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Bitdefender Internet Security 2013 review

Verdict

A comprehensive set of features coupled with exceptional malware detection

Review Date: 6 Feb 2013

Reviewed By: Darien Graham-Smith

Price when reviewed: £16 (£19 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
6 stars out of 6

Features & Design
6 stars out of 6

Value for Money
6 stars out of 6

Performance
6 stars out of 6

Ease of Use
5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

The Bitdefender website quotes £35 for a three-PC licence for this software, but shop around and you can get it at close to half price. That’s a bargain considering what you get.

To start with, Bitdefender Internet Security 2013 achieved an exceptional 100% score across all of AV-Test’s zero-day malware tests. That’s a perfect protection record against never-before-seen threats – a feat equalled only by F-Secure and Trend Micro. Bitdefender fared spectacularly well against older malware, too, with a 99% protection rate.

The installer sets up a Linux-based rescue environment on your hard disk, so you can scan for malware from outside of Windows, without messing around with boot CDs. In tests, the software restored compromised systems to their pre-infection state with a 94% success rate.

Bitdefender Internet Security 2013

Bitdefender ticks every feature box, from anti-spam to parental controls. Its firewall lets you create custom rules by application or type of connection, and the intrusion-detection system flags attempts to install rogue drivers, tamper with Windows, or change system settings. A vulnerability scanner checks for missing updates to your operating system and applications, and warns if accounts have weak passwords.

Browser integration is low-key, with no visible toolbar or buttons, but try to visit an untrusted website and an interstitial page appears, giving you the option of turning back or opening a sandboxed browser. On sensitive sites, such as banks and online retailers, you’ll be prompted to use the new Safepay feature – a specially secured browser designed to lock transactions away from keyloggers, screen scrapers and man-in-the-middle attacks.

Bitdefender also places reputation indicators next to search results in Bing, Google and Yahoo, and you can have your Facebook wall and Twitter stream scanned for dangerous apps and links to keep you safe from social networking scams.

Bitdefender Internet Security 2013

With so many features at hand, the interface is slightly convoluted. You have to scroll left and right to access all of the controls, or to access the new Overview panel and drill down into a particular area of the program. Some features, including parental controls and the Safebox backup feature (which provides 2GB of free space), must be accessed via a separate web-based dashboard.

Yet this doesn’t wreck the experience. Bitdefender defaults to its trademark Autopilot mode, which silently protects your privacy and safety with as little user interaction as possible. Novices who don’t want to go hunting for settings and options can enjoy full protection without getting their hands dirty.

Resource efficiency isn’t Bitdefender’s strong suit. On our test laptop it added 16 seconds to boot time, with an undistinguished memory footprint of 172MB. Ultimately, though, we feel that’s a reasonable compromise when you’re receiving excellent malware protection, and a comprehensive feature set, at a price that shames Bitdefender’s paid-for rivals.

Author: Darien Graham-Smith

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User comments

BitDefender completely wrecked my computer last week. Had it on for about 24hours and had to spend several hours getting my PC back running again.
Still waiting for a refund. Not even worth one star.

By ams4127 on 7 Feb 2013

Kills W8

Notice the "Specs"tab.
Supports Vista and XP.
Installed it one 3 different W8 machines, killed them all.
Luckily BitDefender is so cheap it's easy to chuck it in the bin.

By lamab on 7 Feb 2013

I tried BitDefender a few months ago, and it was a disaster; completely messed up my pc (Win7 64bit). Had to go back to an image - sticking with Kaspersky.

By henryg_1 on 7 Feb 2013

EckieB

I have used Bitdefender Internet Security 2012 for almost a full year without a hint of a problem.
I decided to take a chance and to install IS 2013 on my new Windows 8 interface.
The product loaded effortlessly and performed quietly and effectively.
When I changed to IS 2013 retail, everything went flawlessly.
I should add that I have absolutely no connection with Bitdefender, other than as a customer.
Before I retired I was a Quality Manager for a London based I.T. company. I can only report what I experienced with this product.
I have no idea why the other users had such disastrous experiences.

By EckieB on 7 Feb 2013

64 bit?

henryg_1 and my 3 all 64 bit.
EckieB doesn't say.
Perhaps just the great fun we all enjoy of installing software that has to match an unknown number of hardware/software windows combinations.
Not something I have to worry about on my Macs of course.

By lamab on 8 Feb 2013

How much?

I've just been looking on the Bitdefender website and IS2013 is listed at £45, not a hint of the £19 in the review. So, assuming having read the preceding comments,I want to risk it, where do I find it so cheap?

By JoeFff on 10 Feb 2013

@JoeFff

If you're willing to go the eBay route, you can get the 3PCs 1Year version for £7.50 from a 100% seller. This is for the 2012 version but I think you can upgrade to 2013 using a 2012 license (best to check first though).

If you're not comfortable using eBay, the £19.99 price can be had at Amazon.co.uk for the 2013 3PCs 1Year version. Or check out Play.com for Bitdefender Internet Security 2013 at £15.99 for the same 2013 3PCs 1Year version (from a 100% seller).

By pbryanw on 10 Feb 2013

More trouble than it's worth

Having just bought a new desktop, I'm in the market for internet security software. I was looking at Bitdefener, but now I'm totally put off due to people's bad experiences with the product and not just here, but on quite a few other sites too.

Having put it on their A-list, can someone from PC Pro shed some light on the Bitdefender user problems? There is nothing on this in the review above!

By rascar_capac on 11 Feb 2013

Awful

I tried 2012(Free Trial) and upgraded on an offer.

The difference between them was unbelievable. It made the machine unusable. I installed on second machine, with different setup completely but still W7, and same happened. I have since sorted out issues on other peoples machines related to this.

Shame as it was so highly praised.

By assylum on 12 Feb 2013

Show the readers how

I don't use BitDefender but it does look like there is some difference in how the testers, and the home PC user, sets up the program.
I can't believe the makers have put a rubbish program onto the market, it must work.
A program with all the accolades which PC Pro gives to BitDefender should be user friendly or indeed foolproof, perhaps PC Pro could show their followers how they got the program to run correctly?

By tyler4402 on 14 Feb 2013

ricardo

Go to PC Advisor and check the offers Bitdefender 2013 is available with another very good offer at a very good price plus you can order the disk as well as up to 2 year download insurance.

By ricardo69 on 28 Mar 2013

ricardo

Go to PC Advisor and check the offers Bitdefender 2013 is available with another very good offer at a very good price plus you can order the disk as well as up to 2 year download insurance.

By ricardo69 on 28 Mar 2013

Davyray

Installed BD IS 2013 on my Win8(64) computer. Windows Explorer load time went from

By DaveWhinray on 9 Apr 2013

What a great package

Just installed this on W7 SP1 x64 and it runs so much better than it did with Kaspersky 2012 installed. Games have better ping and network bandwidth, the system starts up so much quicker and it is overall much more responsive. I wish I'd gone over to this earlier...

By mr_chips on 27 Apr 2013

BeeCee

Had 5 PCs running Kaspersky, was happy with it till April(fools day?)MS Patch Tues, my desktop went downhill over the next 3 weeks and crashed, 2 laptops and one PC have been switching off the AV/firewall. Installed Bit defender
on two tonight, so far very impressed. Need to find a volume license, otherwise no issues so far.

By beecee on 29 Jun 2013

The devil you know

I had been wanting to change my security suite for a while having got fed up with the little nagging problems with Avira over the years. Well, I'm about to crawl back on my knees to Avira begging them to let me give them my money ...
I installed BD IS 2013 on several PCs. On a five-year-old laptop with XP, which ran fine with Avira, the hard disk light was on almost constantly. From what I can tell a lot of this was due to BD downloading updates "in the background" preventing me from doing almost anything. On my work PC with Windows 7 64-bit I need to have finer grained control over which program gets access to the internet. The only way I could figure out to do this in BD IS 2013 was to use Paranoid mode which results in an alert when a program tries to access the internet. I don't have a problem with that as such but I would expect the software to remember my decision to allow or deny a certain program, that's how Avira worked. BD insisted on asking me every time, which gets very wearing by the end of a working day.
But there are lots of other annoying "features" in BD IS which in the end made me switch back: when editing custom firewall rules for applications or adapters you can't multi-select to delete multiple rules (I haven't worked out why these get created in the first place as they are identical); the vulnerability scan insists on telling me about "critical" windows updates right after I installed the Tuesday brood of patches - on closer inspection these updates are classified by Microsoft as "optional" making the whole thing pointless (I disabled it).
Don't take this as a recommendation to switch to Avira by all means. I have had a litany of problems with them too and am very critical of some of their practices. But do think hard before you switch Internet security suites because of some problems you may have had. It may be a case of better the devil you know ...

By Pedronow on 16 Jul 2013

The devil you know

I had been wanting to change my security suite for a while having got fed up with the little nagging problems with Avira over the years. Well, I'm about to crawl back on my knees to Avira begging them to let me give them my money ...
I installed BD IS 2013 on several PCs. On a five-year-old laptop with XP, which ran fine with Avira, the hard disk light was on almost constantly. From what I can tell a lot of this was due to BD downloading updates "in the background" preventing me from doing almost anything. On my work PC with Windows 7 64-bit I need to have finer grained control over which program gets access to the internet. The only way I could figure out to do this in BD IS 2013 was to use Paranoid mode which results in an alert when a program tries to access the internet. I don't have a problem with that as such but I would expect the software to remember my decision to allow or deny a certain program, that's how Avira worked. BD insisted on asking me every time, which gets very wearing by the end of a working day.
But there are lots of other annoying "features" in BD IS which in the end made me switch back: when editing custom firewall rules for applications or adapters you can't multi-select to delete multiple rules (I haven't worked out why these get created in the first place as they are identical); the vulnerability scan insists on telling me about "critical" windows updates right after I installed the Tuesday brood of patches - on closer inspection these updates are classified by Microsoft as "optional" making the whole thing pointless (I disabled it).
Don't take this as a recommendation to switch to Avira by all means. I have had a litany of problems with them too and am very critical of some of their practices. But do think hard before you switch Internet security suites because of some problems you may have had. It may be a case of better the devil you know ...

By Pedronow on 16 Jul 2013

WD Mybookworld external HDD

I installed Bitdefender I S 2013 a few weeks ago. I use a WD Mybookworld, ethernet connection, to store all my work files to share between 3 PCs. I now find that after a PC has shut down or gone into sleep mode I lose connection to the HDD and have to reboot it. I have been in contact with Bitdefender tech support but they have failed miserably to come up with a solution.
HOPELESS!!!!!

By cmuzik on 23 Jul 2013

WD Mybookworld external HDD

I installed Bitdefender I S 2013 a few weeks ago. I use a WD Mybookworld, ethernet connection, to store all my work files to share between 3 PCs. I now find that after a PC has shut down or gone into sleep mode I lose connection to the HDD and have to reboot it. I have been in contact with Bitdefender tech support but they have failed miserably to come up with a solution.
HOPELESS!!!!!

By cmuzik on 23 Jul 2013

Product and Support Failings

I was very surprised to find that this product only filters spam from POP mailboxes, so if you're using IMAP or hosted Exchange hard luck!
Also, the support is poor. Responses are frequently answers to questions that weren't asked. Of the three issues I've raised to date I've had resolutions to none.
I won't buy this product at renewal time and may bail out before this!

By amorris9 on 5 Aug 2013

Product and Support Failings

I was very surprised to find that this product only filters spam from POP mailboxes, so if you're using IMAP or hosted Exchange hard luck!
Also, the support is poor. Responses are frequently answers to questions that weren't asked. Of the three issues I've raised to date I've had resolutions to none.
I won't buy this product at renewal time and may bail out before this!

By amorris9 on 5 Aug 2013

A-list ?

Trying it now, whilst having plenty of features, in use it's as buggy as a tramp's trousers.

By rhobstein3 on 11 Aug 2013

Awful! Avoid

Very disappointed with Bitdefender and have decided to uninstall permanently after just a few weeks! Poor customer support. Support request not dealt with. Software must be manually updated every time there is a red alert - no option for software to do this automatically. Chatline frequently slow, or even unavailable, in spite of boasting of 24 hour support. Will return to my previous provider (BullGuard).

By TrueToad on 19 Nov 2013

Excellent Protection

BD 13+ provides excellent protection and very low resource impact, very impressed. On the downside I do not like the Win 8 style GUI on my Windows 7 environment but everyone seems to be heading that way unfortunately. Another downside, support is probably the worst that I have experienced in recent years, they give standard or useless replies and you have to wait days or weeks for that useless reply. Aside from that it's still better than most AVs out there at the present time, I've tested lots of them.

By Cavehomme on 8 Jan 2014

Excellent Protection

BD 13+ provides excellent protection and very low resource impact, very impressed. On the downside I do not like the Win 8 style GUI on my Windows 7 environment but everyone seems to be heading that way unfortunately. Another downside, support is probably the worst that I have experienced in recent years, they give standard or useless replies and you have to wait days or weeks for that useless reply. Aside from that it's still better than most AVs out there at the present time, I've tested lots of them.

By Cavehomme on 8 Jan 2014

Disaster!

Installed BitDefender and experienced an almighty PC crash. Wasted a day of my life rebuilding and recovering. My advice? Don't take the risk.

By planetzog on 17 Feb 2014

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