We place great importance on putting our top picks of the best antivirus software and providers to the test.
This means that we conduct our own hands-on tests in different areas to investigate how well each of the vendors perform in tasks such as malware detection, malware removal, anti-phishing protection, and so on.
This video presents the hands-on malware protection test our team at FatSecurity.com conducted on Bitdefender Total Security 2017.
Update: This video puts Bitdefender Total Security 2017 to the test. As the previous videos demonstrate, Bitdefender remains at the top of its game with its malware detection capabilities.
In this test I am testing the malware detection capabilities on dormant malware, and NOT the detection/removal abilities on active malicious files.
Note: We test the latest version of the software that usually has all the extra features, as in the case of Bitdefender Total Security 2017. However, the test results apply to the basic Bitdefender Antivirus 2017 because all Bitdefender's products have the same core antivirus engine.
To keep all the tests consistent, our team uses the same dedicated standalone PC on a clean Windows 10 OS.
As a reference, you can check out our Youtube Bitdefender playlist to compare the test results over the years.
Before I talk about the details of the test, it is important for viewers to understand what malware is.
Malware is the umbrella term for malicious software or files that a user executes on his/her PC, tablet, or smartphone.
It ranges from simple viruses, to worms, Trojan horses, and the big one of today - ransomware.
What happens is that the malware runs in the background without the victim's knowledge, at least in the beginning, in order to steal information, use resources, or encrypt files.
A unsuspecting target will open an email with a malicious file or open an IM like Skype or Facebook with a link which leads to infected file. These emails or messages can come from one of your contacts or from somebody you don't know at all.
In order to detect malware, I take a folder with malicious files and compare them to a file signature database.
In this example I used a folder which contains 1000 “in the wild” infected files which I collected by using several monitoring systems (or honeypot servers) that collect viruses on a daily basis to keep the folder up to date.
Each file is represented by a MD5 mathematical algorithm to a number.
What I do is I choose a file and run an MD5 calculation on it to generate a string of numbers and letters, which is a one-of-its-kind MD5 hash (signature).
I then use a very large virus database to scan this signature, for example Virus Total.
Usually, different antivirus vendors can name the same malware differently and by using the MD5 hash you get information like the file type, file size, and when the file was first detected.
Antivirus companies maintain databases of MD5 signatures so that when the software is updated, the signatures are updated as well.
Before the hands-on test I take a folder with recent malware as well as a Windows installation without any antivirus software so that nothing can be detected or deleted.
This is when I install the latest version of Bitdefender.
Note: I changed the configuration of the software so that it will delete any detected malware and ran an online update to keep the signature database up to date.
The installations starts and once it is finished I open the panel to make sure that everything was installed properly.
This next step is very significant: You need to press the update button on the bottom right-hand corner to update the signature database before you can conduct any test!
Press this Update button and then the process is pretty simple depending on your Internet connection and how up to date the database already is.
I open the folder that has 1000 files and run a Bitdefender scan on it.
Once the initial scan is done I have several options.
I chose the delete option to get rid of the suspected malware. The number of files in the folder starts to decrease.
My hope is that the folder goes down to zero files, but that is left for the ideal world. No antivirus software can detect every single malware file as some are new and viruses are added to the database on a daily basis.
When the process of deletion is completed Bitdefender's console will indicate as such.
This gives Bitdefender a malware protection score of 95%.
Bitdefender is a very good antivirus software for malware protection with a high success rate of detecting malware and removing it from a system.
This is an excellent score given that no antivirus software can detect all the new and different types of malware out there.
I say Bitdefender is one of the best out there!
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