Bullguard has been producing Windows antivirus and internet security software for the last nine years. Its latest IS product, Bullguard Internet Security 12, adds a firewall, parental controls, PC tune-up, backup and a vulnerability scanner to the AV, spam filter and browser protection in its antivirus package.
The main control screen of Bullguard Internet Security 12 is simple and well organised and although things get a bit more complex as you work your way down through the menus, it's still comparatively straightforward to find your way around this suite.
Bullguard Internet Security 12's full virus scan, which, like the quick scan can be scheduled to run when a PC isn't in use, took over three hours on our test machine and even a quick scan took five minutes. There's a custom scan available, too, which is the Bullguard Internet Security 12 feature we used to check our 50GB basket of files.
Most security suites automatically choose which files need to be scanned, but with Bullguard Internet Security 12 you can either scan every file, some 344,000 files which took over 50 minutes, or just the program files, a meagre 1185 which completed in 12 seconds.
You can add in specific file types manually, but we'd prefer a bit more intelligence, to automatically include all file types which popularly host malware, such as Microsoft Word documents and .dll files.
AV-Test doesn't yet have test results for version 12 of Bullguard IS, but it certified version 10 with 12/18 under Windows 7 and 13/18 using Windows XP. It scored particularly well for protection, with 5.5/6 and 5.0/6, respectively.
There was no Bullguard 11 and there's no reason to believe Bullguard 12 will score less than version 10 did.
The Backup facility handles files in categories such as documents, videos and music and can back-up to another hard drive, internal or external, a CD or DVD or online. Bullguard provides 5GB of online storage for the one year period of the software licence, although this has to be shared between users.
Parental Control also works by category, with the broadest being age group and, within this, access to sexual or violent content, or withdrawing access to messaging and other social networking, as examples. Overall access to the computer can also be scheduled, to limit total computing time per account holder.
A unique feature, called the Vulnerability Scanner, is designed to look at your system and check your applications are up to date. Older application versions won't contain the most recent fixes, so this is a reasonable approach, but the utility was a little over-zealous, flagging up earlier versions of code which may already be superseded on your system.
On our test system it showed three versions of the Visual C++ redistributable and both Flash 10 and Flash 11. A more sensible approach would be to flag any apps that use the earlier versions; if there aren't any, you could delete the earlier code completely, a more secure solution.
PC Tune Up identifies unneeded Windows and internet temporary files, removes broken registry entries and defragments the registry, if necessary. There's no appreciable increase in performance, but this tidying up is likely to increase system stability, as it leaves less ‘loose ends'.
Bullguard Internet Security 12 is an internet security suite with most of the trimmings you might want, including online storage and a useful, if a little over-enthusiastic, application version checker. If it's as good at detecting suspicious behaviour as its predecessor was at neutralising known malware, it will be a worthwhile choice.