- Great performance on all independent labs
- Superb in in-house lab tests
- Excellent ransomware protection
- Bonus features like file shredder, SafePay, and Wallet
- Complete antivirus can take more time than competitors
- Limited number of simultaneous devices supported
BitDefender Short Summary
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2017 is a combination of top-notch antivirus software and bonus protection.
It achieves that via strong core features and amazing extra features such as file shredder and SafePay.
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2017 is almost a security suite rather than just an antivirus software application.
Full BitDefender Review
The only reason why antivirus software applications exist in this world is to protect against and eradicate malicious software.
Of course, you have to have that malicious software on your computer in the first place.
But antivirus software applications are smart nowadays.
They not only protect you against malicious software but also guard you against future attacks via virus, ransomware, rare types of malware and of course Trojans.
As far as BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2017 is concerned, it is almost a suite rather than just an antivirus software.
Because of its features.
- A password manager
- A browser which is secure via default. Perfect for people who engage in online financial transactions
- File shredder that deletes files securely
- Active and modern ransomware protection
As we mentioned before, it is an almost a fully fledged suite.
But more importantly, BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2017 is just brilliant at its core functions.
Which are its antivirus tasks.
It performs them better than any other antivirus software application.
BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2017 Price
If you subscribe to BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2017 for one year, you’ll have to pay $39.99.
As some of our experienced readers would already know, this price range is very competitive.
It is right in line with some of the other great antivirus software programs such as F-Secure and Kaspersky.
However, if you want to protect three devices then BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2017 will only cost you $59.99 instead of 3 x 39.99.
Now that’s what we call a good deal.
Other Antivirus products such as McAfee allow you to protect an unlimited number of devices and that too for only $19.99.
BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2017 Installation And User Interface
Bitdefender installer, just like the rest of the elite antivirus software applications like ZoneAlarm and Trend Micro, downloads the latest available virus definitions and program files.
Moreover, the BitDefender installer also scans the user’s machine for active malware.
And as we all know, active malware can easily disrupt the antivirus installation process.
There are two ways to activate one’s installation:
Either you can use a license key or choose a free trial which lasts around thirty days of a fully functional Bitdefender.
All users are required to create and/or log in to their Bitdefender Central online accounts.
This is the only way to connect the BitDefender installation to the user account.
One single BitDefender account will allow customers to associate one degree of Bitdefender protection.
For some reason, if a user wants to install the vanilla antivirus on a particular system and the whole security suite on another then the user will have to make two Bitdefender accounts.
Bitdefender has done a really good job of changing its appearances with each update in the last couple of years (and even more).
The 2017 edition though, has come with some radical changes.
Mainly to the main antivirus window.
The main window is still just a background with a hint of gray in it but it is now darker.
Apart from that, the main window is still a series of rectangular panels which can be broken down for access to more features and security statistics.
Then we have the ever-present green checkmark in the shape of a circle which represents that everything is okay.
The circles do animate when the user opens the main antivirus window.
What’s the big change then?
It is a somewhat new menu in the shape of a left-rail icon.
This menu has eight options.
These options are as follows,
What does Protection include?
Mainly, the antivirus itself along with other features such as vulnerability scan and web protection.
Let’s come to the Privacy tab.
This tab allows the user to manage features such as the secure file shredder, the simple password manager and Bitdefender Safepay which is just a secure browser.
Each feature offers users a form of Modules view.
This view gives the user a much closer control over Bitdefender features.
We think the changes are well worth it.
The primary reason for that is it is much easier for the users to find a given Bitdefender antivirus plus feature via the new interface.
Bitdefender is one of the best antivirus software programs in the world not just because it has the best features.
It is because it knows how to comfort the user in the sense that it keeps quiet unless there is trouble.
That why Bitdefender still comes with a pre-configuration that uses Autopilot mode.
What is this mode?
As mentioned before, this mode ensures that the users don’t get hassled and business goes on as usual.
If you get attacked by a malware then Bitdefender doesn’t paint your screen in red. It takes care of it quietly.
Of course, this is great for the regular users.
For testers, it isn’t
Usually, they have to turn off this feature in order to test the product more efficiently.
Users can always go the settings and change the default ones.
There is this Paranoid Mode as well.
With this mode ON, Bitdefender will show you a notification informing you that you have indeed turned off the Autopilot feature.
Bitdefender also has a unique option which automatically changes the configuration of the software according to what the user is doing.
This feature is turned off by default though.
There are a total of five configuration files.
They are as follows,
- Battery Mode
- Public Wifi
BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2017 Lab Results
Unlike some other popular antivirus software applications, Bitdefender does not pay for ICSA Labs or West Coast Labs certification.
Other testing services do include BitDefender in their testing though.
For example, the Virus Bulletin Reactive and Proactive test, Bitdefender scores a solid 81 percent.
That may sound impressive but last year Bitdefender scored a whopping 93 percent.
Believe it or not but a score of 81 percent is slightly below average when compared with other elite antivirus programs.
TrustPort Antivirus has the highest percentage this year with 88 percent.
Let’s come to the AV-Comparatives performance tests which are probably broader in scale than any other antivirus tests.
The thing about AV-comparatives is that the people there don’t just review antivirus products.
They review all sorts of security products.
And hence they have a much comprehensive view about what makes a good security product.
It is safe to say that any product that passes even a single one of AV-comparatives tests is a Standard product.
Security products that perform well in more than one tests are better than Standard.
They are Advanced. More like Advanced+.
As far as BitDefender is concerned, it earned Advanced+ is all of the five major tests.
But so did Kaspersky.
So there is a lot of competition.
Antivirus Utilities are multifaceted security products.
AV-Test Institute realizes this fact and hence has a total of three aspects in which it ranks security products.
These three aspects are as follows,
- Low false positives
- Reasonable protection against malware
- Low-performance impact
AV-Test Institute awards any given antivirus product a total of six points in each category if it performs perfectly.
So, doing a bit of maths, there are a total of 18 points up for grabs.
Bitdefender for all its goodness loses just half a point in protection.
It further loses half a point in false positives.
And secures a perfect score in performance impact.
Hence, BitDefender earns 17 points out of a total 18.
And while that is a pretty impressive secure, it is outranked by Kaspersky that scores a perfect 18.
Other popular antivirus products such as AVG, Trend Micro and Norton have 17.5 points on AV-Test Institute test reports.
But of course this is just one test from one single source, so there are many other ways in which one can rank antivirus products.
MRG-Effitas runs some tests which are highly relevant for people who do serious work on their computer machines.
One of the tests focuses purely on financial malware while other tests try to cover a much wider range of online threats.
Any security product can either secure partial credit or full depending on its performance.
Truth be told, very few antivirus products pass MRG-Effitas financial tests.
MRG-Effitas full range tests award level 1 certification to antivirus products that completely block infection by every malware sample.
It offers level 2 certification for antivirus products that let a few malware samples slip through the cracks initially but are then able to rectify the damage caused before the machine boots up again.
Basically, either an antivirus product scores full marks or its fails these tests.
As mentioned before, most of the antivirus products can’t pass this test.
And hence we think MRG-Effitas tests should be given slightly less weight than other tests which are more thorough and considerate in scoring.
From our Bitdefender Antivirus 2017 Plus review research, we have found that BitDefender has consistently performed better on these tests than some of its competitors such as Trend Micro and others.
Kaspersky scored a perfect 10 on MRG-Effitas aggregate score.
Great At Malware Blocking
If you have a decent rig then a Bitdefender full system scan will probably take you around an hour give or take.
Other antivirus products do outrank BitDefender in terms of time but probably not in terms of thoroughness.
As far as the second scan is concerned, BitDefender completes that in less than 30 minutes which is obviously an amazing improvement.
With that said, some antivirus products are programmed in such a way that they automatically skip scanning files that aren’t changed.
This makes a repeat scan unbelievably fast.
Antivirus products such as F- Secure can finish a repeat scan in less than two minutes.
While AVG can do the same in just under a full minute.
After a user has performed the first initial scan, the only job left for the antivirus product to do is to prevent malware infestation.
In other words, after the initial scan malware removal takes the backseat.
Our malware testing research shows that BitDefender blocks most malware silently.
If doesn’t both the user much when in Autopilot mode.
Our research shows us that BitDefender can wipe up to 60 percent of the malware samples almost instantaneously.
As mentioned before, if you do want to get notifications every time Bitdefender blocks a malware threat then you should turn off Autopilot feature.
In our tests, Bitdefender caught and removed most surviving malware samples either at launch or a short while after launch.
Bitdefender’s detection rate is over 90 percent and hence it is a great antivirus product.
More Malware Block Tests
To test an antivirus product efficacy all you have to do is get a set of malware samples.
Then you can use the set to test the antivirus product.
It is always better to test an antivirus product with malware samples that are new. At the most, a day old.
A good antivirus will easily detect malicious URLs.
Great antivirus products block the internet browser’s access to malicious URLs.
Really great antivirus products go one step further and wipe out malicious executable files during download sessions as quickly as possible.
Some antivirus products just sit around and do nothing.
Bitdefender is a really great antivirus product that blocks more than 90 percent of the malware samples.
It blocks them at the URL level as well.
There are hardly any other antivirus products that can match BitDefender in this regard.
Great Antiphishing Features
Phishing websites are different from normal websites in a lot of ways.
They do not depend on complex scripts or even those terrible drive-by online downloads.
In most cases, they just have a mimic a popular service like Facebook, a user’s bank, Yahoo, or PayPal.
Include any and every secure site in that list as well.
All a user has to do is take the bait and input his/her password.
After that, the user is, for all practical reasons, screwed.
Fraudsters behind the phishing site get access to the user’s account easily using phishing sites.
Any antiphishing test should include the latest fraudulent sites.
WE’re talking about websites that are totally news and have not gone through any testing service’s analysis and hence are not on any blacklist either.
This is the only way to know for sure if an antivirus product can protect the user at all times.
Why is this important?
Because anti-phishing sites have short lives because of the nature of their work.
Most of the times, they only last a few days and sometimes a few hours as well.
Fraudsters are clever people and hence by the time their site gets blacklisted, they have already pulled out of their previous site and have started a new one.
If you use internet browsers such as Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer then you probably don’t need to worry too much about this test.
Because each of these browsers has built-in security features to protect the user against phishing sites.
You may not know this but by default one of the browsers we have mentioned above uses Symantec Norton Antivirus Basic to identify and protect against malicious URLs.
In fact, one of these browsers also uses BitDefender has its preferred way to protect users.
Malware samples are always different from before.
Therefore, the detection and protection rate can differ from test to test.
We think that there aren’t a lot of anti-phishing tools that can best Norton.
Most of the antivirus products can’t even beat the built-in features of the abovementioned Internet browsers.
Bitdefender, on the other hand, scored better than Norton in a number of tests.
In some tests, it scores close to Norton as well.
Bitdefender consistently beats Norton in malicious URL detection rate.
Moreover, it does so by a large margin of 5 percentage points.
It beats all internet browsers as well.
This puts Bitdefender at the top of the pile ahead of its competitors such as Webroot and Kaspersky.
BitDefender Vs Fraud
Bitdefender uses a lot more tools to protect users against fraudulent websites than just antiphishing.
It actually marks links posted on social media websites and popular search engines just like Norton and Trend Micro.
This feature though, only tells users if the given link is safe, doubtful or even dangerous.
BitDefender takes it up a notch by providing more details.
What kind of more details?
It goes like this:
Most products will only show you a green icon which indicates that everything is okay.
Bitdefender, in addition to the green icon, also uses about a dozen different icons.
These icons detail some very particular dangers.
BitDefender is able to identify and alert the user against escrow cams along with online dating scams and pay per click websites.
It also protects users against piracy sites and sites that host malware.
Not to mention, it also identifies phishing sites.
In case you’re wondering, no you don’t have to learn what all these icons mean.
You can just click any icon and an explanation of what it does will pop up.
If you click the popup, the popup will take you to a new page which explains the icons in even more detail.
Major companies get breached on a regular basis.
Well, most of the times these breaches happen because someone in the company did not install the latest security patch.
And with that, we will tell you that you should always have Windows Update set to install critical updates automatically.
Apart from that, you must make sure that your browsers along with other applications are up to date all the time.
BitDefender has a vulnerability scan feature and it actively looks for missing Windows Updates.
It also searches for out of date browsers along with other important tools like Java.
Moreover, BitDefender points out Windows account passwords which are considered weak.
If your computer system has Wi-Fi enabled then it also looks out for insecure Wifi networks.
BitDefender vs Ransomware
This feature is more like Panda Internet Security’s Data Shield component.
Bitdefender protects you against ransomware by allowing you to select multiple folders for protection.
Then, it protects these folders and their contents against any unauthorized alteration.
By default, BitDefender is pre-configured to secure folders such as Pictures and Documents for all of its user accounts.
However, if you want to, then you can add more folders to protect yourself against ransomware.
That’s considerably more thorough than the likes of Trend Micro which only secures one folder.
Moreover, if you turn off Trend Micro Real-time antivirus then you essentially also turn off its ransomware protection feature.
Bitdefender is more flexible.
It allows users to turn off the antivirus feature and leave the ransomware protection feature on.
This, in turn, enables testers to test Bitdefender against ransomware samples and hence study the results.
Bitdefender performs very well when it comes to ransomware attacks.
It cuts off the typical ransomware behavior of copying an executable file to the user’s machine and then launching the file before it deletes itself.
Hence, BitDefender is very effective against ransomware.
Other antivirus products such as Trend Micro block ransomware attacks from even editing protected files.
Panda Data Shield feature is also very nifty and blocks unauthorized programs from trying to read protected files.
Bitdefender Wallet feature is a password manager albeit a basic one.
It can still give a good run for its money to the likes of Trend Micro Password Manager.
Sadly, the Bitdefender password manager is not available to users as a separate purchase.
BitDefender wallet comes in the form of a proprietary Chrome Extension.
The company also supports Firefox and Internet Explorer.
Users are allowed to create multiple wallets.
Why would a user want to do that?
Well, users who access the internet via a Family PC can benefit themselves by creating multiple wallets with the same BitDefender account.
Each wallet you create will have a master password.
Make sure you have a strong master password.
But it should also be something that you can easily remember.
Of course, don’t have a password that someone else could guess with a bit of effort.
The Bitdefender Wallet allows users to sync or not sync the wallet data across all Bitdefender antivirus installations.
When you create a BitDefender wallet you can easily allow it to draw off stored passwords in your browser.
Then it can secure these insecure passwords.
BitDefender Wallet cannot remove passwords from your browser.
It also does not disable your browser from storing future passwords.
If you want that then Trend Micro may be the antivirus of choice for you.
BitDefender Wallet also can’t import passwords from its competitor passwords managers.
Just like other standard password managers, BitDefender wallet pops up a fading notification after it has captured your credentials when you log in to a secure site.
If you click the notification you can edit the saved site.
But there is no option to name it appropriately or put it into a specific folder or category.
And as any other password manager would do, BitDefender Wallet fills up the credential fields the next time you visit a saved site.
You can also launch a saved site from the browser’s BitDefender Wallet extension menu.
The menu does two things.
It allows you to navigate to your wanted site and it allows you to log in.
BitDefender Wallet cannot manage log pages which are non-standard.
But neither can Trend Micro so everybody is even here.
If you want to add website login details manually then you can do that with Bitdefender Wallet.
There are options to add application passwords as well but Bitdefender Wallet will not automatically fill those for you.
Users also have a passwords generator to create a strong random password for new accounts or even for older accounts which require a password change.
The point is, you don’t have to remember any of your passwords when using a password manager like Bitdefender Wallet.
By default, the Bitdefender Wallet password generator generates a 15 character password.
But it only makes use of digits and letters.
You can increase the security strength of your password by enabling the option that allows the generator to use special characters.
Bitdefender Wallet also allows users to create multiple identity profiles.
These are very helpful when filling out web forms.
Each user profile includes information such as,
- Telephone number
- Personal information
The only problem is that there is only one instance of any given field.
For more control, Bitdefender Wallet also allows users to create separate bank account and credit card profiles.
As you would probably imagine, these profiles are not synced across all connected devices.
How does it work in the real world?
Whenever you visit a page that asks you to input your personal data, Bitdefender Wallet displays a Wallet button on the form.
You can then just select the profile you want the form to be filled with.
Moreover, if you want to use the credit card profile then do so separately.
Real World Performance
Expect BitDefender Wallet to work with most websites and fill out the required data.
It is at least as good as, if not better, than Trend Micro password manager.
Sometimes it will miss some required data fields but every field BitDefender Wallet fills is one that you don’t have to.
But it has certainly improved from its earlier days when it used to input the wrong data into the wrong fields while filling out forms.
BitDefender Wallet has some extra features under its belt as well.
You can store uncommon email details with it as well.
Details such as port number and server address.
If your laptop is inept at storing Wi-Fi network details then BitDefender Wallet can help you with things like the type of encryption and passwords.
As mentioned before, BitDefender Wallet takes care of everything that a basic password manager does.
In fact, we think that for most users it is enough.
Of course, there are those amongst us who want advanced features such as,
- Two-step authentication
- Automatic password update
- Ability to share credentials in a secure manner
These type of features are not available in BitDefender Wallet.
If you want these, then you’re better off searching for dedicated password managers out there in the market.
Maybe you’re not a power user.
Maybe you only use the internet to watch cats beg for food or goats who bully other goats.
If that is the case then any old internet browser will do for you.
But that won’t do if you log in to sites.
If you want to transfer money from and to your bank you need to make sure you have a secure browser.
Bitdefender can detect if you are visiting a financial website.
Then it offers you to open that financial website via its SafePay browser.
In a nutshell SafePay browser is a separate and secure desktop browser.
It has a lot of features including the ones found in elite internet browsers, such as multiple tabs and of course bookmarks.
Needless to say, BitDefender Wallet is one hundred percent compatible with SafePay browser.
You can install Flash on it if you want to.
But apart from that, nothing is permitted.
BitDefender isolates processes that are running via SafePay from those that are running on the regular desktop.
You have the choice to switch between the two as much as you like.
SafePay has a virtual keyboard feature which is great if you want to protect yourself against hardware keylogger devices.
Moreover, the SafePay browser blocks applications that try to take screenshots of your screen.
You can try it for yourself by trying to press Alt + PrtSc on your keyboard.
In short, all users should use SafePay for any work that is sensitive and/or critical.
It is slightly difficult to test Wi-Fi Security features.
Because most virtual machines don’t have Wi-Fi features.
But just for understanding, here is how BitDefender Wi-Fi Security Advisor works:
It distinguishes between your home network and a public network and then applies the necessary security protocols for each.
If you connect to a public Wifi network, the Wi-Fi advisor will jump into action and will start to check the security level of the Wi-Fi network.
If the Wi-Fi network can’t pass the security test then the Wi-Fi advisor will put out a suggestion.
Needless to say, the suggestion will advise the user to all the browsing via BitDefender SafePay browser.
As far as the home network is concerned, the Wifi advisor checks its overall security levels as well and then makes appropriate recommendations.
If the user is not using a strong encryption (or sometimes no encryption) then the Wi-Fi advisor suggests that the user should at least use a WPA2 encryption.
It also requires that the user comes up with a strong password.
You see when you delete a file it doesn’t go away.
It sits nicely in your Recycle Bin.
The Recycle Bin comes in real handy when you want to restore files that you mistakenly deleted before.
For sensitive files, you can even go ahead and delete those from the Recycle Bin.
But hackers are very capable these days.
They can retrieve and recover data related to the deleted file even if you delete the file from the Recycle Bin.
If you want to delete a file to extinction (meaning it is unrecoverable) then you’ll need a utility that can securely delete a file.
In Bitdefender’s case, that utility is the File Shredder.
Secure deletion utilities are nothing new.
The market is filled with encryption tools that offer varying degree of shredding algorithms.
But the fact is, if your shredding utility even overwrites the data once, it is more than enough.
Even the most expensive forensic recovery tools can’t bring that data back to life.
Bitdefender takes the safe approach and overwrites your shredded files a total of three times.
Which is, again, more than enough.
All you have to do is open the Bitdefender File Shredder and then browse your machine to add the specific files/folders you want shredded.
You can even right-click a given file or folder and then select File Shredder from the resulting Bitdefender submenu.
The Bitdefender File Shredder tool is relatively easy to use.
Of course, the ability to just drag and drop files and folders into the File Shredder window would have made it a perfect File Shredder but perhaps we’re asking too much.
Browsing isn’t that bad either.
BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2017 SummaryThis Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2017 review is indeed long.
Because Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2017 is filled with great features.
Labs all over the world love Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2017.
It gives them no reason to hate it because Bitdefender is a master at dealing with anti-phishing and malicious URL blocking tests.
BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2017 has a lot of bonus features as well.
These features include,
- A basic password manager
- SafePay browser which is a very secure internet browser for financial transactions
- A comprehensive monitor to control permissions and keep ransomware at bay.
- File Shredder
BitDefender ranks high on almost every list of Top 10 best Antivirus software products in the world and for good reason.
The closest BitDefender competitor is indeed Kaspersky but BitDefender is lighter on resources and is more streamlined.
Other antivirus products like McAfee Antivirus Plus offers users to protect an unlimited number of devices and on multiple platforms but Bitdefender can hold its own against them as well.
Norton Antivirus Basic comes pretty close to Bitdefender as far as advanced intrusion detection is concerned but Bitdefender takes the lead in bonus features.