четверг, 12 декабря 2013 г.

An antivirus package is no longer enough to keep you safe online, apparently.  Even regular internet security suites are supposedly inadequate.  This year's security fashion is for uber-suites that provide every form of protection you could possibly imagine, and several that you really couldn't - and BitDefender Total Security 2011 is the latest comprehensive contender. The program name doesn't include the word "Total" for nothing; features include an antivirus engine, firewall, spam filter, parental controls, identity theft protection, vulnerability scanner, online backup account, encryption for both files and instant messaging accounts, secure file deletion, network management, PC cleanup, optimisation and more.   It all sounded very promising, so we fired up the setup program to take a closer look. The installation process took a while, and was a little more complex than we've seen with most of the competition.  So we were asked to set up a new (or log into an existing) BitDefender account, activate our online backup account, choose our preferred level of interface (Basic, Intermediate or Expert, depending on how much detail we wanted to see) and define a few other settings. This is probably a smart design decision, though.  If you didn't see up a BitDefender account now, for instance, you'd only have to figure out how and where to do it later: it's better and easier to get these setup details out of the way immediately.  Though if you need a speedy installation, that's possible too - most of these dialogs had a "skip" button allowing you to postpone your decision for now. And so, while the BitDefender Total Security 2011 setup process wasn't quick, it did leave the program fully configured, with all the usual admin work complete.  A reboot and we were ready to try it out for real. Dashboard The program displays its dashboard on launch, which contains various statistics on your PC's setup. It also alerts you to any current security problems, and these can be viewed and fixed in a couple of clicks. The complexity and power of the dashboard varies according to the interface level you selected earlier (Basic, Intermediate or Expert).  Novices can hide everything but the most essential functionality, experts can display every possible option up-front, or you can opt for a view that's somewhere in between: it's your call. While this sounds good in theory, it doesn't always work out well in practice.  Choosing Basic mode doesn't just hide options, for instance - it removes many altogether.  And so if, say, Game Mode doesn't work the way you'd like, you'll find no way of changing that.  You'll have to switch to Expert Mode to locate the necessary settings. The interface is also unclear, on occasion. Suppose you're a beginner, you click the Basic Mode "Security" button and select Game Mode: but nothing happens, no check mark on the menu to show whether it's on or off, no change at all. You're actually toggling Game Mode on and off when you select it, but unless you look at the system tray icon (which may be hidden in Windows 7) there's no way of telling that. We opted for Expert mode up-front, then, to get the clearest view of all the features open to us.  The Dashboard complained that our PC's security was uncertain as we hadn't yet fully scanned our system for threats, so we allowed the program to fix that, now, and it immediately went to work. Antivirus The BitDefender anvirus engine has a good reputation for accuracy.  The 2010 version was certified at the highest possible Advanced+ rating by independent testing labs AV-Comparatives in their most recent tests, where they noted the program had very few false positives. BitDefender Total Security 2011 seems very similar in our tests, correctly detecting all our trial threats, without pointing the finger at anything else. However, it did crash a couple of times. One message told us there had been a critical error; returning to our PC the next day, we found the overnight scan had crashed with another error.  After that all was fine, so maybe we were just unlucky, but antivirus protection really needs to be running all the time so it's still a concern. And there were occasional problems when it came to removing threats cleanly.  In one example, two rootkit files remained, and the program was unable to quarantine or delete them.  We were offered the option to rename the files, but the program reported that it couldn't do that, either (we're not sure why, they weren't protected). These particular remnants wouldn't have been able to do anything on their own, and so this failure didn't compromise our security in any way. Full on-demand scan speeds aren't great, either, notably slowing down our PC, but fortunately the program can be configured to launch scans when your PC is idle. If you return before they've finished then Total Security 2011 pauses automatically, so performance shouldn't be a significant issue. And if you need an on-demand scan, then the new QuickScan mode is a very fast alternative. This creates digital fingerprints of all running processes and critical system files, transmitting these (just the fingerprints, there's no privacy issues here) to a central BitDefender server for its verdict.  A complete QuickScan took only 34 seconds on our test PC, very acceptable indeed. Firewall The BitDefender Total Security 2011 firewall comes with a lengthy whitelist of known safe programs, which means you won't be asked questions about these when you try to go online.  If you've chosen to run the suite in Expert Mode then you will see annoying pop-ups explaining that the firewall has created a new rule for them, unfortunately, but at least these are easy to turn off. If you need to create rules yourself, then that's not a problem. You have access to an advanced rules engine that lets you configure exactly how you'd like network traffic to flow (or not). Too complicated?  If you've a firewall-related issue - you're not able to access a PC on your network since installing BitDefender Total Security 2011, for instance - then a Troubleshoot Wizard will walk you through the process of diagnosing and fixing the problem. We found the program to be particularly good at logging and displaying network and internet activity.  You're able to view processes with open connections, see how long these have been open, their destination IP address and port, the amount of data they've sent and received, and their current transmission speeds.  Which is useful both for security, and just spotting bandwidth hogs. And it also does an excellent job of protecting you from incoming attacks, correctly hiding you from hackers and neatly bypassing port scans. If you're a novice then the firewall shouldn't cause you too many hassles, then. But if you're an expert then it also delivers the configurability you need. Browsing protection BitDefender Total Security 2011 protects you when you're online via antiphishing modules for both IE and Firefox (they'll trap links in Yahoo! and Live Messenger, too). Search at Google, Yahoo! or Bing and you'll see new Safe Advisor icons next to every link on the list.  Green indicates that the site is safe, but a red exclamation mark means danger, and hovering a mouse cursor over the icon will conveniently display a tooltip that explains why. You're alerted to dangerous sites before you click the link, then.  And the system also steps in if you try to access a dubious page in some other way, such as clicking a link in an email, displaying a warning message that alerts you to potential danger. In our tests this generally worked very well, at least on IE, with BitDefender successfully blocking new phishing links some time before IE did so.  But if you find the program blocks a site that you're entirely sure is safe, then it's also smart enough to let you make the final decision, optionally adding the URL to a white list so you won't be hassled with these alerts again. We did spot a problem though. On our copy of IE8, the Safe Advisor icons were correctly drawn when we first performed a Google search.  But if we clicked a link, then chose the Back button, they didn't reappear.   You'd still be warned if you clicked a dangerous link, but it's annoying that these indicators aren't always present. Antispam Your spam-blocking needs are dealt with by what looks like a very reasonable filter. It integrates neatly with Outlook, Windows Mail, Outlook Express and Thunderbird, and works directly with POP3 traffic to cope with everything else. You get to select one of five different filtering levels, from "aggressive" to "permissive" (the default is Moderate).  A Friends list, to which recipients of your emails can automatically be added, helps ensure that legitimate messages won't be flagged as spam.   And there are plenty of advanced configuration options, some of which are by default set more harshly than the competition: emails written in Asian or Cyrillic characters would both be blocked by default, for instance. Despite all this, the initial "out of the box" detection performance wasn't great, with the filter blocking only around 76% of our test junk emails. Perhaps making the filter more aggressive would help?  Maybe, but it already incorrectly classified some 8% of our legitimate emails as spam, and turning up the heat would only make that worse. Still, the better news is that BitDefender Total Security 2011 only flagged commercial emails as spam, mostly newsletters; they were from legitimate senders, but none of them were essential.  100% of our important personal emails were classified correctly. And it's worth remembering that the system is set up to learn over time, improving accuracy, so these initial results ought to be the worst you see. It's not going to replace a dedicated commercial spam filter, then, but with a little careful configuration, BitDefender Total Security 2011 should be capable of keeping your Inbox fairly junk-free, without accidentally blocking anything important. Tune-Up Like many competitors, BitDefender Total Security 2011 includes a Tune-Up module that aims to speed up your PC.   But it's not exactly impressive. The Registry Cleaner found absolutely nothing it could delete, for instance (Registry Mechanic on the same PC reported 447 issues).  A weak hard drive cleaner wipes your temporary folders, IE and Firefox tracks only.   A Defrag tool appears to do nothing more than the Windows equivalent.  And the Duplicate File Finder might be useful, but it's slow - you'd be better off finding specialist freeware. This section does include a PC monitoring tool, though, and that's far more useful. This will display all the apps you've run over the last day, for example, along with their average RAM and CPU use.  And this is sortable, so one click reveals all your memory hogs.  (Top of the list on our PC: Adobe Reader. Time to switch to Foxit, maybe?) And if you hover the mouse cursor over, say, the average RAM figure, then you'll see a graph showing how its memory use has changed over the past hour. So if a particular app is causing performance problems, then, the monitor should help you pick it out - it could be a very useful tool. Features, features, features BitDefender Total Security 2011 contains more powerful Parental Controls than you normally see in a security suite.   You’re able to create profiles for each of your kids, block access to inappropriate sites, and limit general internet and PC use.   And new to this version is the ability to get reports on your kids' activities from any web-enabled device, and tweak settings, perhaps imposing new browsing limits that will apply until you get home. An Identity Control module works much as it does in other suites: enter some item of personal data, like a phone number, credit card number or address, and the program will detect and block any attempt to transfer this information over the network or internet. You also get a Vulnerability Scan, which warns you of weak passwords, missing Windows patches, and outdated versions of a few key apps (Adobe Reader, Firefox, Skype).  Useful, although Secunia PSI and tools like the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer do more. There's encryption for Yahoo! and Windows Live Messenger (but everyone taking part must be using BitDefender).  A Game Mode drops the annoying alerts when you're running full-screen apps.  And a laptop mode will pause demanding activities when you're running on battery power alone. And if you've installed BitDefender Total Security 2011 across your network (spending around ?10 more extends your licence from 1 to 3 PCs), then you can remotely carry out many of its functions from your main PC: check the security status of a network system, run scans, change parental control settings, and more. But perhaps best of the bonus tools is the backup program.  You can back up key folders, emails, application settings, the files and folders you specify, or your entire system; possible destinations include a local, external or network drive, CD or DVD, FTP server or online account (you get 2GB of space for free); and a full-strength backup application allows you to control backup type, versioning, compression, encryption, set speed limits, and more.  It's not some cut-down toy, this is better than many specialist backup apps.

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