Bitdefender Antivirus Plus

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus

Editors' Rating:
4
Excellent
Average User Rating:
2.5
out of 204 votes
See all user reviews

Quick Specs

Version:
2012
File Size:
6.46MB
Date Added:
April 24, 2012
Price:
Free to try (30-day trial); $39.95 to buy (Buy it now)
Operating Systems:
Windows XP/Vista/7
Total Downloads:
570,618
Downloads Last Week:
2,111
Product ranking:
Additional Requirements:
Not available

Editors' review

The bottom line: Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2012 comes with some solid basic security features, but they're more comparable to free suites than anything else. Still, Bitdefender's new AutoPilot is great for people who want top-rated security that doesn't annoy.

Review:
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2012 presents a convincing alternative to its better-known competitors. It's a strong program, with all the major tools that users expect, and some additional useful tricks in its arsenal. Bitdefender is held back by some major problems on system performance, specifically boot up and shutdown time, so if you're cool with those two and you want to pay for security, this might be your best bet. Otherwise, go look at the free security options.

Editors' note: Portions of this review are based on CNET's review of Bitdefender Total Security 2012.

Installation
Bitdefender's installation still aggressively detects other security programs you have installed. It won't play well with the small subset of programs that are designed to supplement the major suites, like Malwarebytes. It won't install if you have even remnants of them left. To ensure that Bitdefender installs cleanly, our advice is to use an uninstaller tool like Revo Uninstaller to keep program detritus from causing conflicts. The option in last year's version that allowed concurrent installations appears to have been removed.

Bitdefender still offers a highly customizable installation experience, but it's no longer the default. Now, installation will pause in the middle so you can register, and then zip along. It finished in around 2 minutes, which the company says is half the time the 2011 version takes. At the end of the installation, the program notifies you that it has completed a preliminary virus scan to ensure that it wasn't installing on an infected machine.

Uninstallation was a fast and painless process, and the program even allows you to choose whether to reactivate Windows Defender and Windows firewall. A few Registry entries were left behind, though.

Interface
For the second year in a row, Bitdefender has overhauled its interface. The new look sports a dark theme, not unlike Norton, and retains the modularity of last year's Basic interface, but the rest is entirely new. Gone are the Intermediate and Advanced interface designs, replaced with a less chaotic, more mainstream approach. A big notification status ring at the top of the interface warns you of your security status, with green for secure, yellow for problems that "require attention," and red for immediate security issues. Generally, we think that in the world of complex security threats, a simplified, two-status system of red and green works better than one with an intermediate status. Nevertheless, this year's interface is definitely easier to use than last year's.

Next to the colored status ring are links to Events, Settings, and AutoPilot. Events takes you to a log of recent security events, and it cleverly uses a Facebook-style red-circle notification pop-up to tell you when something has happened requiring attention.

What has been retained from last year's version is the user's ability to choose which security modules live front and center. By clicking the arrow to the right of the main four tools or clicking the row of gray dots, you can scroll through a variety of features and click and drag to reorder them. Leaving them in their default locations will suit most users, however. Antivirus, Firewall, Antispam, and Update are the first four that you'll see; they have a unified look, each with an icon at the top and manage or update toggles at the bottom.

The Settings window is remarkably easy to use, with tabs that repeat the options presented in the main window. Each tab on the left reveals related tabs on top when you click on it, such as Advanced settings under General, or Quarantine under Antivirus. Sliders make it easy to toggle settings, so you can quickly change the antivirus scan, for example, from Aggressive to Normal to Permissive.

Features and support
Antivirus Plus 2012 offers a competitive selection of tools and options. Along with antivirus and anti-malware detection and removal engines, the suite has phishing protection, a spam guard, chat encryption, multiple scan levels, a firewall, parental controls, a system performance optimizer, file encryption, and online backup.

There aren't many changes to Antivirus Plus in this year's edition. Last year the company moved most of its scanning, but not all of it, to the cloud. However, traditional, locally based virus definition scans are still a component of how Bitdefender protects you. The reputation engine in Bitdefender doesn't fully ignore files that it's identified as safe. Based on a geometric progression algorithm that looks at when a file was last accessed, Bitdefender will occasionally look at safe files to ensure that they haven't been turned into sleeper agents. The virus detection engine has been improved this year to look at processes while they are running, while Bitdefender's own processes were moved to the kernel to make it more difficult for threats to circumvent the suite. In turn, this has reduced the suite's impact on system resources.

What is new is the AutoPilot, a smart system that sets most notifications to silent, automatically deals with most threats encountered, and basically ensures that your security is running but not bothering you. Similar to Bitdefender's competitors' "silent" or "gaming" modes, it's on by default, so you could conceivably install Bitdefender and never look at it again. The toggle for it lives at the top right of the main interface, so people who want more control over their security can easily deactivate it. Bitdefender 2012 also has a gaming mode that only silences notifications.

The browser add-on for Firefox and Internet Explorer has been wisely done away with, replaced by a module that will protect you across all five major browsers by scanning Web traffic before it reaches the browser. Meanwhile, a vulnerability scanner will check your computer for outdated programs, drivers, and patches, and recommend solutions.

The Bitdefender Safego tool has been integrated into the suite, too. It performs link scanning for Facebook, with plans to include Twitter support soon. On Facebook, it will scan your news and wall feeds. It's also available free to all Facebook users, and the company's Android app remains free to all as well.

The rescue mode changes are extremely useful. If threats like rootkits can't be removed easily, the computer is rebooted into rescue mode. Bitdefender's rescue mode differs from its competitors' because it creates an encrypted, self-contained Linux OS file on your PC that the rescue mode boots into. It also adds Linux as an option to your boot BIOS.

One area where Bitdefender has reduced the excellent in-program support it offered last year is that video tutorials that used to be included with the program have been moved to the Web. The customer support number is buried in the Bitdefender Web site, as is the link to the live chat support. Direct access from the program's interface would be useful, especially if your Internet connection isn't working. Sadly, burying the support number is nothing new in the security suite business.

When compared to Bitdefender Total Security 2012, which is $20 cheaper, Bitdefender Internet Security lacks the online backup and file synchronization tool called Safebox, the system tune-up feature, file encryption, and file shredding. Antivirus Plus is missing those features, as well as the parental controls, firewall, and anti-spam measures, and retails for $10 less than Internet Security 2012.

Performance
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2012 shares the same detection engine as its less feature-laden siblings, Bitdefender Total Security 2012 and Bitdefender Internet Security 2012, so all three are discussed here.

Bitdefender isn't the biggest name in security, but name recognition doesn't equal efficacy. In a real-world test, Bitdefender completed its initial scan during installation in 3 minutes, 16 seconds. During two subsequent uninstalls and reinstalls, the installation scan consistently took more than 4 minutes. After the installation scan, the suite averaged Quick-scan completion in 2 minutes, 9 seconds, over three runs, about 1 minute slower than last year.

The Deep scan averaged 1 hour, 32 minutes, 49 seconds over three installs, about 38 minutes slower than last year's real-world scan time average.

CNET Labs' benchmarks found that Bitdefender benchmarked well, but with room for improvement. Note that while last year's benchmarks were tested on the basic installation of Windows 7 x64, CNET Labs is now using a Windows 7 x64 test bed running Service Pack 1. So while results are more comparable than they would be with, say, a Windows XP computer, there's still a notable difference between the test computers.

Bitdefender 2012 showed fast but not stunning scan times, with Total Security 2012 scoring 920 seconds, Antivirus Plus 2012 hitting 996 seconds, and Internet Security 2011 completing in 969 seconds. However, the suites' impact on boot time was less tolerable. Antivirus Plus added 17 seconds to the boot time; Internet Security added 19 seconds; and Total Security slowed the PC boot cycle by a remarkable 21.6 seconds. Likewise, the impact on shutdown times was also problematic, with Antivirus Plus and Internet Security adding around 11 seconds to shutdown, and Total Security extending shutdown by 25 seconds. Compared with last year, when Bitdefender slowed boot time by around 6 seconds and shutdown time by around 2.25 seconds, this is a clear step backward for the suite.

On the less critical but still important tests of MS Office performance, iTunes decoding, media multitasking, and Cinebench, Bitdefender did much better. The scores for all three suites were among the fastest we've seen thus far this year.

Please note that since Bitdefender 2012 is one of the first suites to be released this season, suite comparisons and ratings may be adjusted at a later date.

Security program Boot time Shutdown time Scan time MS Office performance iTunes decoding Media multitasking Cinebench
Unprotected system 40 6 n/a 395 120 342 17,711
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2012 57 17.6 996 414 126 345 17,341
Bitdefender Internet Security 2012 59 17.3 969 414 125 344 17,406
Bitdefender Total Security 2012 61.6 31 920 402 127 346 17,363

Note: All tests measured in seconds, except for Cinebench. On the Cinebench test, higher numbers are better.

Independent testing agency AV-Test.org has marked consistently high scores for Bitdefender Internet Security 2011 during the first two quarters of 2011. On a Windows 7 computer, Bitdefender scored 6 out of 6 on Protection, 4 out of 6 on Repair, and 5.5 out of 6 on Usability, for an overall score of 15.5 out of 18, clearing the minimum of 11 for an AV-Test.org certificate and earning the highest score of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, on a Windows XP computer, Bitdefender Internet Security 2011 did even better. The suite hit 6 out of 6 on Protection and 5.5 out of 6 on both Repair and Usability, for a total of 17 out of 18, once again becoming the highest-scoring suite.

Note that AV-Test.org defines its categories as follows: "The 'Protection' covers static and dynamic malware detection, including real-world zero-day attack testing. In case of 'Repair,' we check the system disinfection and rootkit removal in detail. The 'Usability' testing includes the system slowdown caused by the tools and the number of false positives."

Third-quarter results aren't in yet, but results shared by AV-Test.org with CNET indicate that the suite continues to perform well. It notched a 99.53 percent malware detection rate, higher than the overall average rate of 96.14 percent in July 2011 certification testing. The suite was able to remove 93.6 percent of active malware infections, higher than the industry average of 80.7 percent, and 90 percent of rootkit infections. However, the rootkit infection detection and removal rate matched the industry average. In AV-Test.org's zero-day attacks test, Bitdefender blocked 100 percent of the attacks, compared with the average July 2011 certification results of 85.7 percent. The suite also did not find any false positives.

In short, AV-Test.org found Bitdefender 2011 and the new 2012 to be highly effective security protection, and both were progressively more effective than Bitdefender 2010.

The most recent AV-Comparatives.org Whole Product test, which looks at on-demand scanning, retroactive tests, and "real-world" guards including cloud-based protections, puts Bitdefender 2011 in the top four suites tested. The June 2011 test found that it blocked 98.8 percent of attacks and threats thrown at it, only behind F-Secure, Panda, and Trend Micro. Meanwhile, looking at Whole Product test results cumulatively from January 2011 to June 2011 found that Bitdefender 2011 came in second only to F-Secure, blocking 99.1 percent of threats.

A third testing lab, Dennis Technology Labs, had slightly less good news for Bitdefender from its January 2011 test, although the results were still strong. In its test of high-end suites, including Bitdefender Total Security 2011, Dennis Labs placed Bitdefender fourth, behind Norton 360 v5, Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security 2011, and ESET Smart Security v4. Note that Norton 360 v5 was updated about six months after its competitors, in March 2011, and although ESET last received a major update in April 2009, it has been receiving minor updates regularly.

It's fair to conclude that according to third-party tests, Bitdefender has been highly effective over the past year, and if that's your most important standard then you'd be aiming high by choosing it. However, when it comes to system performance, specifically start-up and shutdown times, Bitdefender has room to improve.

Conclusion
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2012 has a competitive range of features and offers top-notch security, held back only by its deleterious impact on your boot and shutdown. Throw all that together, keeping in mind the seamless AutoPilot system, and you've got the makings of a sleeper hit--if you're willing to pay for a basic level of protection.

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All User Reviews
  • All Versions:

    2.5

    out of 204 votes

    • 5 star: 46
    • 4 star: 18
    • 3 star: 23
    • 2 star: 21
    • 1 star: 96
  • Current Version:

    2.0

    out of 4 votes

    • 5 star: 0
    • 4 star: 1
    • 3 star: 0
    • 2 star: 1
    • 1 star: 2
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

    Results 1-10 of 17

  • 1 stars

    "Terrible customer service"

    May 02, 2014   |   By tbm3efan

    Version: Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2014

    Pros

    Nothing considering it won't start

    Cons

    Had to make the switch over from XP to 7 which wasn't smooth. Lost email. Thunderbird no longer works and neither does Bitdefender after 2 months on a 2 year purchase. It did not make the transition and customer service is asking me to do this and that which entails starting the program. They haven't listen to the main complaint that it WON"T start. One week ago told me to be patient and they were working on a solution.

    Today an email comes saying they haven't heard from me and what was going on?!?! The only solution, that will absolutely work, is downloading it again. However, with the lost emails, I no longer have my necessary security code to start the download. That was originally told to them 4 weeks ago and one gets the impression they don't want to do that. So I am locked out two different ways and the money down the drain.

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  • 1 stars

    "AVOID IT!!!"

    April 30, 2014   |   By shane_f

    Version: Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2014

    Pros

    Nothing at all

    Cons

    Everything

    Summary

    BitDefender (provided by Avangate) is a terrible product and even worse company. Purchased it last year but have had nothing with trouble with it. Crashed computer, slowed down performance. So flicked over to another antivirus product and everything works perfectly. Sent them an email to cancel my account 10 months ago, but just yesterday they charge me for a renewal. So email them to ask for a refund to which they refuse because it is auto renewal. Say I sent a cancellation email and am told I need to contact someone completely different to organise a refund. Avoid like the plague people, worst customer service ever!!!

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  • 1 stars

    "Professional reviewers getting kickbacks?"

    April 27, 2014   |   By cnet_rocks123

    Version: Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2014

    Pros

    Pretty looking 'gadget'

    Cons

    1. It is nagware.
    2. It is self-promoting - constantly.
    3. Marketing is misleading.
    4. Worst of all, it installs Spyware!

    Summary

    It is nagware because, even though paid-for, it constantly nags you to sign up for its other products - such as data-vault. Impossible to stop without signing up.

    It is self-promoting because the, nice-looking, gadget is always popping up (grabbing focus) telling you that it has protected you from a risk every time! Great, dont tell me just get on with it!!!

    Marketing is misleading as BitDefender says it has a
    '30-day refund policy if not 100% satisfied'. From day 6 I tried very hard to get a refund; I am still waiting and as you can see I am not 100% satisfied. If that statement is not misleading I dont know what is!!

    Finally, it installs spyware. This was the real eye-opener for me and I only discovered it because on two of my PC's (I'd purchased the 5-PC license) there appeared to be unaccounted for IP traffic - something was communicating over the network that I'd not knowingly authorised. When I investigated I found that on PC Startup an oddly named 'installer' process was starting and had hoidden itself in a folder containing Microsoft 'common' executables. Dispite me telling Bitdefender I'd wanted a full uninstall it had carefully left something that was watching me; not protecting me but just watching. That is not the sort of behaviour I'd expect from something that purports to protect its users from Malware. My guess is that most users are not techsavvie enough to notice stuff like this and those that are are not stupid enough (like me!!! Why do I do fall for things I warn others about!!??) to buy this malware.


    This is an excellent example of a consumer-personal Antivirus that is geared more towards making money for its stakeholders rather than getting on and doing the job of protecting the machine it is installed on. BitDefender gets 'rave' reviews from professional reviewers which baffles me and I can only conclude these 'reviews' are 'paid for' by the BitDefender company.


    As others have warned - buyer beware!

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  • 4 stars

    "Good product"

    April 26, 2014   |   By HrRinger

    Version: Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2014

    Pros

    Runs Silently
    Easy install
    allows user to customize how "attention" or "needy" it is.
    haven't gotten a virus/malware yet.

    Cons

    initial scan took near 20 minutes. ew. (subsequent scans were about 3 to 4 minutes)
    customer service does suck

    Summary

    I don't know what the other users are smoking, angry-pipe, but this product works well. it does take set-up though. Sure, you can use it right after install, without changing anything, but honestly... who does that? Tinker a bit and get the setting you want how you want.
    Initially I had some issues with it deleting files from an old hard drive that I was attempting to clean/recover old files from. I figured out how to change the settings so it didn't do this - and then all went well
    As for the game mode and scanning CD's, if you don't like this - change the settings.
    Overall - be ready to tinker with the settings a bit, but this is a great product. (oh, and it does some learning on it's own - so if you commonly say no to xyz, it will stop asking and not do it.... or what have you. )

    Anyway, at 39.95, it's on par with Trend Micro (which I switched from) and kaspersky...

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  • 1 stars

    "BAD BAD BAD"

    April 22, 2014   |   By wlfheart

    Version: Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2014

    Pros

    installed easy thats about it

    Cons

    Freeze crash freeze crash Hard reboot on a brand new machine.

    Summary

    i don't know why the editors rate this junk so high. Makes you wonder.

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  • 1 stars

    "Bad Product, Bad Customer Service, Auto-Renewal Scam"

    March 26, 2014   |   By pdc7acres

    Version: Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2014

    Pros

    None absolutely none

    Cons

    Installed on a number of PC's and had to remove from several because of problems with other software, IE Home page could not be set until BD uninstalled and Fingerprint software would not work.
    Customer support no ideas try re-installing made no difference and a pain to uninstall.
    Auto renewal feature is a scam and particularly difficult to cancel internet Security 3PCs 1yr Originally £14.99 / Auto-renewal £202.30 OUTRAGEOUS - and still not sure if auto-renewal has been cancelled - will find out in next week or so!!

    Summary

    So don't buy online with auto-renewal enabled!

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  • 1 stars

    "Awful product with terrible customer support"

    March 23, 2014   |   By CannondaleExpress

    Version: Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2014

    Pros

    None that I discovered when I was using BitDefender.

    Cons

    Allows computers to become infested with malware.
    Awful customer service
    Charged my credit card for the annual upgrade fee even though I had cancelled my subscription
    Rebooting my PC every day when I was running BitDefender because of sluggishness, etc.
    No way to manually run a scan

    Summary

    In January 2013, I decided to pay for anti-virus protection. There were no issues with my desktop, but I thought my computer might be exposed to danger by using the freeware provided with Windows. BitDefender seemed to be frequently recommended, so I downloaded it and selected the annual auto-upgrade option. Within a few days of installing BitDefender, my desktop computer started experiencing issues—freezing, sluggishness, etc. I will never ever use BitDefender again and I cringe every time I see it listed as a good product.

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  • 5 stars

    "Bitdefender Total Security"

    March 22, 2014   |   By Viaexcellence

    Version: Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2014

    Pros

    User interface is remarkable. Easy to use.

    Cons

    Never had any issues whatsoever...

    Summary

    I have had Bit defender more than 3 years now. I highly recommend this internet security suit to anybody.

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  • 1 stars

    "Worst Tech Support in the World"

    March 19, 2014   |   By DJ_ALPE

    Version: Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2014

    Pros

    looks good

    Cons

    The absolute worst tech support. Was told to use Recue Mode to remove a problem on February 25th. Locked into RescueMode. After weeks of daily phone calls and hours and hours on hold a tech talked me through sorting out the problem in 10 minutes on March 18th 21 Days. Remote control hadn't worked. Techs asked me if I had tried what they had suggested in an email. Couldn't recieve emails as computer was locked in Rescue Mode. Was told numerous times that they would call back at a certain time No phone calls ever received. Suppervisiors are always in meetings and unavailable. All in All the absolute worst tech support that I have ever not received.

    Summary

    I would not recommend BitDefender if you are not a tech wizard

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  • 1 stars

    "Bitdefender is crap."

    March 14, 2014   |   By Guru_Meditation_aol_com

    Version: Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2014

    Pros

    Nothing good to say..

    Cons

    I had bitdefender for nearly a year in various computers with OS: W7 and W8.1. Bitdefender make computers crash all the time. Only what is find is cookies, I give a new name: Cookie monster. I sticked in usb with other antivirus that find over 100 viruses on one of my computers that cookie monster did not find.

    Summary

    There is lots of good ones out there, Kaspersky worked some how, but anything is better than cookie monster..

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  • Results 1-10 of 17

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