BullGuard premium protection antivirus review: VPN, secure browser protection and parental controls

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Present since 2002, Bullguard joined Avira as part of Norton Lifelock this year, but is still sold as a separate product. For your annual subscription, you get a very wide range of antivirus and security tools, as well as PC tune-up and parental controls.

Like all other antivirus vendors except Avira, the first year subscription is billed at half the renewal rate. However, a subscription that covers ten devices is generous, and extending it to two years of coverage also saves you money, making it one of the most profitable products out there.

Bullguard also offers cheaper products. Upgrade to Bullguard Antivirus and you’ll pay just £ 24.99 a year, but miss the firewall, parental controls, and mobile apps. If you’re a Mac user, however, you’ll be annoyed to find out that the cheapest app isn’t available for your computer – you’ll need to upgrade to Bullguard mid-level Internet security (£ 44.99 / year, Bullguard .com).

Whichever you choose, the big news for the 2021 edition is Dynamic Machine Learning, which constantly monitors your computer for known malware signatures and virus-like behavior. It runs on your computer, which means if you’re cut off from the internet – perhaps in an attempt to keep your antivirus software from updating – you’re still protected.

Files are scanned as they are accessed, and you can also schedule full or quick scans of your entire system. There is also cloud-based protection, with emerging threats detected and analyzed without the need to download updates.

How we tested

We installed Bullguard in a virtual machine running a fully updated and activated copy of Windows 10 Home, run it to the test on the clean machine, and then exposed it to the EICAR (Institute European Antivirus Research Center) and Spy Abri. It detected 100% of our test files. Bullguard has a 100 percent rating on av-test.org, compared to an industry average that is also 100 percent – antivirus products, it seems, are good at detecting viruses.

Bullguard Premium Protection: £ 69.99 / year, 10 devices, Bullguard.com

(Ian Evenden)

Evaluation: 8/10

  • Anti-virus
  • Firewall
  • Web protection
  • Performance optimization
  • Parental control
  • Confidentiality management

In addition to the above, with Bullguard premium protection, you get identity protection, where your information is compared to known data leaks circulating on the dark web and a backup module to make copies of your files. important out of danger on an external drive automatically. There’s even a VPN, though it must be downloaded separately, and a PC tune-up suite that checks for things like hard drive fragmentation, junk files, and your web browser’s cache size in it. hope to make your PC run more efficiently. There is a lot going on.

So much so, in fact, that we took a look at Task Manager to see what it was. Bullguard was running nine background processes in addition to his application, none of which used CPU time because they were idle, but each took up a small portion of the available RAM. This was actually beaten by Avira, who ran 10. Interestingly, Malwarebytes had the least, running one process for their anti-malware service and another for their VPN.

However, instead of taking many small bites of RAM, Malwarebytes took a big one, with its background process pair making up around 250MB of memory. On machines with multiple gigabytes of RAM – our test VM received 8GB – it doesn’t matter, but if you’re in a tight memory situation it’s worth keeping an eye out.

The app also needs an update for high resolution displays. Running on a 4K monitor, the hub elements looked pixelated and, while the text was correct, the graphics like the Bullguard logo, the fire graphic used to signify the firewall and even the close button in the corner. from the window looked distinctly low res.

Read more: The best password managers to secure your accounts

The firewall will automatically block anyone trying to access your PC from the outside, inspect applications that have been modified to see if there is malware working, and can be configured not to respond to pings from the network, effectively hiding.

The VPN, which runs in a separate app, will protect your data from snoopers, and there is a secure browser configured to not use cookies, extensions, or other plugins without your express permission. It also erases its history when you exit, helping you cover your tracks. There is also a dark web analysis, an identity protection feature, in partnership with Experian, which can monitor things like your passport number, email addresses, phone and credit card numbers. in the event of a data breach – although in order to do so, you must agree to this data being transmitted and held by Experian. There is of course a privacy policy to be accepted.

(Ian Evenden)

Another cool Bullguard feature is Network Scan, alerting you if you connect to an unsecured wifi hotspot that could be used to access your information. This provides a neat map of your local network, exposing any security holes that allow it to see the places it shouldn’t.

Family life

Parental controls are broad, but come with presets based on the child’s age to keep things simple. You can block sites using a range of keywords, from gambling to drugs to plagiarism (for schoolwork purposes), and gradually open as your child grows up. You can also set up a schedule so that the managed account can only access the Internet during certain times and prevent certain apps from connecting completely. This latest feature comes with a hilarious list of chat apps, but the ability to add new entries to the blocklist can update it.

There is also a subset of privacy controls for managed accounts, so you can block information such as their email address or phone number from being sent. We tried to bypass the controls with a variety of browsers, but it blocked everyone, including Brave, and Opera’s VPN was not connecting.

(Ian Evenden)

How does Bullguard work?

Like many security applications, Bullguard is modular and opens a hub application from which you can choose which module to activate or manipulate. For example, you will need to activate a profile linked to a Windows account to manage parental controls or set up a backup schedule.

During installation, the application goes through a period of analysis, seeking to optimize the performance of your PC. It found a setting on our test PC that no other app had enabled – we had enabled autoplay for external drives, meaning a USB stick full of malware could plug in and run. without our express permission. By clicking to fix the problem, Bullguard opened the settings app on exactly the right page and we were able to turn off autoplay with just one click.

Read more: McAfee Total Protection Review – Outstanding Antivirus Software

Otherwise, once configured to your liking, Bullguard stays in the background until it has something to report. Things like Autostart with Windows are turned on by default, and there are even options to minimize the number of notifications it sends to you, so you both can get on with your work.

The verdict: Bullguard premium protection

Bullguard’s anti-virus, firewall, and anti-malware tools seem solid, and the great importance it places on identity protection – a VPN, a secure browser, and a dark web service – really pampers us.

The antivirus and internet security market is crowded and apps like Bullguard need to do something to stand out. In Bullguard’s case, it’s the fact that it’s good value for money and comes with a wide selection of antivirus and security tools. It’s rare these days to have just one computer at home, so being able to install Bullguard on 10 devices (or 15 if you’re paying a little more) with a single subscription is a great thing to see.

Bullguard premium protection

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Looking for more options? For another antivirus to consider, read our Norton 360 review

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions we earn income if you click the links and purchase the products, but we never allow this to distort our coverage. Reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.


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