BitDefender for Mac OS X – *Bleh*

BitDefender Antivirus has been popular since it’s release on the Windows platform. It’s now available for Mac OS X too. Like most other third party security programs for Windows, BitDefender is definitely not the best. At least not all the time. You need to know that the efficacy of antivirus programs differ from time to time and with version to version. So is the OS X version of BitDefender good? Let’s take a look.

How good is BitDefender Antivirus for Mac?

Firstly, I’m no expert in software security. But, I do have a decent skill that helps me differentiate between a good and a bad software. This article is to share my experiences with an antivirus program, on a system that is seemingly strong enough to be on it’s own – Mac OS X. And take a note of Av-Comparatives.ORG. It is a great place to get in-depth and professional analysis on the popular anti-viruses in the market.

Here’s a PSA about any security program in general – keep away from security programs that claim 100% protection. No security program has ever existed to protect against all possible threats. 

The test drive

Considering the non-existence of any add-on security mechanism on my computer, I was curious and hoping there could be at least 1 infection. But seemingly, there wasn’t any! This could be due the goodness of OS X’s built in security, or it could be the poor detection technique of BitDefender. It’s hard to decide with no up-to-date benchmark reports available for the current version of BitDefender Mac (v 2.30.5095). And my experience isn’t enough to prove a software’s performance. But, Thomas at TheSafeMac.COM did run a test for a number of antivirus programs available for Mac. He did mention about the tests being non-comprehensive, but that doesn’t necessarily invalidate the results. His article points to poor detection rates by BitDefender for OS X (v 2.1).

Real-time protection – not so much

BitDefender for Mac has real time protection working only if the program’s running in the ‘foreground’. What this means is, if you like to normally close apps after using them, BitDefender will completely quit and you will have no real-time protection in action, which is quite strange.

Bottom line

We often hear about Mac OS X and Linux derivates being better than Windows with respect to security. Well, that’s a true fact. Mac OS X already does a very good job at keeping away infections and attacks without any need of a third party security mechanism. But, you must understand that a good job doesn’t imply a full-proof state of protection. And that’s where anti-viruses are still needed in the Macintosh world too. The answer to how good BitDefender is for Mac, lies in ambiguity for now. We need more data on tests and evaluations from authoritative websites for security programs on Mac OS X.

As an end user, do not fall for recommendations from advertisements or peers blindly. When you chose your security program, it’s wiser to educate yourself with the concept of detection rates, real-time protection and memory footprints. And concepts are simply understood if you can relate them to real life situations. For instance, detection rates could be explained as the ability of the special security forces (antivirus) to hunt down the bad guys. Good day.