A BULLDOG OF A SECURITY PROGRAM

We had just about stopped looking at new security programs. There were so many it was like strapping lead weights around our computer to see if we could sink it to the bottom. However, we continue to be very pleased with Avast and Anti-Malware, both of which come in free versions, and we’re impressed with the new BullGuard Internet Security 10. It’s something different.

BullGuard comes with everything but the kitchen sink, and doesn’t slow down our computers. When you first install it, it asks if you want it to run quietly (as in: don’t bug me, just protect me) or whether you want to see what it’s doing at each step. We tried quiet mode on one computer and active mode on another. Both worked fine.

What impressed us were the extras. You get five gigabytes of free online storage for email and files. You get anti-spyware, anti-virus protection, a firewall, safe browsing, social media protection, password protection, a gaming mode and an inspector that identifies outdated software. The inspector found a dozen programs on our test computer that needed updating. These were all free programs, such as Adobe Flash player and Web Ex.  Not updating these programs makes you more vulnerable to hackers.

The program’s anti-virus approach is behavioral: If it looks like a virus and acts like a virus, kill it — even if it doesn’t match anything in the database of known viruses. This approach catches 65% more malware than traditional anti-virus programs.

In several independent studies, BullGuard scored detection rates of 100 percent against known and unknown viruses. That’s great, but it wasn’t 100 percent when it came to spyware. (Spyware is a class of programs that don’t attempt to change anything on your computer but just sit there and watches what you’re doing, then reports it back to the enemy camp.)  We left our regular Anti-Malware and anti-spyware program, from MalwareBytes.org, installed and it continued to catch stuff that BullGuard missed. You can install as many anti-spyware programs as you wish, by the way, but only one anti-virus program, because they can interfere with each other.

BullGuard can also act as an uninstaller, and automatically remove conflicting programs. The program is $60 for a one-year subscription on three computers. There’s a 30-day free trial, and that comes with 100 megabytes of online storage at bullguard.com.

BullGuard offers the Backup program on its own for $25. It gives you 10 gigabytes of online storage, encryption for your files and emails and the easiest file recovery system we’ve ever seen.

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