Do you need the maximum of security protection for your computer? Search no more because you’re in the right place. After we having tested more than ten antivirus products, we’ve found that the latest version of BitDefender is the best security software of 2021.
Launched in 2001, BitDefender is a Romanian internet security software corporation with offices in more than 100 countries. BitDefender Antivirus has been launched as a re-branding for AntiVirus eXpert (AVX), an Internet Security software produced by SOFTWIN. AVX was one of the first security solutions which used behavior-based blocking technology. With a lot of revolutionary products (like BitDefender Box, for example) this Romanian company is nowadays one of the biggest security corporations in the world.
We downloaded and tested the latest version of BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2021 and below you’ll read how we performed the tests and our review conclusion.
1. System requirements and installation
As other important antivirus applications, BitDefender needs a few computer requirements for installation. From Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (KB976932) to Windows 8, 8.1 and Windows 10, all the new Microsoft operating systems are compatible.
Notice that BitDefender 2021 can’t be installed on Windows XP or Windows Vista-powered machines. If you need to install a reliable antivirus on your Windows XP or Windows Vista, the best option is to download and install Bitdefender Security for XP & Vista, a product which offers support for both operating systems mentioned. You can download and test that version for free, as a trial, directly from the official site. Notice that you need at least Windows XP Service Pack 3 (KB936929), or Vista Service Pack 2 (KB948465) installed, to run this security suite.
Another solution to protect your Windows XP and Vista machines is to use Kaspersky antivirus, previously reviewed by our team, here.
BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2021 is also compatible with Mac and Android. If you own a Mac, the operating system should be at least OS X Mavericks ( version 10.9.5). Other compatible Mac operating systems are OS X Yosemite (at least 10.10), OS X El Capitan (at least 10.11) and the latest MacOS Sierra (version 10.12).
The mobile version is called BitDefender Mobile Security. You need to have a device running at least Android 3.0 Honeycomb to install and use BitDefender. Notice also that the malware scanning needs an active Internet connection. The .apk version is available for download, from Google Play Store.
We started the installation procedure on a few Windows based machines, to see how it looks and we’ve been impressed how fast the install process was. The first difference between BitDefender and its main competitors is that the installation kit is smaller, but the rest of the files are downloaded during of the installation process.
An interesting feature is that you can run a system scan for free during install, while some files are still downloaded from the official website.
This task is optional, but we advise you to activate this feature when installing BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2021.
The computer should also run at least Microsoft Explorer 10 to be able to activate BitDefender 2021. Here’s a screenshot of what we got when the installation process was finished.
“Your browser is not supported” is the message provided by BitDefender 2021 when we tested its installation on a machine running Internet Explorer 9. After the update, the activation screen appeared, and we were able to activate it.
Notice that you’ll need to have an online BitDefender account to be able to activate it on your computer. After activation, the license is automatically added to computer, based on the subscription plan you have active.
Both BitDefender 2020 and 2021 can be configured in a few predefined modes, or its settings can be manually adjusted. The main preset modes are:
- the autopilot mode
- the work profile;
- the movie mode;
- the game profile;
- the public WiFi module;
- the battery mode profile;
- the paranoid way;
Each of them can be activated, configured and adapted based on your requirements or your computer hardware.
The latest version of Bitdefender is impressive. Bitdefender Plus 2021 includes features unseen in other antivirus applications. Some of them are available only in more expensive security suites; other are unavailable on the applications we’ve tested for our site.
The main features of Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2021 are:
- File protection antivirus;
- Web scanner;
- Ransomware protection;
- Applications scanner;
- Vulnerabilities scanner;
- WiFi security advisor;
File protection antivirus
We tested the speed of reaction BitDefender antivirus to see how fast it is and the how the computer is affected when a full scan is performed.
For this review, we used the same methods as for the others antivirus software tested by our team: the EICAR file method and a controlled environment where we released multiple malware applications, downloaded from a database.
The reaction speed is amazing: BitDefender offers a fast response when a virus or a malware is detected.
The scanning report looks like very similar to the screenshot below if the computer is uninfected.
We also checked the results provided by BitDefender in the tests performed by AVTest, AVComparatives, and VirusBulletin. All these independent laboratories agree: the detection rate is extremely high and the number of false positive alarms is very low.
The results obtained were even better than those obtained from Kaspersky’s tests, which was a real surprise.
The web scanner module
The web antivirus is another positive point of BitDefender. The module is automatically integrated into the browser and protects against unwanted malware, viruses or phishing. The module is compatible with the main browsers: Chrome, Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.
Its protection includes:
- SSL scanning;
- Protection against fraud;
- Search Advisor;
- Protection against phishing attempts;
The protection is integrated into the browser when is started the first time after BitDefender installation. The extension may be activated or not and is not installed without your confirmation.
If you want to visit infected sites, BitDefender alerts you. The module is very configurable and can be setup to white-list sites, based on user preferences. Make sure you know what you are doing because BitDefender will not show you warnings about the eventuality of an infection.
One of the most important features of BitDefender is its anti ransomware protection. The ransomware is a type of web threat characterized by a targeted attack. The files of the infected computer are encrypted, and the attacker asks for money to offer the access to the virtually blocked data. Because the encryption is almost all the time unbreakable, the computer owner has two options, to pay the ransom or not and lose the files forever.
We know companies which have been forced to pay thousands of dollars to unlock their necessary files after ransom attacks.
BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2021 comes with an interesting approach, based on prevention. After installation, you will be asked if you want to protect the important files against ransomware attacks.
Basically, BitDefender keeps a copy of your critical data in a private location, which can’t be touched by a ransomware attack. In the event of an infection, the protected files are safe, and you will not be forced to pay its ransom.
The ransomware scanner also blocks any potentially unsafe application that attempts to modify the files protected.
This module scans the installed applications to find if any dangerous file is running on your machine. BitDefender Antivirus checks the integrity of the installed apps and warns computer owners when something unusual appears.
The applications scanner can be configured to allow some potentially dangerous scripts to run on the machine. You need to make sure what you’re doing if you want to keep your computer clean.
Another interesting feature is the vulnerability scanner. It helps computers owners find the main risks of a computer in a few minutes. The scanning may reveal problems about potential issues like missing critical operating system updates, weak passwords or missing updates for applications. The risk level is red marked and users are allowed to fix the problems directly from BitDefender’s interface.
The vulnerability scanner can be configured to search only for specific types of vulnerabilities. For example, you can ignore the missing Windows updates. A regular in-depth report looks like in the screenshot below.
WiFi security advisor
BitDefender Antivirus 2021 includes a newly introduced feature, which allows you to find the weakness of your WiFi network. Based on its suggestions, it’s best to change your router password or modify the configuration of your computer, to prevent any hacker’s attacks.
The feature is also extremely useful if you need to connect to a mobile hotspot. Usually, hackers use free WiFi networks to steal data from the devices connected “for free” to their mobile router. If you have this module active, BitDefender will show you the most secure wireless network.
3. Other functionalities
BitDefender Antivirus 2021 comes with a series of additional features, many of them unseen on the competitors. Below we’ll show you functionalities and will describe in depth their role, one by one. The additional features of BitDefender Antivirus Plus:
- File Shredder
- Hosts file scanner
- Security Widget
- Password manager and Wallet
- Password protection settings
The file shredder
The file shredder is a functionality which allows you to permanently delete a file or a folder with its entire content. If the files may be usually recovered with various recovery applications, the BitDefender file shredder makes this impossible.
The file for deletion is manually added into the shredder then BitDefender starts the removal process. The process is performed in two stages, in the former the file is deleted, and in the latter, the place where the file was located is overwritten multiple times.
After this procedure, you can make sure the deleted files can’t be recovered. The module is useful when the same computer is shared among multiple users, and one of them needs to remove any trace of his activity.
Make sure you want to permanently delete the files chosen for deletion before start using the file shredder. After deletion, there is no way to retrieve them.
Hosts file scanner
Are you asking what the hosts file is? If you’re not a computer geek, probably you’ll never heard about the hosts’ file. This file is useful for developers or the people who want to restrict the access to some various sites. It can also be used to block some applications to communicate with their upgrading servers or to simulate the access to a site, even if you don’t access it in reality.
Hackers are likely to use this potential vulnerability. Let’s presume they attack your computer and change the hosts file. In this scenario, the hacker may add a few banks websites or other important financial companies in the hosts file. Based on this, the user could think he visits his bank account, but in reality, the page displayed in his browser is a clone of the site, used by the hacker to steal his data. Remember that you can be fooled with ease because in the browser is displayed the correct website address.
BitDefender Antivirus comes with an interesting approach: the hosts file is scanned for any unusual changes. If something weird is detected, the user is notified and the hosts file is replaced with the default one. Notice that you need to activate this feature from Settings > Advanced > Scan hosts file if you want to benefit from this kind of protection.
The security widget is a small module which displays the computer’s health and the level of protection in any place of the screen you need. It’s useful if you perform a full scan and you want to see the status of the scanning or if you need to monitor its activity.
Password manager and wallet
We know it’s difficult to memorize multiple passwords, especially when you have a lot of accounts on various applications or websites. If you’re in this situation, this is the moment when Bitdefender enter into the scene. Its new “Password Manager” feature is helpful if you need to remember and use safely multiple passwords.
With its help, you can automatically login into any predefined application or website. The fields are automatically filled with the previously saved credentials. The Password Manager is also helpful if you need to keep safe multiple license credentials of your WiFi password,
Another interesting feature of Password Manager module is its ability to import existing databases. By using this feature, you’ll make sure you won’t lose your credentials after a fresh Windows install, for example.
In this scenario, you can import the Wallet database. After import all your credentials from the wallet will be ready to use on your new machine.
The Wallet also comes as an extension for Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer. Once activated, the Wallet will help you by filling the password fields with your data, without your intervention.
If you use this feature, make sure you have somewhere a safe copy of your wallet, to prevent any data loss. Bitdefender Antivirus 2021 is very safe, but it can’t help you if the system suddenly crashes.
The number of online payments has increased at the same rate as the number of phishing attempts. As long as a computer is connected to the Internet, its security becomes a problem.
SafePay is a module developed with user safety in mind. We tested it and we were impressed. SafePay is activated when you visit the website of a financial company or when you want to make a payment. BitDefender asks the user if he would like to make the payment using its secured module. After confirmation, a window similar to a web browser is open, and you can perform the payment.
Once activated, Safepay module protects the computer against keyloggers and rootkits. We were unable to make a screenshot when using it, which is extremely useful if your security is extremely important for you. This feature means that also the hackers fail to steal the data displayed on computer’s screen.
BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2021 includes a feature which can prevent any intervention to its settings. The system is simple but very efficient: once the settings decided, you can add a password to block any additional changes.
This feature is useful when a computer is shared by multiple users, and you need to make sure that one of them doesn’t stop the antivirus. For any changes request, BitDefender asks the password. Make sure you don’t forget the chosen password if you decide to use this feature.
After a week of usage, BitDefender starts to display weekly security report, similar with the one from the screenshot below. An events timeline shows the daily activity and the number of fixed issues.
4. Loaded resources
One of the most important things, when you choose a security solution, is the fingerprint to the system’s speed. If you have an old computer, an antivirus eager for resources could slow it down when it runs in the background. The impact on computer resources is the main reason because we have always tested the security solutions reviewed for our site.
We’ve installed BitDefender on various machines, with different hardware configurations. The fingerprint of this version of Bitdefender is unnoticeable: we’ve successfully run it on computers with only 1GB of RAM installed, with almost no effect on computer’s speed.
By using BitDefender Antivirus, you’ll benefit from a huge database with answers offered for a various range of security questions. The database is accessible directly from its interface, is very simple to use and built based on the most frequent questions received from their users.
The answers are sorted and you can browse through them until you find what you need. They also offer access to a great forum, where you can find expert answers to your questions.
If you still have problems and you don’t know how to solve them, BitDefender’s support team will help you solve your issues. The entire section is divided into two distinct areas: Consumer and Business. The consumer section is also divided into multiple sections, based on their products: BitDefender Antivirus, Internet Security and Total Security 2021.
We tested the speed of the support team, to see how the clients are treated and how their problems are solved. If we already decided that BitDefender Antivirus Plus is the best protection software in 2021, we should admit that their support is simply amazing.
The response time is short, the personnel is kind, and their answers are presented in a very professional manner. I was amazed to see that how the staff reacted when I started to ask difficult security problems. They are simply excellent, professional and you can base on their support at any hour.
Overall, the new BitDefender 2021 comes with a great support team behind. If you decide to buy it, you will also be amazed by the offered support.
6. Value for money
BitDefender offers a fantastic list of features at an incredible price. By choosing the protection provided by this antivirus, you will benefit from a robust security solution and excellent support team.
The latest version of BitDefender received multiple awards from the biggest antivirus testing authorities. From VirusBulletin to AVTest and AVComparatives, the list of prizes and certifications is impressive. The latest version of BitDefender Antivirus Plus is worldwide recognized as one of the stronger security solutions.
8. Associated products
BitDefender also provides a superior application: Total Security Multi-Device 2021. You can upgrade your antivirus directly through its interface. You’ll benefit from a few additional features: antispam filter, startup optimizer, an anti-theft solution and a very configurable firewall.
On this page you’ll find an in-depth BitDefender Total Security 2021 review and a comparison between this solution and other Internet Security suites.
9. Pros and cons
- Minimal impact on computer’s resources
- Fast and easy to use interface
- Excellent detection rate
- Low number of fake positive alerts
- Multiple awards from the biggest antivirus testing authorities
- Security features unseen on competitors
- Impressive anti-ransomware protection
- A very good price
- Internet Explorer is required for activation
10. Review conclusions
The new BitDefender Antivirus 2021 comes with a great list of features and and awesome support. It was a real pleasure to test and review such a product. After a lot of tests and in-depth analysis, we’re sure that this version of BitDefender is the best antivirus of the year. You would make no mistake if you chose it for your computer’s protection.
Our rating: 9.9/10
Compatibility: Windows 7 (SP 1), 8, 8.1 and 10
Price: $29.98 / 3 devices
The number of ransomware-type cyber threats has increased over 15 times in the 2015-2017 period. Using the latest Bitdefender Antivirus you will enjoy top protection against hackers. Make sure you buy it before it’s too late.
At this moment BitDefender offers a great deal: with only $39.99, you can purchase a license active for three computers. Even without a sales coupon, the price for one year license is only $13.3 per machine, in case you buy a package with licenses for three PCs.
You can also choose BitDefender Total Security with support for Mac, Windows, Android and iOS for only $39.98 (licenses for five devices) or their Internet Security solution, for only $34.99 (three devices).
With this price and these features, Bitdefender’s value for money can’t be beaten by its competitors.
Updated: January 06, 2021