger. Search Advisor has been added on top of that, to provide the web user with instant information about search results in Google Search, Bing and Yahoo.

Protection levels can be set to a more aggressive or permissive profile, or a custom profile that allows greater customizability. A custom profiles enables the user to configure detailed scanning preferences, that for example includes the local and remote locations that are scanned, the types of threats, and the actions if malicious files are found.

Quick Scan makes use of the cloud to scan running processes and important files, taking less than a minute to complete.

Additional changes and features

Parental Controls have been extended with the functionality to monitor the activity of other family member’s remotely. This includes statistics about visited websites, applications and activity in instant messaging programs.

Parts of the parental controls can be accessed from the BitDefender website which provides access to alerts, recent activity and configuration options. Great for checking in from any location.

The Home Network option can be used to add multiple PCs to the BitDefender network, to administrate them from computers that have been configured as servers in the network. Activities include running remote scans of connected PCs, updating BitDefender or setting parental controls.

One interesting feature is the vulnerability scanner, which informs the user of available updates for Windows or Microsoft software, applications and other security settings like weak passwords or autorun settings, complete with options to take appropriate actions directly in the program’s interface. This feature has however not been integrated into the warning notifications on the dashboard. BitDefender should add those, as Windows patches that have not been installed can open the doors for malicious attackers exploiting those.

vulnerability scan

vulnerability scan

Game, laptop and silent modes are available that offer operation modes catered to specific system states. Laptop mode will for instance configure BitDefender to postpone or skip scheduled tasks if running on battery. Gaming mode allows for uninterrupted games, so that scans and other background tasks are reduced to a minimum.

These modes detect system state changes automatically, game mode comes with a default list of games that are detected automatically, and other games can be added to a custom list. To make things easier, game mode or silent mode can be enabled automatically for full screen applications.

BitDefender 2011 comes with several additional modules, including the previously mentioned firewall, data encryption, online backup and privacy controls.

One interesting feature that many users will like is the Troubleshoot Wizard, that can aid the user in troubleshooting issues. The wizard displays common problems associated with modules. For the firewall those are for instance problems accessing a computer in a network, printing or accessing the Internet. The troubleshooting wizard then tries to resolve the issue for the user.

It offers for instance to add an application to the firewall’s whitelist if the program fails to connect to the Internet. all the user needs to do is to select the program to add it (by browsing to it with a file browser).

Bitdefender 2011 Direct Downloads

BitDefender Antivirus Pro 2011

BitDefender Internet Security 2011

BitDefender Total Security 2011

Verdict

BitDefender offers several improvements over last year’s version. A common trend among security companies seems to be to pack features into the software, even if they do not add anything to the protection of the system. BitDefender on the other hand as extended the functionality of their product in areas where it makes sense. Features like the gaming or laptop mode, cloud based antivirus scanning, file encryption, shredding or the improved parental controls with home networking options blend well into the existing product.

The only module that does not seem to belong into the program is Tune-Up, as it offers features such as Registry Cleaning, defragmentation or duplicate file finding. But that’s one module out of a dozen.

Computer users should take a look at the product comparison chart to find the BitDefender program best suited for their situation. BitDefender Internet Security 2011 gets our recommendation, as it comes with all security modules needed to protect a computer. Users who want more than that, like online backups or file encryption should pick Total Security instead. Users who already have a firewall installed, and who have no need for antispam or parental controls can pick Antivirus Pro 2011.

Additional information are available at the Bitdefender homepage.

Giveaway

The guys at BitDefender were nice enough to give us 15 licenses of BitDefender Total Security 2011. The licenses are valid for one year, and will be given to random commenters of this thread.

The giveaway ends in 48 hours from the time of posting, and we announce the winners in the Ghacks forum after this. Winners need to include a valid email address, as we are sending the product keys to the email addresses they made their comments with.

To make things interesting, tell us about your current security setup, and how you would use Total Security if you got one of the license keys. Good luck everyone.


© Martin for gHacks Technology News, 2010. | Permalink | Add to del.icio.us, digg, facebook, reddit, twitter
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