Add-ins & Apps, Reviews

Add-in Review: BitDefender Total Security

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There are many programs in the wild that perform an anti-virus function.  There are very few programs out there that have a Windows Home Server compatible version.  BitDefender is one of those companies.  The company has several anti-virus solutions that are available to install on a WHS.  For this review, I will be installing and taking a look at their Total Security Package.  Who is BitDefender?

BitDefender®is the creator of one of the industry’s fastest and most effective lines of internationally certified security software.

Since our inception in 2001, BitDefender® has continued to raise the bar and set new standards in proactive threat prevention. BitDefender® made its entrance on international market when opening its own offices in Germany, Spain, USA and the UK. The company’s global expansion plans are still underway as BitDefender® is strengthening its position based on a series of strategic partnerships. Moreover, BitDefender is also setting sail for Asia.

End of 2007, BitDefender® receives investment to support global expansion and advance leadership position in antivirus software and data security. The investment group is comprised of Romanian and American private investors with substantial investment experience in the region and in the IT sector.

The BitDefender® proprietary technologies, based on innovative ideas and trends in the information security industry, have been internationally avowed by authorized organizations, prizes and certifications (Av-Test.org, Virus Bulletin, ICSA lab, Checkmark, IST Prize etc). BitDefender® is the only South- Eastern European company to have been awarded the European IST Prize for innovation by the European Commission and the representatives of 18 European academies. In 2008, BitDefender was rated #1 for protection by Consumer Reports, the largest consumer reporting publication.

Every year, BitDefender® launches a new generation of its desktop product line and issues patches for the corporate suites with new functionalities based on its innovative technologies. In 2006, BitDefender® introduces B-HAVE (Behavioral Heuristic Analyzer in Virtual Environments), its proprietary heuristic detection technology. Same year, NeuNet, the new heuristic detection technologies is integrated in the BitDefender® solutions. Also the Spam Image Filter, an important step in fighting the new spamming techniques has been included in the BitDefender® engines. In 2007 BitDefender® presented its new solution – Mobile Security providing real-time antivirus protection for mobile devices (smart phones and PDAs).

Every day, BitDefender® protects tens of millions of home and corporate users across the globe — giving them the peace of mind of knowing that their digital experiences will be secure. BitDefender® solutions are distributed by a global network of value-added distribution and reseller partners in more than 100 countries worldwide. More information is available on our security solutions‘ site.

The program is available as a free no-hassle download from the BitDefender website as 30-day trialware.

Prior to installing BitDefender, it is highly recommended that an on-line virus scan be performed at the web page illustrated below.

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Once downloaded, you simply execute the installation program directly.  This installer will install the program so that you can execute it directly from the Start menu.  There is no WHS console integration available with BitDefender.  The complete install process is illustrated in the following screens.

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After the prerequisite restart, BitDefender will lead you through several configuration screens.  Other than changing the network type to a “trusted” network, I proceeded through the configuration screens and kept the default program options as is.

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Once finished, BitDefender places an icon in the system tray for easy access from the desktop, which is the normal method that I have seen for anti-virus programs.  BitDefender does not have a Console add-in, so if you are a user of the WHS Console, I would recommend that you install Advanced Admin Console to have access to the BitDefender User Interface.

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Clicking on the system tray icon brings up the BitDefender user interface, as seen below.

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Switching to the Advanced View changes the UI to what is seen below.

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While perusing the various options that BitDefender has available in this version, I felt somewhat overwhelmed by what is available to the user.

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Perhaps overwhelmed is not the correct term.  It is more of a case of confusion on my part in how the various program options and settings are grouped.  If you click on Settings, you are presented with more options than are seen above.

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If you go to the advanced view, you have another set of options to peruse.

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It would appear that each level of settings noted above of contains a subset of the previous screen.  BitDefender Total Security is an incredibly feature rich program that does exactly what is designated by its version name: Total Security.  Perhaps a lot more than what is required by a WHS.  In the end, it would seem to make more sense to have a “Basic” settings tab and an “Advanced” settings tab.  Group everything under these tabs in lieu of having a sense of everything being scattered all over, which is the impression I get with the current UI.

That is enough about program settings.  How well does it work and how obtrusive (or not) is it on the user and on the system?

To answer the first part, I will have to rely on labs that rate anti-virus software.  I certainly do not have the tools, test setups, and “contained” viruses sitting around that these people have to test AV programs.  The comparison charts are for too large to show here, so I will provide the links to some sites that perform these tests:

An interesting read on how CNET tests anti-virus programs can be found here.  How did BitDefender fare in these tests?  With most reviews, any given program will move up or down the ladder depending upon how a program is tested.  This is true for BitDefender.  The most complete review is the PC Magazine review and it goes into a lot more depth on various features that are simply not relevant to a WHS, and more in-depth performance tests than I have the ability to perform.

For use with a WHS, there are 2 items that I can check to see what kind of hit BitDefender has on system performance.

  • System resources:

WHS System idle, BitDefender resident.

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I observed the vsserv.exe use between 0 and 6% at any given time.  I would definitely not call BitDefender a resource hog when working in the background.

  • Client Backup:

I ran a Manual Backup of this machine.  I followed this backup immediately another backup.  I then ran a third backup while BitDefender was performing a manual scan.

Run 2, BitDefender was not performing a manual scan:

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Run 3, BitDefender was performing a manual scan.

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And the associated resources being used during this time.  I did observe the vsserv.exe spike a few times around the 50% level, but it normally ranged in the 0 to 6% level.

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As can be seen, running a system scan did not effect backups in the least.  It was quite interesting that the final backup took a significant shorter time to complete than the second backup.

So, is BitDefender Total Security the program for you?

The interface needs to be completely redone to make it more user friendly and less confusing.  I would like to see BitDefender integrated into the console.  Also, Total Security is way more of an anti-virus solution than is needed for a WHS, in my opinion.  BitDefender does have a few program variations, as can be seen in the following chart:

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For a WHS, the least expensive variation should cover most everything that a normal user would need.  As each variation covers 3 computers, however, the added features may warrant a more expensive version.

The program works.  It does not bring my system to a halt during normal background usage or during a scan.  It has a decent AV rating.  Not at the top, but it does hold its own.  How does it compare to the other AV solutions for a WHS?  I have not used the other solutions on a WHS, but give me time.

Company: BitDefender

Version Reviewed: BitDefender Total Security 2009

Cost: $79.95

BitDefender links:

Web site: BitDefender
KnowledgeBase: bitdefender.com/site/KnowledgeBase/consumer/

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Hello. I’m from the heartland of the U.S. Lots of corn and beans, although Iowa is a lot more than just farmland. It also has a few computer enthusiasts (no, not me!). I’ve been around PCs since I got my 1st PC XT aloooong time ago. WGS is one of the first sites I found centered around WHS. And the best. Every once in awhile, I do get away from the KB and enjoy time with and my wife and our 4 kids. And I do have a day job.
  • http://www.malwarecity.com Andrew Clerk

    Hi,
    The review is really good, I have BitDefender Internet Security installed at home, my PC doesn’t seem to have any performance problems when BitDefender is installed. It simply does anything a security suite should do!

    BitDefender released a website called Malware City with a lot of informations about security issues and threats, you should read it, the link is in the contact form.

  • http://www.computergoods.co.uk/page/47/1/BitDefender-Antivirus/Page1.html James Smith

    I was lucky enough to purchase this excellent antivirus software from the following computer website and it has served me well since.

    Highly recommended above all other antivirus software.

    Excellent review.

  • Rick Squires

    I purchased bitdefender Internet Security 2009 and what a huge mistake that was. It does not work with Gmail. And I have to clear an error message, "you have not scanned for malware in 10 days" even though product is set to auto-scan every three days. Very annoying to have to continually clear this error message even though the program has already scanned for malware three times in 10 day. Don't buy this product!!!

  • http://www.bitdefender.com Nicole B

    Rick –

    Sorry to hear that is happening. Have you checked the knowledge base for a solution (kb.bitdefender.com)? Also, we will be implementing a support twitter account within the coming weeks, where we will be there live to answer your questions.

    THANKS!

    Nicole B. – BitDefender, North America

    • Mark Shneour

      Hello, Nicole.

      I am a long time Bitdefender user, and am presently a very frustrated one. Based upon Bitdefender's representations (as discussed in this thread and elsewhere) concerning its presumed compatibility with the Windows Home Server OS, I purchased a 10-person license for Internet Security 2009. The license was intended to cover my WHS machine, as well as a number of client computers for various family members.

      (Continued on second post…)

      • Mark Shneour

        I have since implemented my second WHS machine. This one, unlike my first which was custom-built, is an HP "MediaSmart" Server (Model EX-485). It is, per Microsoft's specification for the OS, a "headless" unit — it has no keyboard, mouse or display interface, and can only be accessed from the WHS Console via a TCP/IP Ethernet connection (through a router). Here is the nightmare which I have experienced attempting to install BD Internet Security on my HP MediaSmart Server:

        (1) First off, none of BitDefender's 2010 product line (AV, IS or TS) are certified by Bitdefender as being "compatible" with WHS. This is true with or without the 2009 "patch." Why a paying customer must discover this fact only after spending an hour with Tech Support is beyond me.

        (Continued again…)

        • Mark Shneour

          (2) Even after executing the 2009 "patch," I discovered an even more insidious problem attempting to install BD IS 2009 on my HP MediaSmart Server. BD's install routine for its "Internet Security" product (and no doubt also for its "Total Security" product) establishes a default setting for its firewall called "Safe." This is the most permissive default setting the install routine will establish, and only when the user selects the network adapter as for a "home" network. But here's the rub: In order for a client computer to access a WHS machine on a local network, BD's firewall must have a setting of (at least) "Trusted Local." ("Full Trust" will also work.) So, guess what? When BD's install routine enables its firewall and establishes a setting of "Safe," the WHS machine CAN NO LONGER BE ACCESSED VIA THE WHS CONSOLE. And as the HP MediaSmart server is "headless," there is NO OTHER WAY TO ACCESS THE MACHINE.

          (Continued again…)

          • Mark Shneour

            (On my custom-built machine, I can enter the OS via the keyboard and local display.) So, without the capability to access the WHS machine and either disable the firewall or change it to a setting of (at least) "Trusted Local," YOU ARE TRULY S.O.L.!! All I have been able to do is to entirely RESTORE THE SERVER to its factory setting. And there I remain.

            I have just spent yet another HOUR of my time on a Live Chat session with a BitDefender Tech Support rep. (Let's call him "Oscar.") This person had NO CLUE what I was talking about — he knew nothing about Windows Home Server, nor about the BD install procedure, nor about BD's "patch" for WHS, nor about customer servive, nor about much of anything. I was promised that my support issue would be escalated for a 48-hour response to me, but I have little confidence at this point in Bitdefender's addressing this matter seriously. I am beginning to think about demanding a refund of my BD license purchase, and moving on to a company like avast which has a proper console-implementation of its security suite for WHS.

            (Continued again…)

          • Mark Shneour

            Maybe instead, Nicole, you can look into this matter, and give me and, no doubt, many other loyal customers of Bitdefender a resolution to this serious problem with BD installation on the Windows Home Server platform.

            Many thanks. I'll try and maintain a positive attitude. At least for awhile.

            Mark Shneour
            mark@dotmom.com

  • Dora Smith

    I just purchased the Bit Defender 2010 home antivirus product. I run Windows XP, Service pack 2, and Internet Explorer and Outlook Express 6. Bit Defender made it impossible for me to download e-mail from my gmail and paid Yahoo accounts, but not my Roadrunner account, and made it impossible to connect to more than the most basic of internet pages, and it couldn't connect to register itself.

    The program interface has no mechanism to shut it off, anywhere. I switched to the advanced interface, which was identical to the basic interface, and still no way to turn off the program. That right there is a fatal defect. I had to uninstall it in order to learn if it was hanging up my internet connection – which it was. After uninstalling the program and rebooting my internet connection works perfectly.

    The uninstall didn't even go smoothly. Using the program's own repair/ uninstall utility, it hung up, though evidently after managing to uninstall it.

    The program's help feature had a topic on connectivity issues but nothing there.

    The program itself provides no information on how to contact Bit Defender Support, and Bit Defender's web site provides only a chat support that didn't work, possibly because of my connectivity issue; no phone number. I've seen in a review that Bit Defender has 27/7 free phone support; this is categorically not true. I had to google contact Bit Defender to get a phone number to call them. Then I learned that they are only open 9 to 5, which is when I had to uninstall Bit Defender in order to be able to connect to the Internet. I have yet to find the company's address to write to their CEO to tell them about their product's serious problems anywhere on the Internet.

    When I finally got them, I said I'm out of patience, I want my money back (which atleast they appear to have granted). The fact that the program has no means to turn it off is right there a good reason to not want it. And obviously it can interfere with Internet connectivity.

    As I've been posting my reviews of this product on the Web, I found another review by someone who had to go around 12 efforts to install the program with tech support to get it to work, and they were sending him scripts and all sorts of things. Clearly this program is NOT simple to get to work correctly.

  • Jeremiah

    I had this on my home server (self built) and It wrecked my performance. Speeds dropped to super slow for anything i was trying to do. I uninstalled it and only installed the antivirus part and still amazingly slow. Uninstalled it and back to 100% full speed. This is junk for a server. On my Win 7 machines its a bit clunky and slow, turning on game mode randomly, not updating, making me click yes or close after it does a scan that's supposed to be AUTOMATED. If theres anything else scheduled in the time that the AV runs, it will block it because its waiting on me to click close on the AUTOMATED virus scan. Not very automated if you ask me. I purchased this after using a "free" version of NOD32 for years. Needless to say I can see why alot of people are hesitant to buy any sort of software these days. I scoured the knowledge base for hours trying to find a fix to no avail. Id say stay far away from this.

  • Joey Eagan

    I have used Bitdefender internet security for 3 years this is my last year! as of 2009 and 2010 the software constantly will not update! this is a major issue in security. I have recently learned my server update address was wrong well it changed, wouldn't it be nice if you let your customers know this or include the change in an update? that's right no updates now i cannot update again! so i will not be renewing this product being the live chat does not work either

  • KANEUGE

    I had been using bitdefender on my WHS for a year. Not sure where they are going, but they lost me as a customer. Just FYI, when I attempted to renew, their third-party billing partner insisted that I go to their secure FTP site and upload a copy of my credit card statement and a photo ID (either my driver's license or my passport). This really concerns me about sending such information, let alone me being a return customer having this hassle. I expressed my concern to no avail. They lost a customer.

  • Donald

    I have been trying to get BitDefender to send me a cd copy of the 2010 Virus scan software I bought on line. They either refuse to send one or have yet to read the numerous emails I have sent requesting the copy. Since I have been emailing them for some time I am now inclined to believe they flat out refuse. Further, they will not answer answer queries I have sent regarding the failure of their product to find and delete virus/malware that has recently caused numerous issues on my XP. Will I EVER buy there product again? Hardly…and I am going out of my way to ensure anyone I know interested in purchasing virus protection sw is informed of the lack of support this company has offered. My purchase was a waste of money and a serious investment in accrued aggravation and acid indigestion. And after reading the emails in this thread I see I am not alone.

  • Becky M

    I run 2 machines on a home network with Bitdefender Antivirus 2009 – one on XP and one on Vista. I have had many problems that a diploma in networking and computer tech experience has challenged! With Vista, there are constant script interference making simple pages to load either very long or not at all. Just today, my XP computer got hit with 25 viruses after I run daily scans. XP is having a fit and Bitdefender is all green like there is no problem at all! Can't get in touch with Bitdefender – no phone number, no chat. Only an email that maybe I'll get a response in 48 hours….Now I'll need to purchase something else to do the job that Bitdefender was supposed to do. Another customer GONE….

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