While BullGuard Internet Security provides a good range of features, its recent malware protection performance has been less effective than Windows Defender.
- Good range of features
- Disappointing malware protection performance
- Clients for Windows, macOS, Android
- 3 devices
- Browser link checking
- Parental controls
- Silent detection mode
- Secure browser
What is BullGuard Internet Security?
BullGuard incorporates multiple layers of anti-malware defences, including its own internally developed machine learning system and behavioural engines, supplemented with the Bitdefender anti-malware engine.
Bullguard Internet Security costs £49.95 a year for three devices. If you don’t need backups, parental controls or a firewall, then Bullguard Antivirus costs £24.95 for a single device. BullGuard Premium, on the other hand, adds identity protection and a home network scanner, and covers up to 10 devices for £69.95.
You can currently buy retail editions of the Internet Security, with redeemable codes, for £16.75 for three devices from Amazon, so it’s well worth shopping around for a better deal.
Features, set-up and usability
The most recent refresh of BullGuard’s client gives it a clear layout, with everything visible on a single home screen and enough white space to make it all comprehensible. A series of tiles provides easy access to each feature of the security quite, starting with antivirus, where a pull-down menu allows you to configure the real-time scanner’s behaviour and start an on-demand scan.
The firewall is less ferocious than those of many rivals – BullGuard applies rules automatically based on its knowledge of what is and is not likely to be a connection attempt by legitimate software and processes. We were able to continue using RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) on a network classed as public after installation, which was handy, although we’d have appreciated it if BullGuard had checked in to make sure our network was correctly defined.
Other tools include a vulnerability scanner, which will automatically let you know if anything needs to be patched or updated, a game booster mode that automatically changes BullGuard’s behaviour to give you optimal performance and minimal interruptions when you’re playing, a secure browser for functions such as online banking, and all the usual range of PC cleanup and optimisation tools. You can also integrate BullGuard VPN, although a subscription is not included with BullGuard Internet Security.
Related: Best Antivirus 2019
BullGuard – Performance
|Testing facility||AV-TEST||AV Comparatives||SE Labs|
|Real-World Threat Protection||99.75%||N/A||87|
BullGuard put in a rather mixed performance in recent tests by SE Labs and AV-TEST – it hasn’t appeared in AV Comparatives’ tests since 2018, so there’s a bit less data to inform our conclusions than we have for some rivals. Its biggest problem is that, by the latest test data, it’s not been as effective at protecting against malware as Windows Defender.
It came last in SE Labs’ protection tests, with a protection score of just 87 out of 100. And in AV-TEST’s latest trial, unusually scored 98.9% when detection malicious samples from a reference set of viruses, as well as failing to get a perfect score in the following month’s real-world zero-day malware exposure test, with a rating of 99.50%.
Its system load is roughly equivalent to that of Windows Defender, and it misidentified seven legitimate programs as malicious in AV-TEST’s trials; it didn’t pick up any false positives when SE Labs tested it.
Should I buy BullGuard Internet Security?
While BullGuard Internet Security provides a good range of features, its recent malware protection performance has been less effective than of the free Windows Defender.
It also doesn’t compare well to that of key paid rivals Symantec or Kaspersky in terms of effectiveness or picking up false positives, according to AV-TEST, and similarly, SE Labs doesn’t rate it as highly. BullGuard does not compare well on price, either. Until either of these situations change, BullGuard is hard to recommend.
Plenty of useful features plus cover for MacOS computers and Android phones will make BullGuard an interesting choice for some, but independent testing and pricing sees it coming up short when compared to rivals.