Having been around since 2002, Bullguard joined Avira as part of Norton Lifelock this year, but is still being sold as a separate product. For your annual subscription you get a very broad suite of antivirus and security tools, plus PC tune-up and parental controls too.
Like every other antivirus provider except Avira, the first year’s subscription is charged at half the renewal rate. A subscription that covers ten devices is generous, however, and boosting it to two years of coverage also saves you money, making it one of the more cost-effective products on the market.
Bullguard has cheaper products too. Drop down to Bullguard antivirus and you’ll pay just £24.99 a year, but miss out on the firewall, parental controls, and mobile apps. If you’re a Mac user, however, you’ll be annoyed to discover that the cheapest app isn’t available for your computer – you’ll need to step up to the middle-tier Bullguard internet security (£44.99/year, Bullguard.com).
Whichever you choose, the big news in the 2021 edition is the Dynamic Machine Learning that continuously monitors your computer, looking out for known malware signatures and virus-like behaviour. This runs on your machine, meaning if you’re cut off from the internet – perhaps in an attempt to stop your antivirus software from updating itself – you’re still protected.
Files are scanned as they’re accessed, and you can also schedule full or quick scans of your entire system. There’s cloud-based protection too, with emerging threats detected and analysed without the need for updates to be downloaded.
How we tested
We installed Bullguard in a virtual machine running a fully updated and activated copy of Windows 10 Home, ran it through its paces on the clean machine, then exposed it to test files from EICAR (the European Institute for Computer Anti-Virus Research) and Spy Shelter. It detected 100 per cent of our test files. Bullguard has a 100 per cent rating on av-test.org, against an industry average that’s also 100 per cent – antivirus products, it seems, are good at detecting viruses.
Bullguard premium protection: £69.99/year, 10 devices, Bullguard.com