BullGuard

BullGuard is a London-based company that has been growing popular consumer antivirus software and security tools since 2002.

BullGuard Antivirus is a simple product with real-time virus protection, malicious URL filtering, and, astonishingly, a performance booster for games and other demanding full-screen software. 24/7 customer service, including live chat, can be obtained if you have any issues.

The 2020 launch of this program adds new machine learning technology, which the company says improves zero-day hazard detection with┬áno effect on the computer’s resources’. It works offline, also, so you will be protected even when malware breaks your internet connection.

BullGuard’s VPN can be launched in the interface, also, if you have a permit to use it. Unlike Kaspersky, Bitdefender, and many others, BullGuard does not have a restricted free version of its VPN, and even though there’s a 7-day trial available, you need to be an existing BullGuard customer to get it.

That’s about it for new antivirus or security attributes, which is somewhat disappointing. Though BullGuard’s 2020 range also offers a significant improvement in its Secure Browser, a customized program that uses multiple layers of security to keep you safe online, that’s not available in BullGuard’s baseline antivirus package.

BullGuard Antivirus is priced by a low $30 to get a one-year, 1 computer license. That’s a decent price, particularly as competitors like Bitdefender and Kaspersky no longer sell single device permits, rather charging at least $60 (on renewal) to pay up to three computers.

BullGuard provides additional discounts by extending the subscription — a two-year permit is $48, with three-years running to $60 — but, sadly, the company does not enable you to add multiple PCs on a single license.

If you’ve got several devices to shield, you may prefer BullGuard Premium Protection. That’s not just cheaper per device — a three-year, 10-device permit is $200, only $6.63 per device per year — but in addition, it protects Windows, Mac, and Android, and has a lot more features: a firewall, parental controls, cloud backup, PC optimization, a Home Network Scanner, and even identity security.

You can check out a 15-day trial of BullGuard Antivirus, and you will find 30-day builds of BullGuard Premium Protection as well as the intermediate BullGuard Internet Security. You are protected by a further 30-day money-back guarantee, giving you plenty of time to be certain this is the perfect antivirus for you.

Setup
BullGuard’s trial builds are easy to find on the site, and we had our BullGuard Antivirus installer downloaded within minutes.

Like many competitions, BullGuard requires that you hand over your email to make an account before you can activate the trial, but that was straightforward and there were no other setup hassles.

BullGuard Antivirus set up a long list of elements on our evaluation system. After rebooting, we discovered it had caught around 750MB of disk space, additional 10 new desktop processes, and various other extras, including an Outlook add-in (more on that later).

While this seemed a more heavyweight setup than many competitors, BullGuard’s various processes did not grab much in the manner of RAM or other system tools, and we did not observe any substantial effect on the system speed.

It is necessary that an antivirus can prevent itself from being disabled by malware. We tried deleting BullGuard Antivirus documents, closing procedures, stopping services, and other tricks, but were not able to undermine our security. So that was a fantastic start for the program, but we uncovered a few problems.

Security vulnerabilities
BullGuard Antivirus enables users to specify just what they want to get checked in Quick and complete system scans, and we noticed that these settings were saved in plain text files without any special protection. An attacker could replace the default settings using their own, turning off just about every scan option, greatly reducing the chance that BullGuard would detect anything in any way.

For instance, running a first Quick Scan our inspection system with the default settings took about seven minutes. After replacing the Quick Scan document with our own, where each possible scanning option was turned off, it assessed so modestly that the scan was complete in about five seconds.

In another more serious problem, we could disable BullGuard’s file system filter driver using a single standard Windows control (requiring admin rights). Because of this, BullGuard Antivirus was not able to detect malware since it had been downloaded, unzipped, or saved to, or opened out of our hard disk.

It is important to put these problems into perspective. The scan settings vulnerability only influenced on-demand scans, for example, leaving BullGuard’s real-time defense working, as usual, blocking threats as they appear. And even if an attacker also disabled the filter driver, BullGuard Antivirus is not finished. URL filtering will still block attempts to download malware from a known dangerous website, and also the behavior monitoring layer is continually searching for suspicious processes.

We raised our concerns with BullGuard, anyhow, and the company responded quickly. It rolled out a fix for the filter driver issue almost immediately, shutting the serious security hole. The scan settings issue had already been fixed in BullGuard’s Small Office Security product, BullGuard clarified, as well as the consumer products will find the same upgrade in the next release.

We’re delighted to accept the risks here are mostly theoretical. It might take some effort to exploit these vulnerabilities, and there is not the slightest evidence that has ever occurred. They constitute worrying mistakes, however, especially leaving the filter driver unprotected. If BullGuard missed this problem, are there other issues it has failed to spot?