There are a few different options we could have picked for this category and the biggest reason we’ve chosen Bitdefender twice in a row is because when it comes to AV protection, we prefer the strong and silent type. That’s Bitdefender in nutshell. Once installed, Bitdefender goes into Autopilot mode by default and makes all security related decisions for you. It won’t bother you with popups and alerts, nor does it even ask you to go through and configure its behavior. There’s no handholding here—Bitdefender is confident in its abilities to protect your system without making a fuss.
We’re confident in Bitdefender’s abilities too, both because of own experience throughout the years, and because it continues to do well in independent lab tests. In AV-Test.org’s latest evaluation, Bitdefender detected every single threat, including 164 zero-day malware samples and over 22,000 widespread and prevalent malware discovered in the past four weeks. It did pick up a few false positives (3 out of more than 1.2 million samples used), but not enough to ding Bitdefender’s Usability score. And it’s racked up several dozen VB100 awards Virus Bulletin over the past several years (August 2010 was the last time a Bitdefender product failed to earn a VB100 award). In other words, Bitdefender rarely trips up.
If you want to take a proactive approach to security, Bitdefender can scan for vulnerabilities such as out of date software. It also checks for missing Windows updates and analyzes the strength of your Windows passwords. When it finds a third-party program that’s out of date, it gives a detailed report on the number of vulnerabilities and specific security threats it poses, and also provides a link to grab the newest version. Not many programs go the extra mile like that.
Bitdefender Internet Security isn’t overflowing with features, but the ones it includes trend more towards helpful than fluff. Also, there are some new goodies in the 2017 edition. One of them is a Wi-Fi security advisor that analyzes wireless networks for vulnerabilities, and the other is the inclusion of Bitdefender’s anti-ransomware protection, a feature that was previously reserved for its Total Security suite. The latter is now available in every Bitdefender AV product and what it does is prevent programs from making changes to designated folders (by default it protects the Documents and Pictures folder).
As with last year’s version, Bitdefender Internet Security 2017 includes a Safepay option for conducting online transactions. Clicking on Safepay opens up a special browser based on Chromium in a sandbox environment. It adds a layer of security against outside threats, and if you want to be extra cautious, you can call up Bitdefender’s virtual keyboard to protect yourself from keyloggers.
As with most AV programs, Bitdefender has different pricing options based on the number of PCs and year of coverage your purchase. On its website, Bitdefender shows an MSRP of $80 for 1 year of protection on up to 3 PCs, though it’s often marked down 35 percent to $35.