Tech

Bitdefender Total Security, a good investment against malware

Bitdefender Total Security is one of the software solutions offered by one of the world’s largest companies dedicated to the field of cybersecurity for the consumer market. A complete suite against viruses, malware and digital threats , which can protect all types of devices on the main desktop or mobile operating systems with a single license.

In the times we live in, where viruses, Trojans, worms and other specimens stalk devices and networks, having a good security solution is highly recommended when browsing the Internet, downloading files, correctly managing emails, links in social networks or protect our personal data from what we call invasion of privacy that has unfortunately become the norm in such a connected society.

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And it is increasingly difficult to be protected . Ransomware, Phishing, adware or spyware attacks (to name just the main ones) are becoming more numerous, dangerous and profitable for cybercriminals. And it is more difficult for the user to control them if they do not have very specialized help and that together with the obligatory common sense (a preferential barrier against malware) will allow us to be protected.

We have had the opportunity to test this Bitdefender Total Security for a few weeks with remarkable results. Considering the current low price for the subscription, its enormous number of functions and that we can protect several devices with it, we have found it a very good investment for any consumer.

The tested version is the annual plan that can be installed on five devices (Windows, macOS, iOS or Android) at the user’s choice. Bitdefender offers other subscription plans for more years and number of devices, as well as a free 30-day trial version in case you want to check its capabilities before purchasing.

Bitdefender Total Security en Windows

It must be said that Microsoft’s operating systems include the ‘Windows Security’ service, the native and integrated solution that you will know as Microsoft Defender and previously as Windows Defender. Even recognizing that the Redmond firm has been improving it in successive versions and that it serves as basic protection, it cannot reach the level of a dedicated commercial solution, much more powerful and complete as the one at hand.

Installation

Taking advantage of the five devices that the license allows, we have installed it on a desktop PC with Windows 10 and also on a laptop with Windows 11 to check the compatibility with the latest Microsoft operating system for the desktop. Both without difficulties. The installation is trivial, it is done by downloading the executable offered by the company and activating the version with the code provided.

It can also be installed on older systems like Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 and Windows 8.1 if you are still using them. Once the first installation has been carried out on any supported platform, from the same control panel you can obtain a link to install it on the remaining devices that the license allows.

On Windows, the BitDefender solution replaces the native Microsoft one by leaving it disabled. If you want more protection, you can allow Microsoft’s built-in antivirus to periodically check if there are any threats, although it is not really necessary to avoid overloading system resources and it is better to leave it disabled.

Interface and functions

The interface is simple and intuitive and allows the user to access all sections of the software with a single click and includes a modern ‘dark mode’ in case you want to use it. The point is that there are many sections to manage in a suite like this. To help you, Bitdefender offers a PDF User Guide with everything you need to know about the product; a Support Center with articles and videos to solve specific doubts and a community website with a forum that connects us with the rest of the users.

In fact, the suite can be a bit intimidating for novice users with its wealth of features. Each includes a usage description and the comprehensive user guide is very helpful to get you started. It is best to invest some time at the beginning of the installation to manage all the sections to our liking and activate the functions that we need. More advanced users will appreciate its potential and degree of customization.

The Bitdefender Total Security Control Panel is the window that opens by default. There, the software reports the general security status and alerts if the main protection functions are not activated. It also allows you to select up to six of its functions as a quick access method among the different analysis options, the VPN or the Safepay secure browser that we will see later.

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The Protection screen is the main one in any security solution and includes:

  • Online threat prevention, with a global protection network based on the cloud.
  • Vulnerability, which analyzes system applications and networks in search of vulnerabilities that could compromise the equipment.
  • Firewall, which controls connections in networks.
  • Ransomware, which can reverse the damage caused by these attacks by restoring the files.
  • Antospam, filtering irrelevant content in the emails of the clients that we use.
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Bitdefender also offers a specific section on Privacy where we highlight:

  • Safepay. A dedicated web browser that provides a secure environment for electronic banking, shopping, or other online transactions.
  • VPN. It offers anonymity and access to content restricted by region.
  • Password manager. A personal Wallet that is integrated through an extension in the main browsers, Chrome or Firefox.
  • Anti-tracker. Prevent web crawlers from collecting data. Like the previous one it is installed as an extension in web browsers.
  • Audio and video protection. Especially intended to prevent the privacy of webcams, selecting the specific applications that can access it or the microphones.
  • Parental advisor. Allows you to assign a profile for minors to control the use of the equipment where the suite is installed.
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Wait, there’s more … The name “Total” is not just marketing and everything listed above, the suite offers other functions such as :

  • Data protector. Safe data deletion. A function of complete and irreversible erasure of files or folders or the entire storage unit. Useful, for example, if you are going to get rid of it and do not want to leave a trace.
  • One-click optimizer. Identify and delete unnecessary files in one step. Includes disk, registry and private data cleaning.
  • Anti-theft device. To protect data in case of loss or theft of devices.
  • Profiles. It allows assigning a specific profile according to the type of main use of the equipment, work or entertainment, in addition to others such as a battery mode to increase autonomy or another to increase the security of (unsafe) public Wi-Fi.

Finally, the Configuration section offers the internal management of the application, from the same password protection to prevent third-party access to its settings. You can also activate a proxy server and file parsing that maps host names to IP addresses to prevent DNS hijacking attacks.

There is no lack of update management; a modern dark mode that changes the appearance of the application and the management of desktop notifications, too frequent and tiresome for our taste. It also includes the possibility of adding a desktop widget, this one more useful, that alerts you to the main security warnings, including criticisms that should be addressed as soon as possible. As we have said above: a very complete security suite .

Protection and analysis

The ability to protect devices from the numerous security threats that assail us daily is the main characteristic of all this type of software and the Bitdefender solution in this section is absolutely guaranteed. Its engine is regularly recognized in all tests, such as the one carried out by the independent AVTest institute, where it obtains the maximum score in the protection section, and the one carried out by AV-Comparatives, where it has achieved the distinction of “Product of the year” four times.

The first thing to do after the installation is a complete scan of the computer, where we have found samples of malware that had “bypassed” the solution built into Windows. We can analyze internal storage drives, flash drives, optical media, and also network mapped drives. Its capacity is enormous and it analyzes all types of malware, scripts, compressed files, keyloggers, network shares or unwanted applications such as adware or spyware.

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It is a good idea to spend time the first time doing a full system scan that includes an analysis of boot sectors and services that load at startup and often complicate detection. Once the computer has been analyzed and cleaned if necessary, the work of the Bitdefender shield (a resident program that actively protects against threats) will be easier. We can also create personalized analyzes scheduled at times when we do not use the equipment and with the time frame that we seek.

The truth is that the firm’s Antivirus has well earned its reputation and has acted as we expected, sometimes more than necessary since, like any of the great security suites, we have found false positives that can be added as exceptions so that in the following analyzes I remove it from the list of potential threats. As for the updating of virus signatures, it occurs continuously, as well as updates of the same software to keep it up to date in terms of malware.

Another interesting section that we have tested to ensure complete cleaning of the system is the ” rescue environment ” that it includes. It is a special mode dedicated to eliminating resident threats, those types of malware that load into memory making it difficult to detect and eliminate once the operating system has started. In this mode, the system is restarted to act in a similar way as rescue antivirus programs do, usually based on Linux and in “Live CD / USB” formats, created and bootable from optical drives, pen drives or external USB drives.

Another of the functions that we have tried and found interesting is the « Safepay «. It is a secure environment specially designed for electronic banking and Internet purchases. The user will see it as a dedicated web browser where they can carry out any type of online transaction in a protected environment that is ideal for this type of page where we manage our economy.

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This Safepay can be combined with a VPN to increase security and privacy. A virtual private network that is another of the functions that this Bitdefender Total Security includes for free. It offers 200 Mbytes of daily traffic and provides direct security improvements against computer attacks, privacy against data theft and identity theft, and other added advantages that any user can take advantage of, such as access to geographically blocked portals and web services.

Resource consumption

The ability to keep computers protected without sacrificing performance is another aspect that should be considered in any security suite. Certainly, in the past the operation of the antivirus slowed down the computers, but the optimization of the software and the improvement of the hardware of the computers we believe has left the problem as a part of the past.

In fact, in our analysis we have not noticed a high consumption of resources . It is true that the tests have been carried out on high-performance computers and a good portion of RAM (32 GB on the desktop and 16 GB), perhaps the component that is most used to keep the services active in real time that all require security suite.

Bitdefender contributes to this with functions like ‘Photon’. It is a proprietary technology that helps the suite to adapt to the hardware and software configuration of each computer to save computing resources and improve speed and performance . In addition, most of the analysis is done in the cloud, so it should not affect local resources.

Another good way not to penalize performance is by using profiles. Bitdefender Total Security detects when we play, work or some task that needs resources and stops background activities that are not critical. It also has a ‘battery mode’ that temporarily modifies certain system settings, such as the display, cooling system, system updates and Bluetooth connectivity.

Bitdefender Total Security en Android

If the presence of security systems is common on the computer desk, the installation of antivirus on smartphones is much less widespread . And it is an error considering that a good part of the malware arrives for the mobility and mobility. Especially in Android, the system that welcomes a greater number of active devices, surpassing even Windows itself.

As in the case of Microsoft with Windows, Google uses the Play Protect service that can help us identify potentially malicious applications. But its real usefulness and protection capabilities do not go beyond simple prevention through alerts designed to prevent the installation of applications that could contain malware.

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To test the capacity of the Bitdefender solution, we have also installed it on Android, specifically on a Samsung Galaxy S21 with Android 11 and the latest security patches installed. The installation can be done from the Google Play digital store or through the link provided from the control panel that we mentioned above in the Windows installation that we had done.

Once installed we will have an interface adapted to the size of a mobile phone and that includes a good part of the functions that we have seen for PCs.

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Highlights Autopìlot , a personal security advisor that provides contextual recommendations based on device usage and needs. and, of course, a malware analyzer that is the base of everything in the search for Ransomware, Adware or APND, in addition to monitoring the storage.

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There is no lack of a fraud alert function against the fraudulent SMS that we receive on a daily basis. And let’s not say anything about those social media links and messaging apps. The feature detects link-based attacks and stops their spread, and has just been enhanced with the new Scam Alert capability against smishing and similar attacks .

The 200 Mbytes free daily VPN also works on Android, and is a good way to safely extend a local network over a public network such as the Internet. Very useful in companies to connect offices, technical services or remote accesses, it is also used at the consumer level to improve privacy, bypass region blocks or avoid censorship. An interesting addition to everything the suite has to offer.

For iOS users, from this week they will have at their disposal, a security audit function that evaluates the critical settings of the device, controlling, for example, if it has biometric authentication enabled or if the latest version of the operating system is installed. . This audit identifies security breaches and shows the necessary fixes to help ensure that devices are not operating at risk.

Conclusions

Considering the current global cybersecurity landscape, a dedicated protection solution is – in our judgment – highly profitable and Bitdefender Total Security is a great security solution for any user.

Multiplatform , with support for Windows, macOS, iOS or Android (all the main platforms except Linux), it goes far beyond what a simple antivirus offers and marks distances with basic solutions such as Microsoft Defender on Windows or Play Protect on Android . It has a guarantee scan engine and a permanently updated virus signature database.

Very complete in functions, in addition to the antivirus itself, Safepay or the free VPN, among other features, must be highlighted again. Its resource consumption is reasonable, while its support for five devices is welcome considering the large number of devices handled by a typical user. The sheer number of features it includes can be intimidating and takes time to set up. In addition, as long as they are not configured, the software emits constant notifications (too many for our liking), although they can be configured and it is a good investment to spend time after installation.

The proven solution, Bitdefender Total Security’s annual plan for 5 devices, has a sale price of 34.99 euros , content for everything that includes. The company offers plans for more years or 10 devices and if you do not need so many functions, it sells other solutions from Antivirus Plus for a device for only 14.99 euros.

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