Bitdefender 2017 Review: The Best in Antivirus Software

Are you looking for the best protection against internet threats, with a reasonable price, a fluid user interface, and a minimal impact on your computer or phone’s performance?

After extensive testing, we found Bitdefender 2017 to be one of the best and inexpensive antivirus choices for most people.

We like Bitdefender 2017 because you get top of the line protection against malware infections and almost Zero influence on computer speed in daily usage.

Add to that a dedicated treatment for the ransomware epidemic, and you get a stellar security package with a very attractive price – from my point of view this is my editor’s choice!

Our Pick

Bitdefender Total Security 2017

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My Bitdefender Antivirus review includes a comparison of Bitdefender’s four security packages, my own test results on an average home PC environment, and information about the full scope of features you get with Bitdefender 2017. I will also add external laboratory results to the mix to give the readers a clear picture of what to expect from this top antivirus provider.

Dashboard for Bitdefender Total Security 2017

Bitdefender Total Security 2017 dashboard

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Top of the line protection against malware infections
  • Active Ransomware protection and detection
  • Zero influence on computer speed
  • Perfect independent test scores
  • Almost no false positive alerts
  • Flying colors hands-on tests

Cons:

  • Complicated fluid interface

Background of Bitdefender

Bitdefender is not a new player in the security software scene. The company's headquarters are located in Romania and it has been developing online protection software since 2001.

Globally, additional offices of Bitdefender are found in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, and even across the pond - in the US.

Bitdefender's enterprise clients include huge names such as Virgin Media and IBM, and they boast over 500 Million users around the world.

Test Results, Certifications and Awards

This section includes aggregated testing results from independent testing organizations, and lower in this review of Bitdefender you'll find hands-on tests performed by us.

On top of these excellent scores, Bitdefender has won numerous prestigious awards over the years.

Aside from receiving the Editor's Choice award of PC Magazine for the 11th time in 2015 (this time for the best "security mega-suite"), it is also the proud holder of AV-Test's Best Performance award for 2016.

Furthermore, it has consistently received the highest classification by AV-Comparatives (Advanced+) over the past several years in all of their testing scenarios.

Hands-On Malware Detection Test

Our hands-on tests of all antivirus software are performed on the same dedicated standalone PC with a clean Windows 10 64-bit installation and all available Windows updates installed.

Computer hardware: 4GB RAM, Intel Core i7 CPU 3.20 GHz

Here's a video showing the malware protection test we performed ourselves based on 1,000 different malware files:

 

 

Our test results bring me to conclude that Bitdefender handles malware beautifully with a final malware detection score of 95!

This is the same score which the 2016 version received in our previous video of a similar test.

Hands-On Phishing Protection Test

Here's a video of my colleague testing the anti-phishing feature:

 

 

Considering that new phishing web-pages appear constantly, Bitdefender adds an excellent layer of protection with a final anti-phishing protection score of 90!

Hands-On Performance Impact Test

Although AV-Test is very professional and comprehensive we try to give our readers a clear picture so they can relate to the real, day-to-day influence, and the toll each antivirus software takes on an average user's computer performance.

For the performance test I checked 3 parameters:

  1. CPU usage
  2. Memory usage
  3. Hard disk (read/write) usage

I monitored these parameters in several key moments.

  1. A clean windows installation without any software.
  2. A full antivirus installation following a signature update.
  3. During a full scan process of the antivirus.

Bitdefender's performance impact

Bitdefender's performance impact on all 3 parameters in all states

Windows 10 - Idle

Windows 10 without Bitdefender - Idle

CPU and memory usage by Bitdefender

CPU and memory usage by an idle Bitdefender installation

CPU and memory usage by Bitdefender during a full scan

CPU and memory usage by Bitdefender during a full scan.

Comparing Bitdefender to other Antivirus software I tested in hands-on tests, our performance score is 96%.

Customer Support Test

There’s no arguing about the quality of Bitdefender’s features, but what happens if something goes wrong?

Bitdefender’s unique Support Tool collects your contact information and information about the problem, and sends this to tech support.

When tech support has then analyzed the problem and found a solution, they’ll get in touch with you.

But wait, there's more:

They also have all users covered with an excellent support center site that hosts a useful wiki that addresses common questions and problems.

Their site even hosts malware and rootkit removal utilities.

And, if that isn’t enough, Bitdefender’s got your back:

Bitdefender users can contact customer support 24/7 through email, online chat, and phone – a level of responsiveness unmatched by competitors.df

When checking the customer service of a company, we conduct at least 2 separate customer support tests. 

For Bitdefender we checked their online chat support and also called the US customer support number.

We always conduct these tests on a Monday morning to make sure it reflects the customer service workload / ticket queue that accumulated over the weekend.

Live Chat Support

As you can see in the following screenshot, the representative did answer my questions promptly although I would expect to see more thorough answers.

Live chat with a Bitdefender representative

Live chat with a Bitdefender customer service representative

Phone call

A support specialist answered the phone within 3 seconds (not more) – this is amazing and very impressive!

Taking into account that they provide 24\7 global support, I give them the highest score possible.

Comparison: Which Bitdefender Product is Right for You?

Each of the products, while boasting different features, runs on Bitdefender’s antivirus protection, which includes anti-malware, anti-phishing, and anti-ransomware protection.

The free version, however, isn't Windows 10 compatible yet and it lacks a key feature - Ransomware protection - on top of a few others.

Bitdefender hasn’t forgotten that Android and Mac devices also need protection!

These products benefit from the same first-rate performance as the software for PC, and are also included in our Bitdefender review below.

So, what is the difference between the packages?

Let’s take a look.

Comparison Table of Bitdefender Home Products

Bitdefender Comparison Table of Home Products

My Recommendation

I recommend subscribing to Bitdefender Total Security Multi-Device 2017 because the price difference is negligible and you get 2 extra devices, the PC Tune-Up tool, and additional operating systems on which you can install this software.

Our Pick

Bitdefender Total Security 2017

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Bitdefender's Key Features

At this point I'd like to go over the most important features which shoppers usually look for in their antivirus and security products.

User-Friendly Interface

One important thing I'd like to mention in my Bitdefender review is the first thing you’ll notice – or not – upon installing this antivirus software:

Its user-friendly interface, Autopilot mode, and excellent performance mean that you almost won’t even notice that Bitdefender is quietly doing its job as you go about business on your PC or Mac.

If you're new to Bitdefender, it might take you a short while to get used to this interface because it might appear a bit complicated at the beginning.

Bitdefender user-friendly interface

User-friendly interface on Bitdefender

Bitdefender notices what type of activity you’re doing.

For example:

If you’re playing a game, Bitdefender will make sure to suppress any notifications, allowing for a completely uninterrupted gaming experience.

If you’re watching a movie, it will put any pop-ups on hold and make sure to devote resources to the media player.

However,

For users who would like to be more hands-on in the management of their antivirus software, it is of course possible to turn off the Autopilot mode and manually switch the profile between standard, work, game, or movie modes.

Bitdefender Autopilot disabled

Autopilot disabled on Bitdefender

The entire dashboard is accessible via a desktop widget which gives you critical security information at a glance.

Antivirus Scan: Options and Duration

Antivirus scanning is the main focus of each of Bitdefender’s products, from the free Bitdefender to Bitdefender Total Security.

Like most competing antivirus software products, you have two antivirus scan options on Bitdefender:

A full system scan, and a quick scan that focuses on detecting common malware hiding spots.

Bitdefender's scan options on dashboard

Scan options of Bitdefender dashboard

Advanced users can also define a tailored scan that will check only specific locations.

Keep in mind: 

For the most part, Bitdefender’s antivirus scanner will do its job in auto-pilot mode, quietly scanning in the background as you work, game, or watch a movie on your device.

As you will see below, you will hardly feel any strain on your system's resources, if at all.

Bitdefender - Full scan in process

Full scan in process - Bitdefender

This test was performed on our PC used for testing which has no additional software installed as well as no personal files. 

The duration of the scan is very short. On most PCs, it can take from 30-60 minutes.

Behavioral Malware Blocking

Even more important than detecting viruses is the ability to detect zero-day malware, which has not yet been recognized and catalogued by this antivirus software.

In order to detect this malware, Bitdefender matches characteristics of its code with existing malware, and also inspects its behavior to see if it operates in potentially malicious ways, such as attempting to access areas of your system where it has no business whatsoever.

Anti-Phishing Protection

While many browsers have anti-phishing protection built in, they don’t come close to matching Bitdefender’s anti-phishing performance.

When you navigate to a potentially dangerous site, Bitdefender’s anti-phishing blocker will initially block you from visiting the page, explaining the reasons for blocking the page and the risks should you choose to continue.

Cross-Platform Ransomware Protection for Windows and Android

Bitdefender - Cross-platform ransomware

Cross-platform ransomware - Bitdefender

Ransomware is a real and growing internet security threat that blocks your access to your computer, forcing you to pay a ransom to regain access to your information.

Bitdefender’s program includes ransomware protection and detection.

This means that your dear family albums, videos, and documents are safe from being encrypted and held at ransom.

But how does it work?

Any time a non-approved program tries to modify a file in a protected folder, Bitdefender denies it access and generates a warning. Bitdefender is also blocking access to your important files while your PC is booting and the operation system isn’t online yet.

Unfortunately, this protection is not enabled by default and you have to enable it from the control panel.

Make sure you also add the folders you want to protect. Once the module is set to ON, folders such as My Documents and My Pictures are automatically protected.

If additional applications such as cloud sync folders like Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive are installed on the device, they will be protected.

Bitdefender's ransomware protection options on its dashboard

Ransomware protection modules

A Fully-Fledged Firewall

Like its competitors, Bitdefender Internet Security provides a firewall that blocks outside attacks and controls how programs can use your internet connection.

In keeping with Bitdefender’s user interface and hands-off approach, the firewall runs in the background, making its own choices – no pop-ups and no interruptions!

Bitdefender firewall rules

Firewall rules on Bitdefender

Spam filter

Bitdefender's anti-spam tool stops unwanted email from reaching your inbox.

In testing, this component performed admirably, and even did so without any noticeable drag on system performance.

Bitdefender Safepay

This feature serves as an added layer of protection for online transactions, ensuring the privacy of your sensitive information.

When you open sensitive site – such as your bank’s online portal – a notification will pop up suggesting that you switch to Bitdefender Safepay’s interface.

Opening Safepay initiates a separate desktop, completely isolated from all other processes on your computer.

The desktop includes a browser and a virtual keyboard for password entry, and it blocks any screenshot attempts.

This is a vital environment that will be terminated when you exit the safepay browser.

Additional Features of Bitdefender

Parental Control

Bitdefender’s Parental Control provides you with control over your kids’ devices by matching each of your Windows and Android devices to the child that uses it.

You could also choose to filter inappropriate websites and even optionally monitor your child’s social media activity.

But on an Android device Parental Control does even more:

Should you choose, Parental Control for Android allows you to block unwanted calls and get notifications if the phone reports back as being in an area that you’ve designated as “restricted.”

Bitdefender's parental control dashboard

Bitdefender's parental control dashboard

This page has been blocked by your parents

This is what your children will see when you block them from visiting a page

Anti-Theft

While common for mobile security products, it isn’t often that you see anti-theft protection in a security program designed for PCs.

Despite that, don’t you want to protect your laptop against theft, just as you would protect your phone?

You can access the anti-theft interface from any internet-connected device, locate your PC, and choose to lock or wipe it.

Bitdefender anti-theft device tracking feature

Bitdefender's anti-theft device tracking feature

WiFi Security Advisor

Bitdefender WiFi Security Advisor

WiFi Security Advisor on Bitdefender

This is a new and improved privacy tool that notifies users about WiFi profiles and whether they are trusted or not.

Basically, there is a list of all the available public networks that display buttons under each entry to indicate if its trusted or untrusted.

This tool activates itself automatically every time a user connects to an unsafe public WiFi network so that that maximum protection is configured for all protected devices.

A warning message will appear saying that connecting to an unsecured WiFi network poses major risks to the user's privacy, and then Bitdefender recommends using the VPN secured browser to surf online.

File Shredder

The Bitdefender File Shredder is a new feature by which users can permanently delete files by dropping them in the file shredder.

Bitdefender Disk Cleanup panel

Disk Cleanup panel on Bitdefender

 Disk Cleanup Bitdefender - Devices and drives

Devices and drives - Disk Cleanup Bitdefender

Bitdefender - Disk Cleanup scanner

Disk Cleanup scanner - Bitdefender

Optimizer: Bitdefender's "System Speed Up"

Bitdefender’s Optimizer function automatically speeds up your device’s performance by running optimization tasks on your PC.

The OneClick Optimizer can free up space and speed up the system along with the Disk Cleanup, Registry Cleanup, and Privacy Cleanup.

There is an interface to see how many junk files, registry issues, and privacy issues are found.

Nice crowd wisdom feature: 

Optimize your start-up performance through the Startup Optimizer, which monitors how each process contributes to your startup time and displays this in a chart alongside information about how many other Bitdefender users chose to enable, delay, or disable that process.

File Encryption

This feature helps to provide an additional layer of protection to your sensitive files by locking them up in an encrypted file vault.

Bitdefender Wallet: A Password Management Solution

Bitdefender knows that it can be challenging to keep track of your passwords in an organized and secure way.

That’s where Bitdefender Wallet steps in, generating strong passwords, storing them, protecting your privacy, and providing a secure browsing experience.

Bitdefender TrafficLight Browser Add-On

Bitdefender provides top-of-the-line web protection via an extension called TrafficLight installed in your web browser of choice – Safari, Chrome, or Firefox.

Once installed, it blocks suspicious content, adds indicators next to search engine results to indicate which links are safe, and lets you know if the site you are visiting is tracking your activity.

Additionally, TrafficLight includes anti-adware which helps you to block and remove intrusive and annoying adware from your system.

Mobile Compatibility

Bitdefender for iOS

The Bitdefender Box product is the only product compatible with iOS devices.

Bitdefender for Android

The Bitdefender Mobile Security App comes with features to ensure that your device remains protected.

Downloadable from the Google Play Store and coming in at only $14.95 for the paid version.

Android

Bitdefender Mobile Security

Bitdefender for Mac

It’s true that it’s easier to stay protected on a Mac than on a PC but my Bitdefender review wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t mention this:

Mac malware does exist, and it is possible that your computer could become endangered by malicious software targeting Macs, and even viruses and malware that target PCs.

Bitdefender’s first line of defense against internet threats is its Continuous Scan, which runs in the background and continuously tests any new or changed file.

In third party testing, this antivirus testing performed extremely well, detecting at least 99 percent of all threats.

for Mac

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac

Bitdefender Box: The Appliance for Your IoT Network

Available only in the US at this stage, the Bitdefender Box protects all your internet-connected devices.

Whether it's your smart TV, your gaming console of choice, or even your remotely-controlled light switches, the Box notifies you of vulnerabilities in your home network, includes a convenient app to manage all of your devices, and acts as a buffer between you and potential threats by intercepting all internet traffic and filtering out malicious elements.

The Box

Bitdefender Box

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GravityZone: Bitdefender for Business

The business products Bitdefender offers are just as impressive in the possibilities they offer as their products for home users.

These plans are scalable and can be adjusted to any size of business, from small offices to large Enterprises.

They offer protection across operating systems, physical and virtual machines, and devices (including servers).

The business can choose to host the software locally, or to let Bitdefender host it on their side.

All in all:

GravityZone is a top-notch protection solution for all your business needs.

Business

Bitdefender GravityZone: Business Security

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System Requirements

Bitdefender's recommended system requirements are pretty reasonable for this day and age.

PC users need a Windows 7 SP1 / 8 / 8.1 / 10, an Intel CORE 2 Duo (2GHz) processor, 2 GB of RAM and 2 GB of free disk space.

The minimum requirements are slightly more lax, but I prefer to stay on the safe side and recommend a system stronger than the bare minimum.

Mac users need 1 GB of RAM and 1 GB of free disk space, and OS X 10.8.x or a later version.

For Android users version 2.3.3 or higher is enough to run Bitdefender for Android.

30-Day Money Back Guarantee

What happens if you purchase a subscription to Bitdefender antivirus software but then decide that it isn’t for you?

Bitdefender offers a no questions asked 30-day money-back guarantee.

So, if you’d like to try Bitdefender but aren’t sure that you’ll love it – just take advantage of the 30 days!

Value for Money

I can't recommend this product enough!

Compatible across platforms, protects you from ransomware, doesn't interfere with your day-to-day usage, and on top of it all: their antivirus engine is the best on the market.

Considering the ridiculous discount on offer to our readers and the price to begin with, there's not much more to ask for.

Value for money?

You bet!

My Conclusion

Pros:

  • Top of the line protection against malware infections
  • Active Ransomware protection and detection
  • Zero influence on computer speed
  • Perfect independent test scores
  • Almost no false positive alerts
  • Flying colors hands-on tests

Cons:

  • Complicated fluid interface

Bitdefender antivirus provides the best antivirus solutions on the market, with impressive anti-virus and anti-malware and ransomware protection.

But, there’s much more to it than that:

Tack on the additional features and the fact that Bitdefender manages to add all this protection to your PC or mobile device without any noticeable decline in performance, and we’ve got a winner.

What are you waiting for?

Our Pick

Bitdefender Total Security 2017

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Ami Zivov

A cyber-security expert with many years of experience in the field. Ami does the majority of our hands-on testing, he writes and contributes to our antivirus reviews, and he leads the innovation for improving our readers’ experience on the site.

Bitdefender is the best antivirus software for home users, providing cross-device protection, ransomware protection, and scoring perfect scores consistently in multiple independent lab tests. This virus protection tool won't impair the performance of your computer, and will detect every threat, new and old. The countless awards Bitdefender won haven't stopped the developers from continuing to improve this great antivirus software on a regular basis.

Bitdefender
Date published:February 26, 2017
9.9 / 10 stars

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