Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2017
Works with: Windows XP (32-bit) (SP2), Windows Vista (32-bit and 64-bit), Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit), Windows 8 (32-bit and 64-bit), Windows 8.1 (32-bit and 64-bit), Windows 10 (32-bit and 64bit)
Bitdefender is a well known antivirus product, being one of the market leaders for many years. They have lots of different security products including licensing its anti-virus engine to network appliances and cloud applications and other systems written by other vendors. Here we look at their Antivirus Plus 2017.
Supported Platforms - Mac, Windows, Android, iOS. Bitdefender for Unices is for Linux (UNIX) platforms.
Price - $29.99 for up to 3 devices.
● They exaggerate when they say “Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2017 works against all threats, from viruses, worms and Trojans, to ransomware, zero-day exploits, rootkits and spyware.” Nothing works 100% of the time.
● Bitdefender says they do not slow down your computer. Independent testing (see below) bears that out.
● They include a tool to reboot your computer into rescue mode to remove any boot-sector or other difficult-to-remove viruses. This probably would not work with ransomware. It all depends whether their product and the ransomware works at the grub or Windows Boot Manager level. Android 7 and other OSes already have boot-level protection that would flag an infected machine and then offer to restore that to the factory install.
● Bitdefender includes a password manager, showing that anti-virus vendors continue to look for ways to differentiate themselves in this commodity market.
● They have a tool to scan the disk and show notices about software that is not a virus but could pose some security risks. Then they recommend how to update those or otherwise mitigate the risk. (Presumably that would complain about certain versions of Adobe that have security issues. Most versions of Adobe have security issues which is why Apple and others have tried, and not succeeded, in killing off that system and replacing that with HTML5.)
● Anti-phishing. When anti-phishing works then there is no need for anti-virus. An email that cannot get to the user cannot trick the user into download malware. What is not clear is whether their anti-phishing works in a web browser or email client. If it works in a browser then presumably it blocks phishing links in, for example, Google Mail. So it would have to be a browser add-on. They do have a browser add-on product on the Chrome Market called Bitdefender Traffic Light that does that.
● Rated Editor’s Choice by Tom’s Guide. Bitdefender say they have more than 500 million users. That’s an exaggeration. It must be that 500 million people have downloaded it over all history. Far fewer would be using it at anyone time as people throw away their old machines and buy new ones. Bitdefender says they crowdsource data from these 500,000 users thus helping to build a knowledge base by which they can protect others.
● They have different products: Bitdefender Box, Bitdefender Total Security 2017, Family Pack 2017, and Internet Security 2017, and Antivirus Plus 2017, which is what we are looking at here.
● They use artificial intelligence and behavior analysis. That means neural networks and Bayesian machine learning. The goal is to not rely just on checking the MD5 hash of virus files. Hackers can easily make very small changes to their programs so that the signature (hash) of that does not match the list of known viruses. The heuristic approach is to look at what the software is doing—copying and modifying files, for example—and then flagging those as viruses that way.
● Wi-Fi Security Advisor alerts people working in Starbucks and other public hotspots if there is something wrong with the configuration that would let hackers snoop on (listen to) network traffic.
● Ransomware Protection. We need to look further at how that works, or does not work. If this does work then it would protect files from being locked by criminal hackers who demand a ransom to unlock them. The documentation says that the user needs to copy their files into specific folders to make this work. But people should not be keeping data on their local drive anyway but should keep that in the Microsoft, Apple, Google, Dropbox, or other clouds. Depending on how the user accesses those (browser versus local app) those can either be safe from ransomware or if they get infected can be retrieved from older versions.
● Includes social network protection that blocks malicious links on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. That is useful, as many viruses are spread that way.
Bitdefender has a long list of OEM partners, This include endpoint protection (PCs, laptops, mobile devices, flash drives, external storage), network protection, and cloud protection (sold to cloud vendors). Those include the Bitdefender Anti-malware and Endpoint Security SDK, Mobile SDK, and other APIs into their product. That lets those vendors offer anti-malware protection to their customers.
Bitdefender also gives away some of its source code on Github. This is in the spirit of supporting security researchers and the opensource development model in general, they say.
They also have Bitdefender UNICES (meaning different versions of UNIX, including LINUX, which is Ubuntu, openSUSE, Fedora, ...). That offers antivirus for Linux systems, which would let them work in large application servers. But it is not clear how that would work as there is no user logged into see the messages that pop up.
AV Testing Independent Lab:
Rated Top Product.
Protection Score (zero-day attacks, widespread malware) 6/6
Performance (slowing down websites, copying files, and app launch) 5.5/6
Usability (false blockage, false warnings) 6/6