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| February 8, 2018

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When it comes to the best security software for computers, not every antivirus offers the same level of performance. This is a major reason why people keep searching for the best antivirus, and also why they switch the security software from time to time.

We have seen people jump ship from one antivirus to another within a span of days, because each one had a negative impact on their system. And also, if an antivirus lets a program with a toolbar or some bundled application install the “potentially unwanted program” slip through its detection nets, people tend to lose faith on the security.

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And in the recent years, we have seen an alarming rise in the number of what is possibly the most destructive form of malware, that have ever been made.  We are talking about ransomware of course. These malware, are often called as encryption malware, because of the extend of the damage they do.

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Ransomware encrypts your photos, music, videos, documents and other important files, using unique algorithms. These algorithms are so powerful, that it takes even the best security researchers find it difficult to break, and it usually takes a good few weeks or months to create a free decryption tool.

But some users cannot wait that long, because ransomware has a time limit usually about two weeks, after the data which is encrypted is permanently deleted. If the user wants to recover the data, they have to pay the attacker a fee, aka a ransom amount, after which the unique decryption key for that computer is sent by the hacker, to unlock the data. The only way to prevent such attacks is by using an antivirus which can block the ransomware, before it executes the code to decrypt your data.

We think that BullGuard Premium Protection is one of the antivirus solutions which you can rely on for both speed and security. Now that we have got your attention, let us explain how the application works and all the features that it offers.

The interface of BullGuard Premium Protection has a light theme, and has a minimalistic design. This highlights just how user-friendly the program is, every section is neatly labeled. There are 7 tabs in the interface.

Antivirus:

The main component in BullGuard Premium Protection is of course the real-time protection which the program uses to prevent malware, viruses, trojans, ransomware, etc, from infecting your computer. There are 5 options in the Antivirus section, and three of these are scan types.

When you select one of the scans, the interface of the application doesn’t switch to a scan screen. Instead, a scan progress indicator is displayed in the antivirus section, which shows the percentage of the scan done, till the scan completes.

The Quick Scan option only scans the most important areas of the operating system, which are commonly targeted by malware. This includes running processes, boot sectors, the Windows Registry, the Windows System folder and the C: drive. The scans are incredibly speedy and during our tests, the quick scan completed in just a minute or two.

The Full Scan will analyze the entirety of your computer, this includes all the files and folders on your PC’s hard drive. We recommend running this scan once every few months, or after an infection is detected by the quick scan, or if the antivirus detects something on its own. That being said, the full scan is also quite speedy and completed in about 15-20 minutes when we tested the antivirus. This is super impressive, because most antivirus software take hours to finish.

The Custom Scan option can be used to select specific folders, hard drives, and partitions which you want BullGuard to scan for viruses and malware. You can use this option to scan for scanning a USB drive which you just plugged to the computer.

The Quarantine vault in the antivirus section, can be used for seeing the malware which were detected by the antivirus. You can restore false positives from the Quarantine, or delete detections permanently. If you aren’t sure whether a detection is a false positive, you can even upload them to the BullGuard servers to verify it.

BullGuard Premium Protection’s antivirus constantly monitors your computer’s running programs, the files which you open, etc, for malware. When any malware activity is detected, the antivirus immediately quarantines the threat.  BullGuard employs a triple-layer protection system, which comprises of anthe antivirus which we have mentioned, a firewall which we will explain about, and a zero-day threat scanner. This scanner can recognize applications which are known to be safe, and block untrusted programs. To understand how this works, we need to see how an antivirus detects viruses, malware etc.

BullGuard’s primary scanner depends on a database of threats which the company updates frequently, and this is what the scanner uses to cross-reference files for malware and other infections. So, if a new malware is released in the wild, and it is not in the database it would not be detected, right?

Wrong, such threats are called zero-day threats, and the heuristics scanner in BullGuard Premium Protection can actively scan running processes and programs, for malicious behavior. So, if the scanner detects an application trying to access the system files or connect to a malicious server, or execute some malicious code, etc, BullGuard will block the malware, even if the file is not in the database.

The Settings in the Antivirus section allow you to configure how BullGuard’s protection should work. You can adjust the level of security on a scale of custom to maximum, but the default level is more than enough for most users.

Firewall:

The Firewall in Bullguard can protect your computer from attacks originating from the internet, be it from a malware or a hacker. The Firewall features application based filtering, to prevents leaks from your own network, using end-to-end protection. The firewall does not interfere with your computer usage, and uses very little of your RAM and CPU, so you won’t even notice it is running, because of the optimizations BullGuard has made. It is fully compatible with Windows 10 of course.

You can manage the firewall rules for each application from the “Manage Rules” section in the Firewall settings. So, if you want to block a program from accessing the internet, you can do that from this screen, and similarly if a program has been blocked by BullGuard, you can allow the program to connect online.

The program logs every incoming and outgoing connection, including the server IP addresses, which your computer is currently connecting to, or has done in the past, is logged by the Firewall. There is a separate “Network Activity” tab, which also lists the current network connections.

This tab has different information though, including the name of the application or service, which is connecting to a remote or local server which the component is connecting to.

The Firewall settings can be set to only display notifications which are important. If you would rather manually create rules for known programs, you can enable the option for that, and BullGuard will alert you whenever you run a program, and you can choose to allow the program to go online or block it from doing so.

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Vulnerabilities:

The Vulnerability Scanner in BullGuard Premium Protection, is very useful to enhance your computer’s security. You see, unlike other antivirus software, BullGuard checks whether you have the Windows Updates settings configured correctly. The antivirus also scans for all Windows Updates installed on your computer, and even lists any and every missing Windows Updates. So, you can review the list and install the updates which are really critical, but we recommend installing all the updates, because it is better to be safe than sorry.

The antivirus also analyzes whether your PC has autorun enabled or not. You can also see the Wireless network safety settings, and Network profile safety. If your internet connection has open ports, you can check them all in the same screen. The program also lists all the device drivers installed on your PC, and how many of them are digitally signed, and how many are not.

Backup:

BullGuard Premium Protection has a data backup option, which you can use to secure copies of your most important files and folders. You can use this to select some of the Windows libraries, including the documents, photos, music, videos, desktop folder, but you can basically select any file or folder on your computer’s hard drive.

When you have selected the sources for your backup, you need to select the destination, where BullGuard should save the data. You can select any location on your computer’s hard drive. But you can also select an external storage device like a portable hard disk, or a USB Flash Drive or even a network drive.

What impressed us here, was the fact that you can also save the backups on to your cloud storage account. BullGuard Premium Protection can save the data to Dropbox, Google Drive or One drive directly, and all you have to do is to login to your account and authenticate the antivirus to store the backups. You can schedule the backup to run at a specific schedule which you have chosen. This includes complete control over the interval of the backup (weekly, daily, or monthly), and select the day, date, and even the hour and minute when the backup should run.

The backup tasks can be set to synchronize with the source files and folders which you select. You can enable compression of the backups, to reduce the upload size. BullGuard can encrypt your backups before the data is uploaded to the cloud, to ensure the safety of your files. The program allows you to have multiple versions of your files. So, in case you deleted something from a document, and want to restore an older version of the document, you can do exactly just that.

Game Booster:

BullGuard can ensure that your gaming experience is awesome, by optimizing your fullscreen games, using the built-in Game Booster. This feature which works on computers with 4 CPU cores, and almost every new computer these days does have 4 or more cores.

PC Tune Up:

BullGuard Premium Protection can make sure your PC stays in top shape, without lags thanks to the PC TuneUp features which it offers.

You can use the Optimize tool for deleting the contents of the temporary files folder, old logs, and also for fixing registry issues.

If you find that your PC is running low on storage, the Cleanup Helper will save you from a headache, with its neat storage space analyzer and pie chart, using which you can see what files are eating the most space, and optionally delete the files to get some of the space back.

Another way to get your storage space back, is by scanning your computer for multiple copies of the same files, and this is exactly what the Duplicate Files tool is for.

Is your PC booting up slowly? The Boot Manager can be used to check how many programs are set to run at start up, and you can disable some of those to make your PC start faster.

Parental Controls:

You can use BullGuard Premium Protection, to ensure that your kids stay safe online. The program has parental controls which can be set to block inappropriate content. You can also configure the time in terms of hours when they can play games, or use the system.

Identity Protection:

This is the online dashboard in BullGuard Premium Protection, which can be used for checking if your personal details like your name, bank account, credit card number, etc have been leaked anywhere on the internet.

Home Network Scanner:

This is another cool security feature in BullGuard, which can scan your internet connection and alerts you when a device with a potential security issue is connected to the network.

Can you think of and name any other antivirus software which offers half the features, that BullGuard Premium Protection does? Didn’t think so.

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