BitDefender AntiVirus 2008 - Defend Your PC

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Introduction

BitDefender Antivirus 2008 is both effective and simple. It is not a security suite, so it lacks some bells and whistles, but it also lacks the programming bulk and excess resource requirements, allowing it to take care of business without eating up your hard drive or your system memory. If you are looking for raw protection against the core malware products: viruses, worms, Trojans, and rootkits, BitDefender is one of the best products available.

Price to Value (5 out of 5)

What’s Hot:
BitDefender provides tremendous bang for the buck. It lacks some of the protection and security features found in the suite products, but at $24.95 it is a bargain.

It is quick, nimble, and effective and the price makes it virtually a no-brainer. If you want solid malware protection for relatively little investment, BitDefender Antivirus 2008 might be the product for you.

User Interface (4 out of 5)

What’s Hot:

BitDefender Antivirus 2008 runs on Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Vista (32-bit version only). You will need at least 50Mb of free hard drive space and 512Mb of RAM. Installation was fast and painless.

Upon initial launch, the software connected to the Internet to download the latest updates [1_UpdateStatus.jpg)]. The default settings provide solid protection out of the box without being so restrictive that they disrupt the ability to use the computer.

What’s Not:
One complaint I have is with the file activity monitor that is installed and runs by default. After installation, you will find a small box labeled File Zone on your desktop [2_FileZone.jpg] which graphs file activity in realtime. This box provides no useful information that average users can actually benefit from, and seems to be nothing more than a way to use system resources to run a flashy gizmo intended to demonstrate that BitDefender is actually doing something. I got rid of this “feature” as quickly as I could.

Installation & Setup (5 out of 5)

What’s Hot:
You can install BitDefender Antivirus 2008 on Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Vista systems as long as you have at least 50Mb of free hard drive space and 512Mb of RAM. Installation is quick and painless. Once the initial installation is complete, the application will connect over the Internet to get the latest updates and you are basically all set.

The default settings for BitDefender are strict enough to protect the system without a bunch of frustrating alerts or pop-up messages you find from other security products.

Product Features (5 out of 5)

What’s Hot:
While it is not billed as a “suite”, BitDefender Antivirus 2008 provides features to protect you against an array of computer security threats, including:

  • viruses
  • worms
  • Trojans
  • rootkits
  • spyware
  • phishing
  • identity theft

BitDefender is also capable of scanning HTTP and secure HTTP, or SSL, traffic which can help you protect against threats in web-based email programs like GMail or Yahoo Mail.

In addition, the product will scan HTTP traffic for ActiveX or Javascript applets and screen out malicious scripts, and it can be set to restrict tracking cookies as well.

One of the more unique features of BitDefender Antivirus 2008 is the Gamer Mode. When playing online games, you need all of the resources you can gather and you can’t afford any lag in the data transfer. Enabling Gamer mode reduces  the resources being used by BitDefender to minimize the impact on the gaming experience.

Performance (5 out of 5)

What’s Hot:
I found BitDefender to be both fast and effective.

Antivirus products are often accused of bogging down computer systems- an excuse users often use when explaining why they don’t install or enable antivirus protection. BitDefender did not use an unreasonable amount of system resources, nor did it produce any noticeable impact on my overall system performance.

I did not conduct any scientific study of the products effectiveness at detecting and blocking malware, but 3rd-party organizations such as Virus Bulletin and ICSA Labs both rate the product’s effectiveness very highly.

Images

Tracking progress of downloading program and antivirus updates

Annoying

BitDefender 2008 has a simple and intuitive dashboard

Clicking on a dashboard icon reveals more details about issues

Add rules to monitor and protect against leaking personal identity info

Set BitDefender Antivirus 2008 to protect your personal information

Configure antivirus shield settings in BitDefender Antivirus 2008

Set the Privacy configuration settings in BitDefender Antivirus 2008

Set the options for updating BitDefender Antivirus 2008

Click Advanced to dig deeper into the more complex configuration settings

Initiate a Deep Scan to search your entire computer for malware

Suggested Features

BitDefender does what it does very effectively and with virtually no confusion or frustration for the user. My only suggestion for future releases is that they expand the scope to include versions for other operating systems, specifically Mac OS X. Traditionally, the Mac isn’t much of a target and has been largely ignored by antivirus vendors, but that continues to change with the move to a Linux-based Mac OS and the increasing market share of Apple.

Conclusion

Many security vendors are primarily focused on security suite products that include antivirus, anti-spyware, personal firewall, and other security functions all rolled into one package. BitDefender Antivirus 2008 lacks some of those extra bells and whistles, but it is exceptional at what it does. If you want a small, fast product that will protect you against most malware and PC security threats, you should take a look at BitDefender Antivirus 2008.

McAfee VirusScan Plus 2007, Norton Antivirus 2008, iolo Antivirus