Bitdefender has updated its suites for the coming year, and it says it has done it in part by adopting a bit of Romanian lore. Although, to be honest, it may also sound familiar to fans of George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones series. Available exclusively today from CNET Download.com, Bitdefender Total Security 2012 (download), Bitdefender Internet Security 2012 (download), and Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2012 (download) were improved in part by taking on the "philosophy based on mythical wolf-dragon from Romania," said Matt Hicks, the company's global public relations manager. The wolf-dragon, he said, is supposed to represent security and alertness.
Whatever the impetus behind the redesign of the suite, there's no doubt that they include a number of notable improvements. A revamped interface has given the suites a cleaner design that feels lighter and easier to use, while retaining its modularity. The virus-detection engine has been improved to look at processes while they are running, while Bitdefender's own processes were moved to the kernel to make it more difficult to for threats to circumvent the suite. In turn, this has reduced the suite's impact on system resources, according to Catalin Cosoi, Bitdefender's head of Online Threats Lab.
The browser add-on for Firefox and Internet Explorer has been wisely done away with, replaced by a make-agnostic module that will protect you across all five major browsers by scanning Web traffic before it reaches the browser. A new autopilot feature has been added to create a completely silent security experience. It's similar to Bitdefender's competitors' "silent" or "gaming" mode, although it does a bit more than just silencing security pop-up alerts. It also makes some changes to the program's settings, in how it deals with threats, and it also is on as the default setting for Bitdefender. Meanwhile, a vulnerability scanner will check your computer for outdated programs, drivers, and patches, and recommend solutions.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 for free to all Facebook users, and the company's Android app remains free to use for 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. Florin Virlan, Software Engineering Director, said that Bitdefender's rescue mode differs from competitors because it creates a "self-contained Linux OS, contained in one encrypted file on your PC," that the rescue mode boots into. It also adds Linux as an option to your boot BIOS.
The Safebox feature, which automatically backs up your files to a remote server when changes have been detected, will now sync files across multiple computers when they are running Bitdefender. Notably, Safebox is the only new or improved feature that only comes in Bitdefender Total Security 2012. The other improvements have been made across all three suites.
One thing to watch out for is that Bitdefender does not play well with any other security program, even the ones designed to work as complements to security suites like Malwarebytes. Come back to Download.com later today to read full reviews of Bitdefender's 2012 suites.