Bitdefender Internet Security 2024: Review Summary
Bitdefender is ranked #2 of 28 antivirus brands.
Bitdefender Internet Security is one of the best antivirus of 2024. It has perfect anti-malware protection, no impact on the speed of your PC, several security features, and an excellent price.
Buy it if you want outstanding protection for up to 3 PCs. But keep in mind that you will get anti-malware, anti-phishing, a firewall, and a few bonus features. Not the password manager or VPN.
Alternatively, you could consider Norton Antivirus Plus. Norton’s entry-level antivirus includes anti-malware, anti-phishing, a firewall, a password manager, and 2 GB of cloud storage.
- Malware protection: 100%. Bitdefender detected and removed each of the 1,200 malware samples in our test.
- Speed impact: 100%. Bitdefender’s anti-malware engine is lightweight and did not slow down our test PC.
- Features: 80%. Bitdefender Internet Security includes anti-malware, anti-phishing, and a firewall, but it misses a password manager and a VPN.
- Price: 100%. Although Bitdefender Internet Security misses a few features, it has an excellent price, which gives it good value for money.
Thanks to the 30-day return policy, you can try it risk-free.
|Ranking||#2 of 28|
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Bitdefender Internet Security 2024: Full Review
Bitdefender is ranked #2 of the 28 best antivirus of 2024.
We put Bitdefender through its paces and were impressed. It uses cloud tech and machine learning to catch bad software. You also get a fast VPN and tools to keep your computer running smoothly. Parents will like the top-notch controls for keeping kids safe online.
Bitdefender has free options for both Windows and Mac. For extra features, they offer four paid plans. ‘Antivirus Plus’ is good for up to 3 Windows PCs. ‘Internet Security’ is great for families and adds parental controls. ‘Total Security’ works on up to 5 devices of different types—like Macs and Android phones. ‘Premium Security’ gives you everything, plus an unlimited VPN. All plans come with a 30-day money-back promise.
If you want strong internet safety without breaking the bank, Bitdefender is a solid pick.
We tested Bitdefender’s malware tools and found them to be both powerful and easy on your computer’s resources. It uses cloud tech to scan, so your computer won’t slow down. The scans are detailed and catch all sorts of bad stuff like viruses and spyware.
There are four scan types:
- Quick Scan checks running stuff.
- System Scan looks at everything.
- Custom Scan lets you pick what to check.
- Vulnerability Scan looks for weak spots in your settings.
In our tests, Bitdefender found and removed all hidden malware. The full scan took less than an hour and didn’t slow down the computer, which is better than many rivals like McAfee. You can also schedule scans, though only custom ones.
For real-time protection, Bitdefender Shield is ace. It scans files and emails as soon as you open them. It caught all malware in our live tests, from tricky downloads to network attacks. While other brands like Norton do well in real-time scans, Bitdefender lets you tweak the settings more.
So, if you want strong, real-time protection that won’t bog down your system, Bitdefender should be high on your list.
We tested Bitdefender’s anti-phishing features and they’re top-notch. It checks websites against a huge list of known bad sites and stops you from visiting them. In our tests, it blocked all phishing sites we tried, outperforming browsers like Chrome and Firefox as well as other antiviruses like Panda and Kaspersky.
What’s great is that Bitdefender tells you why it blocked a site and lets you whitelist sites easily. This is much simpler than with some rivals like Norton, where you have to dig into settings. Just be sure you only whitelist sites you know are safe.
Bitdefender also screens search results and even checks encrypted websites for dangers. If you’re looking for a tool that makes web surfing safer, Bitdefender excels in this area.
We gave Bitdefender’s firewall a good workout and found it to be both flexible and effective. It watches data coming in and going out, making sure hackers can’t get in. This firewall goes beyond what Windows and Mac offer by default.
Our tests showed that Bitdefender blocked most fake attacks we threw at it. It also hid our computer’s details from an online port scanner. In simple terms, it made our computer a tough target for hackers.
You can set the firewall to work in three ways:
- Automatic: Bitdefender decides what to allow or block.
- Allow: All apps can connect to the internet.
- Block: No apps can go online.
We like the ‘Automatic’ setting best, as it balances safety and usability. There’s also an ‘Alert’ mode that tells you each time an app wants to go online. This can be useful but got a bit annoying for us.
We found Stealth Mode didn’t work perfectly; it’s supposed to make your computer invisible on networks, but we could still print wirelessly and stream movies.
Despite this minor hiccup, Bitdefender’s firewall stands out for its blend of power and user-friendliness.
With Bitdefender Internet Security, the password manager comes as a 90-day trial. Upgrade to Bitdefender’s Premium Security for the full version.
We put Bitdefender’s password manager through its paces and found it to be a solid, if not groundbreaking, option. It covers the basics well—offering high-level encryption, unlimited storage, and a password generator. It syncs across devices and works with popular browsers, making it convenient for daily use.
While it doesn’t match dedicated managers like Dashlane in features—missing out on two-factor authentication and password sharing—it does come with a nifty ‘Security Report’. This report scans your stored passwords for weaknesses, which we found quite useful.
One area for improvement is its password generator, which maxes out at 32 characters. Competitors like LastPass offer up to 99.
If you’re already considering Bitdefender for security, this built-in password manager is a decent perk. It’s simple, straightforward, and works well for those who don’t need bells and whistles.
With Bitdefender Internet Security, the VPN comes with a 200 MB per day data limit. Upgrade to Bitdefender’s Premium Security for the complete version, or buy the VPN separately.
We tested Bitdefender’s VPN and found it to be a solid choice for basic needs like secure browsing and torrenting. Powered by Hotspot Shield, it uses robust 256-bit AES encryption and keeps a strict no-logs policy.
Where Bitdefender’s VPN excels is in speed. Our tests showed hardly any loss in connection speed, making it one of the fastest antivirus-bundled VPNs we’ve tried. However, it falters when it comes to streaming; platforms like Netflix easily detected our VPN and restricted access.
In short, if you’re not into heavy streaming but want an easy-to-use, secure VPN, Bitdefender’s Premium VPN is a worthy add-on to your security setup.
Other security features
We took Bitdefender’s suite of extra features for a spin and here’s what we found:
Parental Control: This feature works across multiple platforms and offers robust functionalities like setting device limits, blocking certain apps, and tracking location. The setup was fairly straightforward, and it effectively blocked restricted websites during our tests. However, unlike Norton, there’s no feature to allow your child to request access to specific sites.
Identity Theft Protection: Only available for US users, Bitdefender’s offering in this area is top-notch. It tracks up to 100 pieces of personal information and even offers an option to remove your data from data broker lists, a service also provided by Norton. Bitdefender also has a live credit monitoring feature, with two tiers of protection, offering peace of mind.
System Optimization: Bitdefender’s OneClick Optimizer is a simple tool for freeing up disk space. It managed to free up 1.2 GB on our test machine. The tool is straightforward, although it doesn’t offer the same level of detail or features as competitors like Avira.
Safepay Secure Web Browser: Designed for secure online transactions, Safepay offers several layers of protection like a virtual keyboard and a screenshot-blocker. While we found it slower in loading pages and not suitable for streaming, its security features worked flawlessly in our tests. It’s a useful tool if online security is a priority for you.
Webcam & Microphone Security: Bitdefender monitors access to your webcam and microphone, providing real-time notifications for any access attempts. You can customize permissions, granting access to trusted apps while blocking others. Norton offers similar features, but Bitdefender stands out among other competitors like McAfee, who lack these functionalities.
Ransomware Remediation: This feature is aimed at automatically securing your files if ransomware is detected. We conducted isolated ransomware tests, and while the feature successfully restored most files, a few weren’t recovered correctly. Still, it outperforms Malwarebytes in ransomware protection.
Profiles for Customized Experience: Bitdefender’s Profiles offer various modes like Work, Movie, and Game profiles to optimize PC performance. We switched between profiles while testing, and it notably improved our computer’s performance during tasks like graphic designing and streaming. Other antiviruses like Norton offer similar features, but Bitdefender’s range and ease of use stand out.
Anti-Theft Capabilities: This is another robust feature. Currently only for Windows and Android, Bitdefender’s anti-theft tools allow device tracking, remote locking, and even data wiping. Our tests found the feature incredibly accurate in location tracking and easy to set up. While it’s an excellent addition, we’d like to see support for Mac and iOS in the future.
Additional Utilities: Bitdefender offers Wi-Fi protection, anti-tracking, and a file shredder. The file shredder was particularly useful in securely deleting sensitive files from our system, a feature not commonly found in all antivirus solutions.
Bitdefender Mobile App: The Android app shines with features like antivirus scanning, web protection, and app lock. We especially liked the App Anomaly Detection, which constantly monitors app behavior for anything suspicious. The iOS app is less feature-rich but offers useful tools like web protection and scam alerts. Both apps performed well in our tests, particularly the Android app, which found and neutralized all malware samples we used.
Anti-theft & App Lock: Both Android and iOS apps include anti-theft features. We tested the anti-theft functionality and found it effective in locating, locking, and potentially wiping devices. The App Lock feature adds an extra layer of security by requiring a PIN or biometric verification to access locked apps.
Customer Support: Bitdefender offers a variety of support channels—live chat, email, phone, and an extensive knowledge base. We found the live chat and phone support to be quick and highly informative. However, email responses could be quicker. The community forum is another valuable resource for solving issues or getting expert advice.
Plans and pricing
In the table below are the core products with their features and prices.
The prices shown are from the USA. However, most brands have different prices (and currencies) in other regions. So visit the brand’s website to see the price in our country.
We tested Bitdefender’s various plans to help you pick the right one. Here’s a quick rundown:
- For Windows: Basic but strong malware protection. Misses advanced features like ransomware remediation.
- For Mac: On-demand scans only, no real-time protection. Good for existing threats.
Antivirus Plus: Windows-only, costs $14.99/year. Real-time protection, VPN with limited data, and a password manager. Lacks a firewall.
Internet Security: Windows-only, costs $24.99/year. Adds firewall and parental controls. Good value for Windows users but not for other platforms.
Total Security: Costs $39.98/year. Adds Mac and mobile support. Good for families or multiple devices. No unlimited VPN.
Premium Security: Costs $59.99/year. All features, including an unlimited VPN. Up to 10 devices. A bit pricey but worth it.
- GravityZone Premium: Starts at $49.99/year. Advanced features like risk analysis and Linux support. Good for big setups. Free trial available.
Every plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. So, you can try risk-free.
Test score comparison
Next to our own anti-malware tests, we analyze those by AV-Test. We’ve compared the results of the 10 most recent tests for Windows 10. The tests were performed by AV-Test, the German anti-malware test lab. They use three factors:
- Protection (1-6): Antivirus protection against malware attacks.
- Performance (1-6): System slowdown caused by the antivirus.
- Usability (1-6): Frequency of false alarms and disruptions.
We used their results, and this formula, to calculate the final score:
Final Score = 60% Protection + 20% Performance + 20% Usability.
Brands not listed in the table haven’t participated in the analysis by AV-Test. This is usually not a good sign. Because most reputable brands, except Panda, ESET, and Sophos, partake in the test.
We’ve compared the prices of the top antivirus products for Windows. To make it a fair comparison, we looked at what it would cost us, to protect a single Windows PC with the most essential features:
- Anti-phishing (web protection)
- Password manager
- Unlimited VPN (no data limit)
A few notes:
- Some brands are missing features, lowering their value for money.
- Prices are second-year prices in the USA, without first-year discounts.
- Prices are rounded up for readability (e.g., $99.99 becomes $100).
Brands have different prices outside the USA. See those on their website.
We’ve compared the user reviews of all antivirus brands. We’ve used the scores and review count of TrustPilot, a leading user review platform. However, take these results with a grain of salt, as some brands actively attempt to increase their ratings.
Personally, we are wary of exceptionally high scores. Especially those by brands such as TotalAV, known for aggressive marketing and sales tactics.
We consider scores between 4.0 and 4.5 good and realistic. Higher scores are dubious, and lower scores indicate that the brand might have a poor product or customer service. McAfee’s scores, for instance, are worrying.
Bitdefender is a key player in the global cybersecurity field, established in Romania in 2001. The company aims to be the most trusted source for cybersecurity solutions, offering products with high efficacy, speed, and ease of use. It serves a wide range of clients, from individual consumers to small and medium-sized businesses, as well as larger enterprises.
The company has a robust global presence with headquarters in Bucharest, Romania, and Santa Clara, California. It also has additional offices across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region. With over 1,600 employees, more than half of whom are specialized in research and development, Bitdefender emphasizes constant innovation. This focus has led to the issuance of 440 patents, particularly in core technologies like machine-learning algorithms for threat detection.
Bitdefender has built strong partnerships with over 20,000 qualified resellers and is available in 170 countries. They also maintain technology alliances with industry leaders like Citrix, VMware, and Microsoft.
The company has a track record of receiving industry recognition from various independent testing organizations and media outlets. Their solutions are well-regarded for effectiveness in threat prevention, detection, and response.
Beyond its business goals, Bitdefender is also committed to sustainability, producing annual reports to disclose their environmental and social responsibilities.
Overall, Bitdefender has evolved significantly since its early days. It originated as Softwin, a startup founded in post-communist Romania in 1990 that eventually transitioned into Bitdefender in 2001. The company has since reached many milestones, including a valuation of over $600 million in 2017 and launching a Formula One partnership with Scuderia Ferrari in 2022. With two decades of experience, Bitdefender stands as a global leader in cybersecurity solutions.
How we test antivirus software
Below we describe how we run our tests. For even more details, visit our blog posts on how we test antivirus software.
Anti-malware protection test
We analyze antivirus software’s capability to detect and eliminate known and unknown malware, using heuristic analysis for behavior monitoring.
We conduct in-house tests and analyze those from labs like AV-Test, SE Labs, and AV-Comparatives to determine the best malware protection.
Malware includes adware, keyloggers, ransomware, rootkits, spyware, trojans, viruses, worms, and more. Other cyber threats, usually not classified as malware, are (zero-day) exploits, hacks, identity theft, phishing attacks, scams, and social engineering.
False positives test
False positives occur when antivirus software misidentifies legitimate software, files, or websites as malicious. We rely on AV-Test’s large-scale analysis of false positives in its usability test to guide our evaluations.
System performance test
We measure the CPU load during antivirus software system scans and consider AV-Test’s performance results on the slowdown caused by antivirus software when opening websites and handling software.
We evaluate two-way firewalls that filter incoming and outgoing data and allow users to set rules to regulate data streams. We use the ShieldsUP! test to determine if the antivirus software blocks all ports.
Password manager test
We assess password managers’ ability to create, store, and autofill secure passwords, as well as additional features like two-factor authentication and biometric login.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) test
We evaluate built-in VPNs on their security, privacy, speed, compatibility with streaming services, unlimited data access, and support for peer-to-peer networks and torrent clients.
Parental control test
We examine parental control features, such as screen time rules, website/app blocking, and real-world location tracking. We test these features on a device and attempt to circumvent them, checking if the activity is accurately reported in the parental control admin.
Anti-phishing protection test
We evaluate antivirus browser extensions that block phishing sites by installing them and attempting to visit dangerous URLs.
Ransomware protection test
We assess security suites’ ability to prevent data encryption through exploit prevention and behavioral detection during ransomware attacks.
Bonus features test
We test any additional cybersecurity tools such as:
- Ad Blocker
- Dark web monitoring (identity protection)
- Email protection
- File encryption
- File shredder
- Gaming mode
- Microphone protection
- PC maintenance features
- Secure browser (hardened browser to protect your online banking)
- Secure cloud storage (cloud backup)
- Spam filter
- Startup optimizer
- Tune up tools
- Virtual keyboard
- Webcam protection
Ownership and reputation test
We analyze the trustworthiness of antivirus companies, especially concerning customer data. We read press releases, news articles, and privacy policies to determine their reputation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the most frequently asked questions.
Is Bitdefender a good antivirus program?
How do we test antivirus software?
We analyze the protection from malware, the performance impact on a PC, and the number of false positives. On top of that, we test various security features such as the firewall, password manager, VPN, and more.
Author: Tibor Moes
Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab