Yet again this year, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus finishes at the top of the heap in tests. Experts say it defends your computer against malware (and phishing, ID theft and more), is easy to use, and won't slow down your system too much. User reviews aren't quite as rosy, however, and the automatic auto-renewal (unless you opt out) causes a lot of annoyance.
Installs quickly on clean systems, more slowly on infected ones. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus (2014) installs quickly on uninfected computers. If your machine is already infected, it may take longer. "Installing the product on eight of my 12 malware-infested test systems took some extra work," says Neil J. Rubenking at PCMag.com. On three of those computers, the Rescue CD provided with the software did the job (albeit slowly). But on one system, Bitdefender's preinstall scan damaged crucial files, "making it unbootable." After some back-and-forth with Bitdefender tech support, Rubenking did get the system running again.
Very easy, but pay attention to options to avoid end-of-the-year surprises. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus (2015) is easy to set up and use. Tom's Guide reports that the initial set-up is a tad on the long side, but that's because the software scans for malware before installation. If your computer is already infected, things might not go smoothly, and we saw some reports of technical support that can be tough to get hold of; business customers get a telephone number to reach out to, but home users are directed to email for help. User reviews are scarce thus far for the 2015 edition, and what's available looks a bit dreadful at first glance, but some of that feedback is a result of users not deselecting an auto-renew option and being hit with a hefty bill they were not expecting at the end of the one year license, so that's something to watch out for. We've seen conflicting reports regarding whether or not users have successfully appealed to the company and received refunds if their BidDefender product is unintentionally auto-renewed.
Identity theft protection, social media privacy and more. The 2015 edition of Bitdefender Antivirus Plus goes way beyond virus protection, experts say. It not only defends your computer against malware, viruses, worms and Trojans, it also protects against identity theft, phishing and USB-source threats. It protects your privacy on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, makes sure your online payments are secure, and constantly monitors your credit report. If you elect to operate in the software's Autopilot mode, almost everything happens automatically and in the background, with no annoying pop-ups. You won't get a firewall or parental controls, though -- for those, you'll have to step up to one of Bitdefender's Internet security suites.
High scores in tests. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus (2015) holds its own against competitors in test after test. It's one of only two antivirus products to earn Advanced+ certification in all 2014 tests at AV-Comparatives.org. It gets perfect scores in performance and protection from AV-Test.org, but handful of false positive alerts (though no more than what's average with most security software) is enough to dock BitDefender a half point when it comes to usability. It earns Editors' Choice awards at PCMag.com and Tom's Guide. User reviews are, quite frankly, not terrific. However, the current version of BitDefender has only a little feedback, and much of what's available is dragged down over the aforementioned auto-renewal issue.
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus Reviews
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus wins an Editors' Choice award here. Although it doesn't ace every one of this site's tests, Neil J. Rubenking is impressed with many aspects of protection, the software's performance in third-party tests, and it's abundance of features.
Review: Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2015, Neil J. Rubenking, July 16, 2014
The 2015 edition of BitDefender Antivirus Plus earns an Editors' Choice award at Tom's Guide as well. "The impressive range of features, combined with a slick, user-friendly interface and top-notch malware protection, makes Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2015 our top pick for entry-level antivirus software in 2015," Jill Scharr says.
Review: Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2015 Review: Best All-Around Security, Jill Scharr, Dec. 23, 2014
This independent IT security institute tests many antivirus programs on various platforms. In testing on Windows 8, BitDefender's antivirus engine gets top grades in protection and performance (not slowing down the computer). It does generate a few false positives in one test run, however, and that costs it a half-point overall in usability. Elsewhere, in Nov./Dec. 2014 testing on Windows 7, it earns perfect scores in performance and usability, but loses a half point on protection by missing a couple of zero-day infections in one run (though it still outperforms the industry average in that regard).
Review: Bitdefender Internet Security, Editors of AV-Test.org, October 2014
This independent lab tests antivirus programs in several areas -- file detection, anti-phishing, impact on system performance and more. Bitdefender is one of only two antivirus products to earn the highest possible rating, Advanced+, in all tests run in 2014.
Review: List of Awards by Vendor -- BitDefender, Editors of AV-Comparatives.org, As of January 2015
5. Virus Bulletin
Virus Bulletin is an independent testing lab that certifies security products for a variety of operating systems. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus has earned VB100 certification for every operating system including Linux. You need to subscribe to Virus Bulletin to see the very latest detailed testing results, however.
Review: VB100 Results Overview: Bitdefender, Editors of Virus Bulletin, As of January 2015
6. Dennis Technology Labs
The testing at Dennis Technology Labs attempts to replicate conditions that typical users might experience in evaluating antivirus products. BitDefender Internet security is competitive with the majority of products tested in the lab's latest run and earns a second-tier AA rating.
Review: Home Anti-Virus Protection, Editors of Dennis Technology Labs, Oct-Dec 2014
Reviews for BitDefender Antivirus Plus are neither plentiful nor particularly positive here. That said, many negative comments center on the vendor's auto-renewal policies. One initially unhappy user updates his review to 5 stars and details the steps he took to work around technical support that was slow to come to his assistance. These reviews are for the single PC license. Other versions, including the 3-PC license, draw fewer comments but similar ratings.
Review: Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2015 - 1 PC, 1 year [Download], Contributors to Amazon.com, As of January 2015