It's approaching that time of the year again when the latest round of updated internet security suites are announced.

Although Symantec will stop including the year in the name of its Norton products - whilst continuing with yearly product updates and releases - Bitdefender has stuck with the yearly moniker, so here we have Bitdefender Total Security 2013.

We found the Bitdefender Total Security 2011 and Bitdefender Internet Security 2010 to be solid, yet unremarkable antivirus tools. The Total Security suite in particular struggled to justify its high price.

However, the 2013 version comes with a number of new features and tools that promise to keep your computer completely safe.

The first new feature is Bitdefender Safepay, which has been created to make shopping and banking online even more secure.

The level of detail covered by Safepay is pretty impressive. It's a dedicated internet browser that has been designed from the ground up to be completely secure when using money online.

By using a sandboxed browser, any security flaws in your usual browser (such as a dodgy plug-in or extension) won't have any power here.

Safepay also identifies when you're using a Wi-Fi hotspot and beefs up the security appropriately.

A virtual keyboard is also included to thwart any keylogging software (that can capture key presses from normal keyboards to record passwords, credit card details and more).

The Safepay browser is basic, yet fast.

Whilst it opens in a resizable window, the rest of your desktop - including other windows - is blocked out.

It's no good for multi-tasking, then, but the small inconvenience is made up for by the added security.

It's also worth remembering that this is a browser that's only meant to be used when banking or shopping, and not for day-to-day browsing.

You can set the Safepay browser to open up automatically when you use an online bank or shop, or manually via a prompt. You can also turn it off completely if you wish.

Another welcome new feature is the USB Immuniser.

Whilst we spend a lot of time worrying about nasties infecting our PCs from the internet, we still quite happily plug in USB drives to and from computers that might be infected themselves.

The USB Immuniser is an extra layer of protection that we're happy to see, though it's a bit hard to find in the menus.

Apart from that, the user interface is easy to navigate, giving you quick access to most of the popular features of Bitdefender Total Security 2013.

A large circular symbol in the home screen keeps you posted about the security level of your PC. As long as it's green, you're good to go.

A desktop gadget is also installed alongside the main program, and whilst it offers quick access to a number of Total Security 2013's features, it's a rather large and ugly presence on your desktop.

We feel that, like many desktop gadgets, this one is bound to be turned off, no matter how good its intentions are.

The virus scan itself isn't the quickest we've seen, but it does a thorough job. A deep scan took nine minutes on a large, yet mainly empty hard drive.

It's also relatively light, with CPU usage peaking at 80 per cent, but mainly staying around the 30 per cent mark.

This meant that we were able to use the test PC for other light computing tasks whilst the scan took place in the background.

After the scan has completed you get a list of the threats found (if any) and the action taken.

Unlike some antivirus programs, there's no easy link to find out more about the threats found on your computer, though you do get the names.

An 'autopilot' mode detects when you're playing games or other intensive computing tasks and configures the level of protection (and the required resources needed) so that your computer doesn't crawl to a halt.

Verdict

Overall Bitdefender Total Security 2013 is another solid entry from Bitdefender, with a powerful antivirus engine and some great new features that makes Bitdefender Total Security 2013 a great purchase to protect your PC.