Bitdefender Total Security 2013 beta brings flashy, new interface

Bitdefender has released the first public beta of its Total Security 2013 suite. And while the “New Features” list this time doesn’t exactly reveal much in the way of innovation (you’ll probably have some across many similar ideas before), there are still some welcome additions to what’s becoming a very powerful security suite.

Safepay, for instance, is an isolated browser that runs in a secure desktop, with a virtual keyboard. It automatically launches when it detects you’re visiting banking, payment or other sensitive sites to help ensure your transaction details stay safe.

Anti-Theft is Bitdefender’s take on a computer location service. If your laptop is stolen, say, you can log in to a web console, display its whereabouts on a map (maybe), then try to lock it remotely or wipe all the data it contains.

The USB Immunizer aims to make your USB flash keys “immune to autorun malware”. We’ve yet to test this -- and most similar tools aren’t quite as powerful as they claim -- but any level of protection here is welcome.

If this kind of ultra-comprehensive suite always seems too complex, then you may appreciate Bitdefender’s new Autopilot: essentially it’s a “leave me alone” mode where the program doesn’t hassle you with popups and alerts, instead managing your system entirely automatically.

All of this is presented in a flashy new interface, which works well with a few exceptions (there’s a desktop gadget which feels like a waste of time). And of course all this comes on top of the core features you’d expect from any security suite: on-demand and real-time antivirus protection, a spam filter, firewall, privacy tools, browsing protection, online backup, file encryption and more.

Is it worth taking the trial for a spin? If you’re interested in Bitdefender in particular, or this kind of do-everything suite, then we’d say yes: there are bugs and omissions, but in the main it seemed fairly stable and reliable during our tests.

And by way of encouragement, Bitdefender offers a few prizes to the beta testers who provide the most feedback. You could win an Asus B121 12.1 inch Tablet, an Acer Aspire S3 13.3 inch Ultrabook, a Nokia Lumia 900, and 100x Bitdefender Internet Security 2013 licenses for 6 months.

One point to remember, though, is that Bitdefender Total Security 2013 really isn’t designed to run alongside other security suites. These will generally be detected at installation, with the program refusing to proceed until your existing solution has been removed.

And keep in mind also that this is a first public beta. And bugs in this kind of low-level application could have very serious effects on your system, so don’t even think of installing the suite on a PC unless you have a full and recent backup available.

But if that’s not a problem, then grab a copy of the beta and take a look for yourself: there are 32-bit and 64-bit flavors available.

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