BitDefender Internet Security 2010: Redesigned but Has Some Limitations

BitDefender Internet Security 2010 finished fifth in our 2010 security suites roundup, but it provides solid protection at a low price ($50 for three users as of 3/9/2010). BitDefender gets a much-needed interface redesign for 2010. The new interface comes in three variations: a basic display with only three large icons and simple text, an intermediate design showing more detail, and an advanced interface for those who want to see granular details. Color status indicators (red, yellow, and green) make it easy to see at a glance whether your PC is protected.

In detecting and disabling active infections, this suite proved effective. It found all of the infected files and Registry entries and disabled 93 percent, but it completely removed only 40 percent of the malware, leaving traces behind.

In detection and disinfection of rootkits (stealth malware used to hide other malware infections), BitDefender did well, detecting 97 percent of active and inactive rootkits. It disabled 93 percent of active rootkits, and fully removed 86 percent of rootkit samples. However, Kaspersky and McAfee both earned perfect scores across the board here.

BitDefender did a poor job at detecting and blocking malware based on behavioral analysis (detecting malware based solely on how it acts); it detected 80 percent of test samples, blocked 40 percent, and removed only 6 percent of samples. Although only Norton Internet Securirty--our top pick overall--earned perfect scores in this test, BitDefender's results are not a good sign. Behavioral detection is a good way of detecting brand-new malware threats for which no signature file exists.

The suite did put up decent results for signature-based malware detection. BitDefender detected 96 percent of samples. The top performer in this test, by comparison, detected upwards of 99.9 percent of samples.

BitDefender's firewall was a bit noisy, warning us about the activities of some popular applications like CDBurnerXP 4, DivX 7, OpenOffice 3, and Picasa 3 that pose no threat. No other suite we tested had as many notable false positives.

In our battery of tests to determine how much a suite slows down a PC on which it's running, BitDefender did well, but it wasn't among the most efficient. Our test PC booted quickly, with BitDefender improving the average startup time by roughly 3.5 seconds for a total of 43.46 seconds at startup. Like Norton Internet Security, BitDefender uses optimized scanning: It scans only the files that have changed since the last scan, thus improving performance during normal desktop operation. Despite this feature, scan speeds were around average; it took 4 minutes, 16 seconds to scan 4.5GB of data in our on-access scan test (which shows how well it scans files when they're opened or saved). Our top performer completed this test in 2 minutes, 51 seconds.

The suite doesn't offer a lot of technical support options. We found the searchable knowledge base limited, and the company offers e-mail support only if you can't find what you're looking for.

BitDefender offers a good selection of useful Internet Security tools and solid protection at a reasonable price. If you don't mind a few firewall notices, you should be happy with this suite.

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