BitDefender Antivirus 2010: Needs Better Interface

BitDefender Antivirus ($30 for a one-year, three-PC license) holds its own at dealing with malware, but its interface isn't especially user-friendly. Overall the program earned fourth place in our roundup of stand-alone antivirus programs.

This Romanian-made software did well in traditional detection tests that put it up against a collection of known malware kept by AV-Test.org. BitDefender detected 99.66 percent of all samples in a huge cache of spyware, Trojan horses, worms, and the like. But several other apps did even better, so that showing was good enough only for fifth place.

BitDefender did much the same in heuristic tests that simulate detection of newer malware by using two-week old databases.Its 65.34 percent block rate in these tests was respectable, but again yielded a fifth-place finish. The app did better in other proactive protection tests that measure a program's ability to block a baddie based solely on how it acts on a PC, blocking two-thirds of the brand-new test samples, earning it a tie for second place.

Presented with the task of disinfecting files, BitDefender disabled nine out of ten malware infections. By comparison, all but three programs in this roundup managed to remove every malware component we threw at them. And it languished in last place (along with G Data) when it cleaned up only seven out of ten active rootkits. It did clean up a greater percentage of the less-important files and system changes than most of the other security apps.

Despite some good features, BitDefender's interface isn't executed particularly well. For example, any se­­curity guru will tell you that keeping Windows up-to-date is essential for good security, and BitDefender can scan for missing updates. Unfortunately, it will display a critical warning if you happen to lack an optional package on its list--such as the Microsoft Base Smart Card Cryptographic Service Provider Package--even though it isn't really necessary to protect your PC.

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