BitDefender Antivirus 2008 is perhaps the most improved of the antivirus applications we've seen so far this year. It is fast and light, and like Kaspersky Anti-Virus 7, our current Editor's Choice winner, BitDefender Antivirus 2008 offers hourly updates. However, we'd like more access to configuration options beyond simple enabling and disabling features. Still, for the price, and for the excellent quality of its antivirus protection, BitDefender Antivirus 2008 ranks among our few top contenders for 2008.
BitDefender Antivirus 2008 costs AU$31.19 for a single license and AU$37.44 for a three-user license. By comparison, Norton Antivirus 2008 costs AU$49.95 for a single-user license (there are no three-user versions of NAV 2008). BitDefender Antivirus 2008 runs on Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Vista. BitDefender Antivirus 2008 requires 512MB of RAM and at least 50MB of hard-drive space. The trial version is full function and runs for 24 days.
We experienced no problems during several installations during the end of August 2007. Installation requires a reboot.
Should you want to uninstall BitDefender Antivirus 2008, the All Programs menu includes an uninstall option. After reboot we could find no traces of BitDefender Antivirus 2008 left on our test system.
BitDefender Antivirus 2008 opts for a no-nonsense interface. Should there be any security issues, one of the large icons will display red. For remediation there's a large Fix This button, or you can click the specific graphic to see what's wrong. We experienced only minor issues with this approach.
Upon installation, our Identity Privacy icon displayed red. Clicking either the Fix This Issue button or the Identity Privacy icon took us to a rule creation page. Now what? To get the Identity Privacy icon to go green, we either had to create a rule or turn off the feature, yet we were not given enough information to make that choice. Keeping Identity Privacy enabled assumes that you are comfortable providing personal details such as passwords and credit card information. Rather than fill out real information, we created a faux Social Security number of 123-45-6789 to satisfy BitDefender's request without disabling the feature. For the moment, the icon is green, but we're on the fence whether to keep the Identity Privacy feature enabled or disable it completely.
BitDefender Antivirus 2008 covers a lot of ground, protecting your system from viruses, spyware, privacy breaches, phishing attacks and rootkits. And BitDefender is the only antivirus product we've seen that advertises a Gamer mode, minimising protection alerts and resources while you're off playing games.
As for the default privacy protection, BitDefender will look for instances of private information leaving the computer and guard against spyware attempting to install on the machine. The more aggressive setting adds cookie control and script protection, which most browsers will also allow you to control. Do you need this protection if your browser already provides similar protection? Again, BitDefender doesn't offer enough guidance within the program to help users make that decision. Most browsers offer free add-ons that will screen for these scripts as well.
BitDefender Antivirus 2008 scored well in both our CNET Labs' performance tests and in one third-party, independent antivirus test using live viruses. On our iTunes test, BitDefender Antivirus 2008 was tied for first, completing in a fast 270 seconds, just 2 seconds above our test system. On our Microsoft Office test, BitDefender Antivirus 2008 came in near the middle at 1,426 seconds. For scanning a single folder with files, BitDefender Antivirus 2008 came in second requiring 163 seconds. And in boot speed, BitDefender Antivirus 2008 came in first, with a respectable 28 seconds. To find out how we test, see CNET Labs' How we test: software: antivirus page.
In terms of protecting your PC, we cite results from two leading independent antivirus testing organisations. In the latest test results from AV-Comparatives.org for on-demand scans, the previous version, BitDefender Professional 10+, earned an Advanced (second-highest) rating, catching 96 percent of all malware tested; and for the Retrospective/Proactive test, BitDefender Professional 10+ also earned a Standard (middle) rating, detecting almost half the backdoors, Trojans and other malware sampled. BitDefender was not tested by CheckVir.com, our second choice for test results.
BitDefender provides a fairly complete package of technical support for its antivirus product. Greatly improved from last year is the built-in help file, although it would be nice if it were also context sensitive so that when we have a question about the Identity Pirvacy feature, the help file opens on that section immediately. BitDefender also offers an online Getting Started document, but we found its intended audience to be the Internet security suite users, not those starting out with just the antivirus product. BitDefender also delivers an adequate online FAQ, and there are several active user forums. Finally, you can e-mail for live technical support.
While we like many features of BitDefender Antivirus 2008, and recognise that it has greatly improved since last year, we were disappointed by the overall feeling we get when using the application. In particular, the configuration settings could be more nuanced beyond just enable and disable. And the settings that are available could be better explained. Often we were left changing settings without being given enough context to make the right decisions.