BitDefender Total Security 2011
BitDefender Total Security 2011 was the only software in this round-up that’s not a dedicated parental control product. BitDefender is a “security suite” offering anti-virus, firewalling, privacy controls, etc. Security suites are a mixed blessing for parents – on the positive side, they offer tighter security and better privacy features, as well as better protection from sites that deliver malware. On the negative side, security suites sometimes have poorer quality filtering and weak manageability. So like other suites, BitDefender does offer strong security and privacy protections, but its heuristic filtering isn’t as accurate as competitors, and it doesn’t have the manageability of other products. BitDefender does offer a surprisingly strong set of features parents will like, so if they don’t mind the overblocking, BitDefender is a solid product.
Because BitDefender is a security suite with a lot features, set up is complex. BitDefender’s parental controls screen offers a simple group of options for category selection, time settings, and monitoring reports. Monitoring reports don’t offer the more detailed options of other products. Setting up automatic alerts required entering an e-mail password, which shouldn’t be necessary to send e-mail notifications.
BitDefender blocked 99 percent of the pornography sites, but the aggressive use of heuristics comes at a price – nearly half of the sexual health sites were blocked. BitDefender’s heuristics didn’t really work on the violent sites, blocking just 27 percent of them.
As one would expect from a security product, BitDefender’s security was very strong. BitDefender handled everything in the test set – search engine caches, translators, proxies, circumvention clients, and attempts to halt the system. Like Net Nanny, BitDefender handles proxies by applying heuristics to the results – blocking most everything from getting through.
BitDefender’s strong set of features came as a pleasant surprise. BitDefender offers some features many parental control products don’t have, such as remote management; strong options for blocking the display of private information; and detailed control over applications. BitDefender also features standard parental control features like multiple profiles, time management, contact management, and automatic alerts.