Pros / BullGuard scans your computer for weak points where malware, hackers and other threats can sneak in.
Cons / Neither version of the program includes a password manager.
Verdict / BullGuard protects your computer better than the basic security features included with your operating system, but it does better when the parental controls are enabled. It also causes noticeable slowdown as it runs.
BullGuard Internet Security and BullGuard Premium Protection both had a little difficulty stopping malware during our in-house tests, scoring 85 percent. It does a good job at tagging search results that are dangerous and has wonderful parental controls. The biggest difference we saw between the internet security suite and the premium security software were the number of licenses available. BullGuard Premium also includes network protection that monitors all devices connected to your internet for threats, including smart appliances, baby monitors, thermostats and devices such as Amazon’s Echo or Google Home.
During our in-house tests of BullGuard, several threats – especially websites known to harbor malicious downloads, phishing schemes and links to viruses – were missed. However, we discovered that these threats were blocked when we activated BullGuard’s aggressive parental controls. This is because these sites were tagged for adults or mature audiences rather than appropriate for young children. But BullGuard also blocked news sites, religious pages and several online gaming sites, which aren’t necessarily dangerous for children, but still fall under the mature content filters.
Both BullGuard’s Internet Security and Premium Protection programs have all the malware protection tools we looked for. Both include spam filters and phishing detection. A personal firewall and vulnerability scanner are also included. We feel these are two of the most important malware protection features to have in addition to high detection scores. This is because these tools monitor weak spots in your system, like your internet connection and outdated software, where hackers and ransomware tend to exploit and enter your system.
This software has a gamer mode, but you need to enable it manually. This feature suspends virus scans and pop-up notifications while you play games or watch videos online. When the software is in gamer mode, it protects your computer against internet threats, but it doesn’t tax your system’s resources as heavily, so there is less lag. This is a helpful tool since without it BullGuard tends to use a lot of your computer’s resources, especially during virus scans, that can create some drag.
There are a couple of tools BullGuard’s programs don’t have. Neither has a password manager to help protect your identity and personal information online. Webcam monitoring and a VPN are also missing. These are included with our top pick if you need them.
This isn’t a difficult program to use. Most functions and tools are clearly marked and smartly placed so they are easy to find. The setup process is similar to other internet security programs. There is a slight challenge when your child needs access to a site the parental controls block. We needed to give permissions from the child’s device, and there wasn’t an option for us to keep these exceptions. This meant each time a child wanted to play a specific online game they had to come find us to enter our credentials. It became a hassle to repeat this every day.
BullGuard does a good job protecting your computer from malware threats if you have the parental controls enabled. It’s missing a few security features, such as a password manager and VPN, but the tools it has, including parental controls, a vulnerability scanner and a personal firewall, all are very effective. We noticed some lag on our computer while BullGuard ran in the background, with even more slowdown during virus scans; however, enabling the gamer mode helps this a bit.