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Bitdefender Internet Security

Download Editors' Rating:
Editors' Rating:
Average User Rating:
out of 177 votes out of 18 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
  • Total Downloads:
  • Date Added:
    Oct. 19, 2011
  • Price:
    Free to try (30-day trial); $69.95 to buy (Buy it now)

Editors' Review


The bottom line: Bitdefender Internet Security 2012 makes a convincing pitch as an easy Windows security option. It's got an enormous selection of features, but the best one means you'll never see another security notification again unless you get infected. And the price is competitive, striking a good balance between value-added features and cost.

Bitdefender Internet Security 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. When it comes to efficacy, Bitdefender isn't the best in every area, but it's definitely competitive and priced lower.

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

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.

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
Bitdefender Internet Security 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 Internet Security 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.

Bitdefender Internet Security 2012 shares the same detection engine as its less feature-laden siblings, Bitdefender Total Security 2012 and Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 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 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 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 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 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'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, 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 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.

Bitdefender Internet Security 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.

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Publisher's Description

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User Reviews
  • Current Version


    out of 18 votes

    • 5 star 2
    • 4 star 4
    • 3 star 1
    • 2 star 4
    • 1 star 7
  • All Versions


    out of 177 votes

    • 5 star 42
    • 4 star 18
    • 3 star 13
    • 2 star 31
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Results 1–10 of 18

1 stars

"Bitdefender my foot"

June 12, 2012  |  By Cnet-buddy

2012-06-12 20:16:00  |  By Cnet-buddy

 |  Version: Bitdefender Internet Security 2012


It works on some computers.


It crashed my daughter's computer after installation. The system hung at the Windows logo and needed to be restored from an image. The same thing happened when I tried to install the software a second time.


Too Unstable for my liking.

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4 stars

"no problems"

April 26, 2012  |  By calm19

2012-04-26 12:22:47  |  By calm19

 |  Version: Bitdefender Internet Security 2012


works in silent.well organized interface with useful tools.has 2 way firewall-big advantage.


a little slow installation and full tuning


i have not experience any big problem which others had.i preferred it over g-data due to the 2 way firewall.

Updated on Apr 26, 2012

another con i forgot to mention:it does not get along with Malwarebytes.i have the pro version so you can say i lost money. oh well,nothing perfect.....

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4 stars

"Nice but could be better"

April 03, 2012  |  By bitclear

2012-04-03 18:06:55  |  By bitclear

 |  Version: Bitdefender Internet Security 2012


-Fast scans
-nice interface
-security is awesome
-auto pilot is nice


-it takes hours to install bitdefender 2012
-slightly slows down pc
-no costumer service
-sometimes freezes the computer

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4 stars

"No Problems So Far"

March 14, 2012  |  By Quiturbitchin

2012-03-14 17:30:20  |  By Quiturbitchin

 |  Version: Bitdefender Internet Security 2012


Nice Interface
Doesn't Hog My CPU
Highly rated by independant testers


Large download
Slight lag in computer startup and shutdown but I knew that going in.


After 5 years as a McAfee customer, I made the switch to Bitdefender. McAfee was adequate in the protection department but was a heck of a resource hog. So far I have found Bitdefender to have a much lighter footprint on my system. I'm a little concerned about the tech support horror stories but, so far, I'm pleased with the program.

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4 stars

"Solid performance"

March 06, 2012  |  By JamsFL

2012-03-06 00:34:27  |  By JamsFL

 |  Version: Bitdefender Internet Security 2012


Fast updates, browser protection for searches and downloads works perfectly, firewall is silent and effective, high detection rate.


Scams could be faster, especially the full system scan.


offers solid protection, hopefully they will add more to it in the next version.

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1 stars

"First and Last Time User of Bitdefender"

March 02, 2012  |  By UTminer

2012-03-02 01:44:47  |  By UTminer

 |  Version: Bitdefender Internet Security 2012


bundled with tuneup utilities at student discount price of $19


Cnet needs different metrics to test these suites. While being online for or just on the computer around 30 mins or so, bitdefender would no longer be active or in, "silent mode." It did not even appear in the task manager. It let too much get by and as a result; I had to do two clean installs to fix my OS. Can't say much for Tuneup Utilities, I used it a couple of times after a clean install and it came up with ridiculous registry errors in which I checked via regedit, uninstalled-it can't be trusted.


horrible, going back to Kas......

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3 stars

"Heavy software"

February 16, 2012  |  By super14man1

2012-02-16 19:04:58  |  By super14man1

 |  Version: Bitdefender Internet Security 2012


It blocks all threats and I got it to install qucikly.


It is so heavy it will slow start up and make internet lag!!!!!

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2 stars

"No Customer Service, Slows comp, OK protection"

January 27, 2012  |  By TraceyRou

2012-01-27 09:31:53  |  By TraceyRou

 |  Version: Bitdefender Internet Security 2012


Well, I can't say that the effectiveness is as good as it used to be. Several times the thing would pop up saying it blocked a trojan when in fact it didn't & I had to use a FREEware to clear it - the Bitdefender stuff wouldn't touch it - this happened at least four times in the last year.

We've been using Bitdefender for 3 years. Jan. 2010 to present - it's been crappy.


We are no longer using Bitdefender after being with them for years, because the customer service is NON existent. They also said my license had expired & I was not protected when the account still showed over 130 days left on my subscription.

I didn't even bother asking them about the remaining 130 days. The quickest response I've ever had from Bitdefender was 13 days for a basic question on why they stopped their black Friday sale when they said it was good for like 4 days. All of a sudden they decided to change the the offer's expiration without notice.

When I had a technical issue on the Bitdefender side (they admitted it was their fault over the phone) - where the computer was not working AT ALL - it took over 55 days to hear back from the next level of support & that was just a suggestion on what I could try to fix it.

I needed my computer - waiting 55 days was INSANE!

Never going back.


Way over rated. Product has gone down hill tremendously over my years of using it. In last 2 years never had Bitdefender find & get rid of a bad, bad trojan - when freeware did get rid of it.

No customer service.

If something goes wrong on their side technically, forget getting an answer. Their level 2 & up support is non-existent. Waited 55 days for a suggestion - not even a solution - responded & never heard back from them again!

They said my license had expired & stopped service when there was over 130 days left per my account status on their site.

Updated on Jan 27, 2012

Forgot to add that it really slows down your computer - much more so than other softwares.

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2 stars

"Bought it - but won'r risk installing it."

December 30, 2011  |  By 5talentgirl

2011-12-30 05:52:05  |  By 5talentgirl

 |  Version: Bitdefender Internet Security 2012


Was ONCE great according to popular opinion


Is NOW a nightmare according to some of those same folk.


I refuse to make the mistake of ignoring user reviews and comments.
I don't like being bit.
Bitdefender is not for me UNLESS something radically changes for the better.

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2 stars

"Hours wasted on 2012 install"

December 27, 2011  |  By decoy57

2011-12-27 14:50:44  |  By decoy57

 |  Version: Bitdefender Internet Security 2012


Worked ok last year


Disaster installing AV2012 update on Vista PC in my home office. Destabilized and then completely crashed my computer; had to restore system in safe mode (not easy for someone without IT experience). Opened trouble ticket on BD website - auto-response says someone will get back to me within 48 hours - 48 hours??? - that's definitely not helpful or acceptable. Subsequent online reading shows me many people have trouble w BD on Vista if it doesn't have all the right updates. Why don't they warn you?


I don't have the patience for this. Uninstalling and going back to a more conventional system. Reasonable price is not worth time wasted.

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Full Specifications

What's new in version 2012
  • Rescue mode--Reboots your computer in a trusted environment, which is used for cleanup and restoration
  • Virtualized Browser--Isolates the browser from the operating system in a Bitdefender-provided environment to block web-based threats
  • Autopilot--Provides a hassle-free experience by making optimal security-related decisions without input from you
  • Social Network Protection -Filters the links you receive from your Facebook and Twitter friends and monitors your privacy settings
  • Scan Dispatcher--Triggers system scans when resource usage falls below a certain threshold to avoid any impact on your system's performance
Publisher Bitdefender
Publisher web site
Release Date July 28, 2011
Date Added October 19, 2011
Version 2012
Category Security Software
Subcategory Internet Security Software Suites
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows XP/Vista/7
Additional Requirements None
Download Information
File Size 2.74MB
File Name bitdefender_isecurity.exe
Total Downloads 261,217
Downloads Last Week 250
License Model Free to try
Limitations 30-day trial
Price $69.95

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