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BitDefender Internet Security 2008 - Handles PC Protection Quickly and Efficiently

written by: Paul Pardi•edited by: Ronda Bowen•updated: 6/2/2011

BitDefender Internet Security 2008 has been at or near the top of my list, as far as virus protection goes, for some time now. BitDefender has been a leader in computer virus protection and its latest offering, Internet Security 2008 doesn't disappoint. It's not perfect however.

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    I positively reviewed a previous version of a BitDefender product for BrightHub (BitDefender AntiVirus 10 review) and came into this review with high expectations. I expect the level of virus protection and spyware threat protection delivered by BitDefender to be top notch. I also expected a highly usable interface and solid installer. In most cases Internet Security 2008 met my expectations.

    While the installation was flawless, the user interface seems to have taken a step backwards. Some inconsistencies and some downright false information plagued the otherwise nice-looking and general usable interface. I also had some technical problems with the firewall that required some tinkering to get working.

    BitDefender's antivirus protection and antispam filter shined. It was mainly for it's performance in this area that I gave the product a solid overall rating. It handled everything I threw at it quickly and efficiently and did what a virus and spyware scanner should do. Once I worked through the problems associated with the firewall, that too performed well though it was overly aggressive in my opinion. I had to give networked computers explicit access to the protected machine and had to approve popular programs like Internet Explorer and Google Desktop.

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    Installation & Setup

    Rating AverageWhat's Hot: 
    Installation was standard and the custom installer worked without effort. It offers to replace the Windows Firewall with the BitDefender firewall and this option is pre-selected. The installer did require a reboot and wrote approximately 120Mb to the hard disk (this includes files downloaded from the internet before the install actually started). It also created 849 registry entries.

    What's Not: 
    The installer concludes with an 8 screen registration wizard. This seems excessive even for registration wizards and to force it upon me at the end of the installation was a turnoff. Thankfully, the wizard can be cancelled.

    The uninstaller crashed when I attempted to uninstall the product though it appeared to remove it.
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    User Interface

    Rating AverageWhat's Hot: 
    The BitDefender Internet Security user interface is clean and generally well laid out. I uses modern-looking images and the text has good contrast with the background. BitDefender has moved away from the tabbed interface used in previous versions of their products and the current UI uses buttons and modal dialog boxes. I prefer the tabbed interface approach as it's easier to navigate less "messy."

    What's Not: 
    I did find some of the information communicated through the UI to be unclear and at times downright confusing. On the home screen for example, BitDefender provides an all-up system status. In an apparent effort to be succinct It tells me that 2 issues affect the security of my system. However my only option is to fix all issues. There didn't seem to be a way to drill down and determine what those issues are. Perhaps one of those issues is one I'm aware of and need to leave as is so other software doesn't break. I link with a checkbox for each broken item seems in order.

    The four buttons on the main screen also indicated that there were problems. However these seemed inconsistent and didn't appear to reflect the "two" issues of which the status box informed me.

    The Network Security button indicated with a big green checkmark that my network was protected. Clicking on the button however showed that both the firewall and Stealth Mode were disabled. The reason that the button indicated that the network was protected was because I had chosen to disable monitoring of the firewall and stealth mode. The information in the button however is incorrect. Instead of telling me that my system is protected, it should have indicated that the status is undetermined or that key security features are not being monitored.
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    Product Features

    Rating AverageWhat's Hot: 
    BitDefender caught the viruses in both the Eicar .com test file and the text file. It warned me that I was downloading a virus in both cases and quarantined the files. Bit defender also dealt with Spycar onslaught without breaking a sweat. It caught every threat and dealt with them flawlessly.

    What's Not: 
    I had some trouble with the miniport for one of my network devices. I have two network connections in my home each with separate connections to the internet. I use a wired connection to connect to one network and a wireless connection to connect to the other one. After I installed BitDefender I upgraded my wireless connection to a different device and temporarily disabled the BitDefender miniport. Attempting to reenable it produced a driver Logo verification error.

    I chose to continue and the miniport appeared to be reenabled but BitDefender would not open. I disabled and reenabled the miniport and this appears to have fixed the problem.

    The BitDefender firewall was disabled and I believed the reason was because I disabled the miniport. However, even after enabling the miniport, I could not activate the firewall. A reboot fixed the problem.

    Once I did get it running, the firewall seemed to aggressive. *I had to approve, for example, Internet Explorer and the Google toolbar--two applications it should already know about and approve without my involvement. I also had to explicitly add a networked computer to the trusted zone in order to access the computer on which BitDefender was installed.
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    The very long registration wizardTurn off Windows FirewallFix network statusMiniport driver problemsFirewall won't startAlert popup
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    Suggested Features

    • Improve the user interface
    • Update the firewall logic to include popular applications so the user doesn't have to approve them.
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    BitDefender Internet Security 2008 is a solid performer when it comes to catching viruses and spyware and for this reason I can recommend it. It's user interface seems to have taken a step backwards from previous BitDefender products and I ran into some annoying technical problems. If you're like I am and leave your scanners to run in the background, the UI problems shouldn't deter you from what appears to be a solid security package.
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    Related Products

    McAfee VirusScan Plus, CA Internet Security Suite Plus 2008, Norton 360 , Microsoft OneCare