Viruses, Trojans, Ransomware – Today, everyone knows the risks of global networking and knows that you should protect yourself against malware from the Internet. Even my grandma (72) asked me just the other day if you don’t need something like that for your PC. No wonder that the offer of antivirus software is large. Since my current solution (ESET Internet Security) is about to expire, I looked into the current test winners and ended up with Bitdefender Software (Stiftung Warentest 03/2021 – test rating “very good”). Why I chose this software you can read here.
My criteria for a cyber security solution
What does such a cyber security solution actually need nowadays? Where in the past only a simple virus scanner laboriously scanned every file, today’s solutions are a bit more sophisticated. This is also urgently necessary, because there are significantly more threats on the net today.
Source: AV-test.org (as of 2017)
Since the advent of cryptocurrencies at the latest, new ransomware attacks have become known time and again. These encrypt the data on the PC and usually demand an outrageously high sum in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin in order to hand over the password for decryption. Germany is even among the TOP 5 countries for most ransomware attacks. In addition to companies, private individuals are also increasingly being blackmailed.
This makes comprehensive protection against all threats all the more important. This includes new threats, phishing protection, secure online banking and, ideally, anonymous surfing via VPN.
But what criteria must such software meet? If it is up to me (who has years of experience with security software) then the following points are the most important
- All devices must be protected. It is of little use if the Windows PC is protected, but all other mobile devices such as Macbooks or Android devices are not.
- Continuous monitoring: 100 percent malware protection is no longer possible these days. This makes continuous monitoring all the more important, in which the recorded history is quickly scanned for possible security risks.
- High performance: In addition to the main functions for protection, as a gamer and home office servant (shoutout to Corona), it is especially important to me that the virus software works in a resource-saving manner and does not slow down the PC.
- High detection rate: The software should be able to detect every threat and optimally also quarantine new unknown threats for safety’s sake.
- Clear interface: Nothing is more annoying than a confusing software solution. Especially when it comes to security issues, the most important activities should be quickly executable and provide transparent information about what is happening.
- Protection for online banking and the like: In a secure browser, it should be possible to conduct banking transactions safely without falling for a man-in-the-middle attack or a phishing site.
- Regular free updates: In addition to the virus databases for identification, the software should also be able to be updated regularly without having to buy a new version.
- Price: Yes, price is also important. Since there have been no lifetime solutions on the market for some years, but only subscription models, enormous costs arise here over the years if you choose the wrong software.
Security today must be a combination of detect, defend, resist and prevent.
Doesn’t sound so easy, does it? Fortunately, there is a lot of security software that meets exactly these criteria.
During my research for a good and cheap cyber security solution I came across the test winner of the Stiftung Warentest 03/2021 (test rating “very good”). Since there are interesting price offers during the Black Week(!), I took a closer look.
Basically Bitdefender offers mainly 3 different versions with different functionality
The Bitdefender Antivirus Plus
version is the cheapest and unfortunately does not offer a firewall.
The upscale version is the Bitdefender Internet Security solution
, which already includes additional protection through a privacy firewall to protect personal data. This also monitors and protects access to the webcam and microphone. It also includes features like file encryption, parental controls and firewall.
Then there is the Bitdefender Total Security
version, which, in addition to the usual features, also includes an Onclick Optimizer to optimize the performance of your devices, as well as device theft protection.
With all versions, VPN access can also be added for additional anonymity on the web.
The main features of Bitdefender software, according to its website, are
- Firewall (from Internet Security version)
- Safepay: Secure payment transactions
- Ransomware protection
- Password manager for safekeeping of all passwords
- Intelligent spam filter
- Bitdefender vulnerability scan
- Bitdefender VPN: Encrypted through the Internet (extra charge)
- Anti-phishing protection
- Shredder: Permanent deletion of files
- Parental control (Internet Security version and higher)
Protection for all devices
In our home network, there are always at least 2 laptops, a PC and 2 Android devices in the house. To protect these holistically, we need at least the Total Security
version from Bitdefender, which offers support for MacOS, iOS and Android in addition to support for 5 devices. The Internet Security version, on the other hand, only supports 3 devices without mobile support.
Bitdefender also runs smoothly in the Total Security version I have. After installation, the PC is in protected status. New updates as well as virus identification files are also updated directly so that I am safely protected. Of course, a manual system scan and a quick scan are also offered. Top!
In addition to the main protection functions, as a gamer and home office servant (shoutout to Corona), it is especially important to me that the virus software works in a resource-saving way and does not slow down the PC. This is exactly where I have had very bad experiences in the past, especially with products from Norton.
Bitdefender, on the other hand, makes do with a minimum of resources and is never a nuisance to me with annoying scans or the like. The software starts immediately with the Windows start and runs pleasantly unobtrusive in the background. This is also confirmed in the AV-Comparatives January 2021 test. Here, Bitdefender has among the least impact on system performance:
Source: AV-Comparatives January 2021
High detection rate
In order to reliably detect malware, Bitdefender relies on a continuously updated database. In addition, behavior and triggered system activities are also monitored in order to proactively counteract malware. Any software that looks suspicious is blocked immediately. Of course it is still possible, especially as a coder, to allow exceptions for trusted programs. And don’t worry, this doesn’t cause a gigantic data stream, the identification databases are tiny (4-12kb) as updates.
Bitdefender’s detection rate has shone in AV-Comparatives tests as well as AV-test.org with best detection rates (97.7%). Stiftung Warentest (03/2021 issue) also praised the strong virus protection performance. So you can definitely expect adequate protection here.
Nothing is more annoying than an ill-conceived interface that makes using the program difficult and confusing. For this reason, I am very impressed with the simplified interface of Bitdefender. Everything looks tidy and is easy to find. The current state of the PC is also visible at all times. A green checkmark stands for optimally protected, yellow on the other hand indicates a security problem and red requires active assistance to solve a security problem.
On the left side is the navigation list. Here, in addition to the dashboard overview, the wealth of utilities
can be accessed. These include data vault, parental control, firewall, password manager as well as data encryption, the Safepay feature and webcam and microphone protection. Everything is easy to find.
All events can be found in the notifications
. As soon as a hint or scan pops up, you can get notified here. Among the most frequently seen notices on my end are the notice about insecure passwords, pending Windows security updates, and outdated applications. But there are also notices about outdated drivers and patches. I like that a lot! Screenshot: Bitdefender Internet Security’s user interface
Protection for online banking and the like
Today, you also need a security solution for online banking. It doesn’t take long to click on a link from a false email from a supposed bank and log in to a false website. To prevent this, Bitdefender examines all SSL certificates of the websites for their authenticity. If there are any doubts, a warning is issued before accessing the site. A really helpful thing, where you are protected even in careless moments.
In addition, there is a Safepay mode for particularly sensitive areas such as online banking or trading. In this mode, for example, the bank’s website is opened in its own secure browser, which shields both keyloggers and keyboard inputs. An additional on-screen keyboard can be used to enter sensitive information such as the login. I also liked the fact that the secure browser has a green frame for simplicity. Intuitive and secure!
Regular free updates
I can’t say anything negative about the update policy at the moment. I regularly get to see the software update itself every time I launch it. This happens in the background and is usually done quickly. Only the first update after installation took a short moment. Probably the amount of data for the identification database was larger.
Last but not least, the price is of course also interesting for the selection of a cyber security solution. Unfortunately, the “subscription culture” has been taking hold in the security industry for years, and there are hardly any manufacturers with lifetime licenses, so you should pay attention to the running costs. You should also know that Bitdefender’s subscriptions are automatically self-renewing. This is new to me, but it was different with my previous solutions. However, a cancellation can be made at any time.
The Bitdefender products are priced between €19.99 and €79.99, making them relatively inexpensive. I find it good that even the Antivirus Plus version (smallest version) already includes 3 devices. However, due to the number of devices and the necessary protection for the Android devices in our household, I recommend the Total Security version. This version is moderate at 29.99€/year. It’s great that 5 devices are already included here, too. That’s the way it has to be!
For comparison, I compared my old software with Bitdefender Total Security and two other industry leaders
|Software||Bitdefender Total Security||ESET Internet Security||AVG Internet Security||Kaspersky|
|Incl. devices||5||1-10 devices||1-10 devices||1-5 devices|
|Price||29,99€ / year||From 34,95€ / year||From 26,99€ / year||From 29,97€ / year|
|Price for 5 devices||29,99€ / year||54,95€ / year||35,99€ / year||44,97€ / year|
Thus, also in terms of price, Bitdefender Total Security represents the price winner for me.
: The prices are a snapshot at the time shortly after Black Friday. So there could still be price adjustments.
My additional tips for IT security
Before we come to the final conclusion, I would like to give you a few personal tips for more security.
sure you’ve already heard most of them, but maybe they will help you to improve your personal security on your digital device
- Never open files from people you don’t know (e.g. email from the prince from South Africa, unknown relatives and so on).
- If you download and open Word documents from the internet, please do not reload any content (yellow hint bar in the upper part). This can cause malicious software or scripts to be downloaded, which can infect your PC.
- Do not open .exe files or similar from email attachments.
- Make regular offgrid backups. The backed up media should not be on the current network or have a different location (keyword cloud).
- Change your passwords regularly and please do not use the same one everywhere! A password manager like Keepass helps you to keep track of your passwords.
Bitdefender Internet and Total Security can provide your Windows PC with first-class protection without sacrificing system performance. The software reliably protects against phishing attacks, ransomware attacks, viruses, and attacks on your online banking. If you need a bit more protection, for example for your Android or Apple device, I would definitely recommend the Bitdefender Total Security
All in all, I find Bitdefender to be a pleasant, inexpensive change from my previously used ESET Internet Security package. The all-around easy-to-use, convenient software, makes Internet security a reliable background service that regularly even points out security gaps caused by missing updates or double-used passwords. A real everyday helper! Also the secure browser now gives me an extra sense of security when doing my banking. Add to that 3-5 supported devices at a great price – you got me Bitdefender
Which software do you use now? Write me in the comments. I am looking forward to your messages!
Currently, the Black-Friday promotion is still running with great discounts. Bitdefender Internet Security for 3 devices and 1 year is currently available for only 24,99€. The Total Security version for your mobile device and MacOS is already available for 29,99€.
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