The basic tasks of an antivirus application are straightforward. It must protect your personal computer and data live from attack by all types of malware, plus it should run a full system scan when you tell it to, or on a schedule. Most also make an effort to steer you away from malicious or deceptive websites. The 2018 edition of BullGuard Antivirus sticks to those basics, typically. It no longer includes the spam filter present in previous editions, but the BullGuard vulnerability scan now has the standalone antivirus, as does a brand new Game Booster component. It earned good scores in several independent lab tests, but some of the scores in our hands-on tests weren’t so great, plus it completely missed a nasty ransomware attack in testing.
At $29.95, an annual BullGuard subscription costs less than many competing products. Bitdefender, Kaspersky Anti-Virus, Norton, and Webroot all cost 10 dollars more. McAfee seems higher priced, at $59.99 per year, but a McAfee subscription allows you to install protection on every device you own, so it’s not truly comparable.
As noted, with this edition you lose the spam filter, but you do gain a new malware engine. BullGuard’s website touts the 2018 edition’s next generation anti-malware. It promises that “any malware it detects is locked down in quarantine and then neutralized before infection will take place,” and describes the engine as “a sentry who never sleeps, constantly on the alert for intruders.” As I’ll explain, I did not see evidence of this sentry’s tirelessness. Some malware samples were able to place executable files on the test system, then one ransomware sample completely took over.
A contemporary, attractive installer displays information regarding this system while it’s doing its job. Once it finishes, you create or sign in in your online BullGuard account. I enjoy the fact that it automatically downloads the most recent antivirus definitions, as opposed to setting that as being a task for the consumer.
BullGuard’s main window contains seven square panels, only the Bulldog Antivirus, Vulnerabilities, and Game Booster panels are enabled. One other four (Firewall, Backup, PC Tune-up, and Parental Control) require an upgrade to BullGuard’s full security suite. In a nice design touch, BullGuard does whenever possible without leaving this main window. For example, whenever you operate a full scan, the progress bar appears inside the Antivirus panel. In testing, a complete scan took 55 minutes, slightly lower than the present average. Inside my testing in the previous edition, a repeat scan finished in 5 minutes. Now, the repeat scan wasn’t significantly faster.
I turn to four independent antivirus testing labs all over the world for evidence that the antivirus I’m testing is (or isn’t) effective. BullGuard participates with a couple of these, with a mixture of comes from decent to excellent.
Researchers at AV-Comparatives regularly report on a wide variety of security product tests. I closely follow four of these. An item that does sufficiently to pass a test receives Standard certification, while people who rise above the necessary minimum can reach Advanced or Advanced certification. Within the latest of such tests, BullGuard got two Advanced as well as 2 Advanced certifications.
Accurate detection of malware is very important, but an antivirus also must avoid quarantining valid programs, and must not put a drag on system performance. Experts at AV-Test Institute assign antivirus programs as much as six points each for protection, performance, and usability (meaning leaving valid programs alone). BullGuard earned 5.5 points each for protection and satisfaction, however some false positive detections brought its usability score down to five, for a total of 16 points.
The major testing labs have resources beyond my own, however i like to obtain a hands-on experience of each product’s malware blocking abilities. I prefer an accumulation of several dozen malware samples that I’ve dguvfr analyzed, so i could confirm the antivirus really has blocked the malware’s installation.
Once I opened my folder packed with samples, BullGuard’s on-access scanner started checking them, displaying a tiny pop-up alert when it detected something amiss. If additional alerts occurred, each of them shared the identical pop-up, with a note indicating the number of more were pending. It is possible to click right through to view and close them one at a time, or check a box to seal them at one time. BullGuard detected about three quarters in the samples at this stage.