Bitdefender Total Security 2017 Review
Running a Windows computer without an antivirus on it is very dangerous. Some people think that they can keep their PC clean and devoid of malware because they don’t download files from unknown sources or visit shady websites.
But that is not how the internet works, not these days anyway. One of the most common ways using which malware is spread around today, is through ads. Yes, the same ads which you see on websites you visit may be malicious.
How is this possible? No, we are not saying ads are malicious, but that attackers target ads hosted by legitimate websites, and inject some malicious scripts in to them. So, the next time a user visits the webpage and clicks on an ad, the script is executed, and then in turn it silently downloads a malicious file.
This file triggers the actual malware to be downloaded from a server, and get this, most of this happens without the user even being aware of the download. The computer is discreetly infected with malware. This is what security experts call Malvertising, and is an alarming cause of attacks on the internet.
Another way in which malware, besides ads or PUPs (Potentially unwanted programs) which are bundled with legitimate software, is by replacing the software itself. Yes, attackers often replace software packages, commonly referred to as installers, setup files, or EXEs , with a completely malicious one. These usually are done by tricking the users by using icons, logos, colors, etc similar to the original application.
These are often much more dangerous malware, called Ransomware. They are called that because, they encrypt your files and prevent you from accessing them. Unless you pay the ransom money for getting the decryption key, there is no way to recover the data, except if you have a ransomware decryption tool, which can undo the encryption algorithm. This is often impossible, because of the unique algorithm’s which each ransomware use.
This is why you should use a good antivirus software, which can prevent a malicious download or execution of a malicious file, before they can attack.
And the antivirus we use on our computers, is actually more than just an antivirus, it is BitDefender Total Security. Let’s see what it is capable of.
BitDefender Total Security has a superb interface, with a dark theme that is easy on the eye, and very stylish. The GUI comprises of two parts, a sidebar on the left edge, and a main window on the right side.
The sidebar has the following sections: Protection, Privacy, Tools, Activity, Notifications, Account, Settings and Support. You will notice that each of these is represented by a symbol (Shield, Shield with eye, Shield with tools etc), these make it easy to use the program. But if you are confused which icon is for which section, simply click the hamburger menu icon on the top left corner. This will display the names of each section. To close it just click the button again.
Now, the main window on the right displays options, which are corresponding to the selection you made on the sidebar. These options are displayed in large tiles, making it simple to use.
The Protection tab displays the status of the real-time protection, your primary line of defense. Just below the giant check mark and status, you will see whether your BitDefender Total Security’s virus definitions are up to date or not. If they are not, simply click the update now button to start the update manually.
But you won’t need to use it, considering that BitDefender Total Security keeps its database are automatically kept up to date.
To the right of this tab, is the Autopilot mode, which is enabled by default. This allows Bitdefender to provide optimal security, without disturbing the user. So, you won’t get any pop-ups or alerts, or alter a single setting, BitDefender will automatically deal with critical issues, manage your antivirus protection, real-time on-access scanning, Firewall, Privacy protection, automatic updates on its own.
The lower left corner of the Protection tab, has options to run two scans: Quick scan, and Vulnerability Scan. The first one checks the most commonly targeted areas in your OS, for viruses and malware.
The latter, scans for security issues on your computer such as weak passwords, missing Windows updates, available application updates, media autorun and Wi-Fi networks.
We were multi-tasking with several applications in the background, while we ran a quick scan in BitDefender Total Security, and it still did not make the system lag or slow down. In fact the scan was pretty speedy too, and completed under just 49 seconds. It will naturally be faster if you have fewer programs running.
Not only that, applications and files opened faster, than before when we tested other antivirus applications.
There is one more scan in BitDefender Total Security: System Scan. You can access it by clicking the View Modules option, in the Protection tab and then from the Antivirus module listing. You can also run a Quick Scan, or run custom scans from here. The Rescue Mode, can be used for emergency, to clean an infected system.
The Antivirus settings lets you configure the on-access scanning, active threat control, exclusions for whitelisting files and folders, removable devices autoscan settings, and manage the quarantine.
The Firewall settings lets you block port scans, configure network rules for applications, and manage settings for network adapters.
The Antispam settings lets you whitelist friends and blacklist spammers, and also has auto block for emails which have Asian characters, Cyrillic characters, and has options for submitting spam and legit samples to the Bitdefender Cloud.
The Web Protection settings allows you to enable the Search Advisor, Scan SSL and Protection against fraud and phising.
BitDefender Total Security’s Ransomware protection which by default, is disabled, is very strong, and protects against unknown programs. Say for example, when you try to run a browser, or game, which tries to alter the dekstop settings (by placing an icon, or writes data to your profile folder), it will be blocked automatically. BitDefender will display a pop-up message, asking if you want to enable the blocked application. If you are certain about the legitimacy of the program, you can safely unblock it and continue working.
This may seem aggressive, but it actually shows you how strong the anti-ransomware function is. Because it uses a behavior blocker, you may want to whitelist programs so they are not detected as ransomware.
So, a real ransomware stands no chance, with BitDefender Total Security standing at your PC’s defense.
You can view blocked programs, files, and web attacks from the main Protection window.
The Privacy tab has options for managing your PC’s parental controls, creating Wallets using the built-in password manager, as well as storing files securely by encrypting them in the File Vault. You can also use the BitDefender Safe Pay virtual environment ( a sandbox browser) for making online transactions very securely. There is a file shredder option here as well, for deleting files and making them un-recoverable.
Who says that a security software’s job is to only protect against malware? BitDefender Total Security totally agrees with this argument, and that’s why it can do more. It can help in keeping your PC running at top speed.
The One-Click Optimizer in Bitdefender Total Security, is useful for freeing up storage space, which is taken by junk files (temporary files), clean up redundant registry entries, and browser data remnants which can potentially cause privacy issues.
The Startup Optimizer in the tab, can be used for speed up your Windows boot time, by disabling or delaying specific apps from the start up. You can view the community usage and choice too. Bitdefender Total Security also shows you how long it takes for your PC to start.
You can use Bitdefender Central, the cloud based management dashboard, for the Anti-Theft feature to track stolen, lost devices, be it a laptop or a phone, and remotely lock or wipe the device.
Disk Cleanup lets you view which files are taking up the most of your storage and delete them to free up the space.
This tab lets you view which applications, files and web attacks were blocked in the last 30 days. If you just want a more recent list of activities, the next tab is better option. A security report for the last 7 days is available from this tab,.
You can view all of the real-time notifications which Bitdefender Total Security logs on your PC. This is useful for checking if the program detected anything
The Settings tab lets you configure Bitdefender Total Security to work per your needs. You can use it to add a password to protect the software itself, add a security widget to your desktop, manage profiles etc.
BitDefender Total Security offers a superb rate of detection, and a very reliable real-time protection. The resource usage of the software is minimal, which is what makes it a solid security choice for any computer.