BitDefender: Total Security 2012 review

Superbly effective set-and-forget malware protection
Photo of BitDefender: Total Security 2012

Deciding on the best antivirus software or security suite to protect your PC from viruses and other malware such as adware, spyware, Trojans et al. isn’t the easiest task. Often it seems to be a case of how much you’re willing to spend, and how much time and effort you’re prepared to put in to set up and set up and operate the thing – do you want comprehensive manula control, or something you can just set and forget? BitDefender Total Security 2012 falls squarely into the latter camp.

But it’s up against some stuff competition. For starters, why should you pay for protection, when there are a number of alternatives available for free? AVG’s free version has long been popular, even though its detection rate has been criticised.

In the paid-for camp, Norton 360 and McAfee have large followings because they’ve been around so long – but issues like frequent pop-ups needing decisions have allowed new pretenders like Kaspersky (reviewed here) and BitDefender to steal much of their thunder. Bitdefender has a few tricks up its sleeve.

Easy to navigate
Targeted squarely at the home user, the user interface of BitDefender’s Total Security 2012 has been given an overhaul to make it more user-friendly, and a number of key features have been added for better protection and to make it less intrusive.

The home screen is divided into four main sections, covering Antivirus, Firewall, Antispam and Update. Clicking on any of them will take you into a separate menu where each option is clearly labelled with a simple on/off button beside it.

BitDefender Total Security 2012

As well as the four initial categories, there are additional headings (which can be re-ordered according to preference on the home screen). These include Parental Control; Tune-up to remove unnecessary files; Safebox for online backup when changes are detected, as well as file synchronisation; and Privacy Control, which not only monitors data protection and offers encryption but detects fraud and phishing on web browsers.

Another immensely useful addition is the new social networking security feature, which monitors links coming from Facebook and highlights any that are suspicious, all the while that you’re busy sharing with friends your daily adventures. A new Virtualised Browser also effectively isolates the browser from the operating system to fend off e-threats.

Pop up-free operation
However, the ultimate star of this package is BitDefender’s Auto Pilot feature, which appears at the top of the home page. With a single click, you can have silent continuous protection without having to be consulted every few minutes with those annoying pop-ups to notify you of suspicious activity.

If certain threats such as rootkits can’t be dug out from the OS, then the PC will be re-booted in Rescue Mode while the problem is fixed. One area in which BitDefender remains a little thin, though, is in checking instant messaging, as only the relatively unpopular Yahoo! Messenger is covered.

BitDefender also does its best to head off another traditional bugbear with security software – namely, the system slowdowns that occur when scanning. Total Security 2012 incorporates a Scan Dispatcher, which schedules system scans only when resource usage drops below a certain level. Unless specifically instructed otherwise, it only carries out scans when your system is idle.

Our testing left us very impressed with the high malware detection rate and the low ‘false positive’ results. BitDefender has really pulled out the stops this year – so unless you (or your teenage children) are addicted to instant messaging and may be looking for slightly greater protection in that department, it gets a big thumbs-up!

Company: BitDefender


Contact: Bitdefender on 0845 130 5096

  • Silent auto detection and removal for true 'set and forget' operation.
  • Instant messaging protection is still very basic.


Bitdefender's overhaul of its premiere security software has resulted in a much smoother, user friendlier interface, a clutch of new detection improvements, Facebook alerts and excellent 'silent running'.