July 9, 2012
- Good value
- Well-designed interface
- Unobtrusive protection
- Strong, competitive set of features
- Slightly slow scanning
BitDefender Total Security 2013 provides a solid alternative to other better-known security products out there. It definitely had its work cut out to try to better those other products and the Romanian software company seemed to have been successful on most counts. It runs smoothly and has some really unique and neat features to help set it apart from the rest.
Installing BitDefender Total Security 2013 was perhaps the quickest and most pleasant experience that we've had while installing any piece of security software. We downloaded the 2MB installer from the BitDefender.com Website and in only a few short minutes, it was installed. There was only a prompt to register the software and that was it. Once the installation is completed, it will let you know that your computer was scanned for any infections prior to installation.
The interface of security programs always seem to be changing from year-to-year and not always for the good. The 2013 interface is relatively the same as the 2012 version of the same program. At the top is a ring to show you the program's status and whether or not any actions need to be taken. Below that are several "cards" for each individual aspect of the program, like antivirus, antispam, privacy, firewall, etc. There are ten total modules (as the program calls them) and each one has a settings button and a quick way to turn them on/off if needed. Overall the interface is quite easy to use and fairly intuitive even for the most novice of users.
The settings area is also fairly straightforward and allows for the customization of the program's levels of protection. You can adjust your level of protection by means of sliders which are accompanied by a short, meaningful description. Other settings include things like toggle switches modeled after the Apple iOS interface, which also should be easy to use for the inexperienced.
Some of the features of BitDefender Total Security 2013 that are worth mentioning specifically include the Safepay browser, which provides you with a walled-off browser to surf the Web within. By using this browser, you ensure the rest of your computer is protected from any online threats. The browser worked well, displayed pages correctly and even was faster than we expected. While you shouldn't rely on this as your everyday browser, it's good to use if you're surfing an unfamiliar place, doing online banking or using a computer on an unsecured or public network.
A new AutoPilot feature puts control of security into the hands of the program and silences most notifications and automatically handles any threats that it encounters. This feature is turned on by default, so it makes the software seem less intrusive right from the start. There is also a gaming mode that completely silences all notifications.
For protection while surfing social media sites, the Safegod feature performs link scanning for Facebook and Twitter. This is helpful because there are many online phishing and other scams abound on social media sites looking to steal your identity and/or infect your computer.
There is also a browser-independent module that aims to scan your Web traffic on-the-fly to keep you safe from other online threats outside of social media sites.
Most of the scanning of files on your computer is done through a new smart algorithm that chooses when to scan files based upon their date of last scan and likelihood of being infected. The real-time scanning also looks at file processes running on your system as this is also a common type of infection.
A new Safebox feature provides you with 2GB of free online cloud-based storage. You can set specific folders or files to be backed up to this cloud storage automatically when they're changed. These files will also be synced across all other computers running BitDefender that are connected with your online account.
The online MyBitDefender.com account that you get with the software also has an anti-theft feature that is similar to the Find My iPhone device mapping service that Apple's iCloud offers. Here you can see the GPS position of your BitDefender-protected devices on a map in the event of theft or loss. From here you can also remotely wipe the device and send an alert/message to the device.
After installing Total Security 2013 on our desktop PC, we found that it did add about one minute of boot time to our Microsoft Windows 7-based PC. This is about on-par with other security suites and is actually an improvement compared to previous year's versions of this software. During use of the PC, we didn't notice much of a difference while using programs and surfing the Web, which is a very important metric.
Scan times could be a little better than we found them to be, but it definitely wasn't anything horrible. They just seemed to be slower than what they should've been.
We do not test the ability for security software to remove threats, but we do rely on AV-Test.org for this information. At the time of this writing, they have not yet performed tests on the 2013 version of this product. However, the 2012 ratings were very high across the board, especially in terms of protection and repair. Read the 2012 report for BitDefender Total Security at AV-Test.org.
Lastly, the Total Security 2013 version of BitDefender's software is priced at $79.95, which is slightly less or on-par with other big-named products for similar protection and features.