Using Web Security
The Web Security module in Bitdefender Mobile Security is the simplest of them all: it has a single setting, which lets you turn the module off or on. The purpose of Web Security is to protect you from harmful sites when browsing the web, so you shouldn't turn it off.
The module uses Bitdefender Cloud Services to notify you of websites that contain phishing, fraud or malware and it works with Chrome and the built-in stock Android web browser, but it failed to warn us of a harmful site when using Firefox.
Overall, the Web Security is a very useful module that can protect you from many dangers lurking on the Internet. It is really simple to use, as it needs zero configuration. As good as it is, it would still be great to see it working with Firefox as well.
One of the most advanced modules of Bitdefender Mobile Security is Anti-Theft : it is designed to help you when your phone is lost or stolen and it can be a real life-saver. As we have mentioned it earlier, you will need three things to make this module fully functional: you need to give Bitdefender administrative privileges (the app guides you through this, it's just two taps), set up a PIN and optionally a trusted number. Let's see what are these good for.
Anti-Theft can protect you in two ways: via the Bitdefender Central website and using another smartphone. After enabling Anti-Theft , you can access the central.bitdefender.com address from any web browser and log in with your Bitdefender account. Here you will see your protected device's location (if it's turned on and has some kind of location services turned on), you can send a message to it (optionally sounding a really loud alarm), remotely lock it with a PIN or remotely erase all of its contents. Although this latter option might sound a bit too drastic, it can be vital if you have very sensitive data on your smartphone.
You can also activate these security features by sending an SMS from a phone to your device: you can check the list of commands under the SMS Control tab. While most features can be activated from any phone number, the remote wipe command can be sent only from the trusted number you entered. You can also set up Bitdefender to notify the trusted number via SMS if the SIM card has been replaced in your smartphone.
One of the SMS commands, CALLME can be sent from any phone to your number to make your protected device call you back in stealth mode. This would be a great way to silently listen on whoever has your phone, but, unfortunately, this feature didn't work as expected. Our smartphone did call back the number the SMS was sent from, but it was not stealthy as all: the call was visible just like a normal outgoing call and this hinders the usefulness of this feature.
The Anti-Theft module is one of the most powerful features of Bitdefender Mobile Security, as it can help you locate, lock and even remotely wipe your Android device using two methods. This can be one of your best shots at recovering your lost or stolen device, so we strongly suggest turning it on. Unfortunately, one of its best features, the remote call command didn't work as expected, but we really hope this will be fixed in a future update.
Using App Lock
The fifth module from Bitdefender Mobile Security can be used to deny access to your applications, which can be used when you lend your device to someone, and it's also a safety measure if it's lost.
To use App Lock , you need to enable special privileges for Bitdefender with a tap. After that you just need to tick any number of apps on a list in Bitdefender to have them locked. After locking an app you will need to enter your PIN code in order to launch it - you will be required to enter the PIN any time you open a locked app until you uncheck it on the app list in the App Lock module.
Although App Lock does indeed lock applications with your PIN code, it unfortunately doesn't hide notifications. For example, we have tried locking the Messaging app to hide our personal SMS messages from anyone else using the smartphone. Still, incoming messages were displayed in a notification, so the App Lock module doesn't offer 100% protection.
App Lock is a good way to block applications from running in case you lend your phone to someone, and the module does work great, since you won't be able to access locked applications without a PIN code. Unfortunately, notifications from locked apps will still be visible, so App Lock is not good for completely protecting your personal data.
Efficiency and speed
When using an anti-malware application or software suite, the most important thing is to have a security solution that keeps us safe from all kinds of malware and does it in a non-obtrusive way. This means that a good anti-malware solution should detect and clean malware while being light on system resources.
As a matter of fact, Bitdefender Mobile Security excels at both: we have taken a look at independent security analyst websites and the results are more than satisfactory:
- AV-Test measured a 100% detection rate for all kinds of Android malware, while also awarding a maximum usability score of six, which also includes performance scores.
- AV-Comparatives measured a protection rate of 100% and noted minimal battery use.
Apart from the independent labs, our experience suggests that Bitdefender Mobile Security can handle all malware quite well: it recognized all malware we threw at it, blocked unsafe websites and had no visible effect on our device's performance.
When talking about security, Bitdefender is one of the first names to cross our minds: the company has a strong reputation in IT security thanks to its robust and easy-to-use security products. Fortunately they have managed to carry over most of their core values to the Android platform and release a great product called Bitdefender Mobile Security 2016. This product is easy to use and efficient. It doesn't only offer a high rate of detection for all kinds of malware, but also manages to have a small performance footprint on your Android device.
However, like any other software product, Bitdefender Mobile Security for Android is not perfect. For example, its Privacy Advisor is more of a simple permissions overview for your apps than a real advisor. Also, other modules like Anti-Theft and App Lock could benefit from a couple of minor improvements.
Overall, we are very pleased with the level of protection you get from Bitdefender Mobile Security 2016 and we recommend it to all our readers.