PROS / Bitdefender Internet Security dominates performance and usability test results at independent software testing labs.
CONS / This software doesn't include online backup capabilities.
VERDICT / Bitdefender is the best internet security suite in our review, protecting against known and unknown malware without slowing your computer.
Bitdefender Internet Security earns the highest marks in tests at AV-Test, a respected software testing lab. Winner of our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award for best internet security software, the Bitdefender security suite includes all of the features in Bitdefender Antivirus plus a few more that make it an all-around good product for securing your computer from a multitude of threats.
The product rankings in our internet security reviews defer to tests results from AV-Test, because the methodologies are clear and the results are fair and comprehensible. Further, AV-Test is recognized as the international authority for antivirus protection tests. Bitdefender Internet Security produced remarkably competitive results during Windows 10 testing in March and April of 2016. It also fared well in tests on Windows 8 and Windows 7, also conducted in 2016. In these tests, the lab installed a couple dozen competing products and set them to update themselves automatically and check with their threat databases in the cloud periodically. The three parts of the tests measured effectiveness at protection against malware, effect on the host machine's performance, and usability in terms of how accurately the software diagnosed malicious and safe files.
Bitdefender detected all of the 164 malware samples, as opposed to the 97 percent industry average. It also correctly identified and protected against over 22,000 new malware threats that hadn't yet been added to online malware databases. This means Bitdefender protects against both known and unknown threats much better than the industry average.
Performance tests measured whether the internet security suites slow your computer while you surf the web, install applications and copy files. AV-Test results show that Bitdefender has less impact on computer systems than the industry average, for both standard and high-end PCs.
The usability tests measured how well the products tell the difference between safe and threatening files and resist falsely alerting and blocking good content. With over 1.2 million different test files, Bitdefender blocked the industry average of only three legitimate programs, earning the highest possible score.
Detection & Removal Tools
The feature list for Bitdefender Internet Security meets or exceeds what is typical in the computer protection industry. In addition to protecting against malware and phishing attacks, it alerts you to threats that might arrive on social networks. It scans removable media, such as USB drives you plug in, to block any threats that attempt that route. It senses when you are working, playing games or watching video and throttles back its communications so as not to bother you with pop-ups or notices.
To go beyond basic antivirus protection, Bitdefender Internet Security includes three features: a firewall, cloud antispam and parental control. A second firewall in addition to the one Microsoft includes with Windows 10 provides a double layer of protection against malware threats.
Cloud antispam means that whenever any of the half-billion Bitdefender installations registers a spam attack, the Bitdefender defense cloud becomes aware of it and then quickly prevents the majority of its users from receiving the same attack. The result is that you will not receive a flood of unwanted emails. Parental controls give you ways to maintain your children's online safety by blocking content that you don't want them to see, controlling the times that they can surf the web and monitoring their behavior online, including Facebook behavior.
The only feature we looked for that Bitdefender Internet Security doesn't include is the ability to back up your computer information online in case you need to reinstall files in the event of an internet attack. However, you can create a bootable rescue CD that lets you manually boot and rescue your computer after a virus attack.
Bitdefender Premium Security Suite
Bitdefender excels in all areas for premium security suites. It includes all the important tools and functions we looked for, including a virtual keyboard and file shredder. It comes standard with three licenses you can use to protect multiple devices, including cell phones and tablets in addition to your home computer.
One important feature it includes is online backup. This lets you automatically back up files and applications to Bitdefender's secure cloud. This means if your computer is compromised, you can restore your device to where it was prior to the attack. This is a step up from a rescue CD that ends up dated, with current files unsaved, when you restore your computer.
The virtual keyboard helps keep your passwords safe as you type them online to access email, online banking and other important sites. To further protect them, the password manager gives you a place for you to store your passwords on your desktop in case you forget them. Both of these tools have extra securities that prohibit hackers from finding and swiping them, as passwords are key information for identity theft. The file shredder protects your computer from malicious files by completely eliminating them rather than simply isolating them.
Help & Support
Sometimes it is helpful to connect with tech support when installing and using computer protection software. Bitdefender has 24/7 live support available so you can connect with someone whenever you need it. Telephone and live chat are both available at all times, including holidays and weekends. Email support is also available. Bitdefender has a healthy knowledgebase on its website to help you find answers to simple and common questions if you'd like to handle the problem on your own.
Bitdefender has free online virus scanners and removal tools so you can try out its products prior to purchasing. This is especially helpful if you have an older machine that needs periodic threat removal but may not support a full internet security suite.
Bitdefender Internet Security is the best internet security suite because it scored perfectly on independent tests for protection, performance and usability. It includes cloud antispam to reduce email spam attacks, and its parental controls provide you with considerable methods to maintain your children's safety. Though it doesn't provide online backup services, you can create a bootable rescue CD to restore your computer in the event an internet attack does occur.