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Isn't not being able to use Web Protection AND VPN an oddity/dysfunction?

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Rob B
Rob B A confusing mess

Just purchased Bitdefender Premium for my Macs and iPhone. After almost being driven nuts by BD Central warning me that Web Protection has AGAIN been turned off I began searching for answers. I found, to my dismay, that both VPN and Web Protection cannot be used simultaneously on iOS! First, don't you think that problem should be shared with potential users before they purchase? I may have missed it but it is my recollection that no hint of this was provided by BD while I was considering the purchase. If, as I recall, it was not made clear then why not? Could it be this very strange fact was not clearly revealed for the very reason it undermines the effectiveness of the product? As I understand it, those who defend this strange situation recommend you use Web Protection when you believe you will be visiting questionable websites? Really? How is one, not an expert in the field, supposed to know which websites require Web Protection and which don't? I thought I was purchasing a product designed to determine that for me! So, if I want to be anonymous I must risk subjecting myself to malicious software!! Without knowing which websites are potentially dangerous why would anyone turn off Web Protection and take the risk? That defeats the whole point of purchasing an antivirus product in the first place. A limitation like this should be made clear to new customers so they can decide if it makes sense or not.

Apparently this is not a problem when using a Mac computer. That makes sense. Yet, when using iOS devices the BD product is unexpectedly and substantially hobbled. Let me ask this, does the incompatibility of these two features also occur when using an Android-based phones? As I have not read this is a problem with Android-based phones I suppose it isn't. If PCs, Macs, and Android phones do not have this problem then it would seem to me that, relative to these three classes, iOS -based devices are uniquely at risk, a point which should be made clear to potential buyers.

This situation is INDEED dysfunctional. I think this issue should be something raters of Mac Antivirus products share when reviewing such products. I anticipate contacting some about this. It seems some people in this forum defend the situation as something a customer learns about but can somehow deal with. Really? If I was informed enough to know which websites I should avoid my need for Web Protection would be rather limited, wouldn't it?

Bottom line, this problem is one that decreases the expected effectiveness of the BD product for those using iOS devices, causes the user to guess which tool should be used when, and increases the risk of a user being affected by malware if they make the wrong choice. I strongly recommend the iOS limitations of the product be stipulated to potential buyers - after all, if the issue is not, as some here say, a big deal then why not illuminate this significant shortcoming in product specifications/literature? Concealing the issue from potential buyers seems to support my contention that this problem is perceived to be an obstacle to sales.

I am surprised and disappointed.


Rob

Answers

  • Rednik
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    I agree with your comments entirely, I have just purchased VPN premium because I didn’t think my Bitdefender Mobile Security was sufficient. Now I can’t use VPN protection if I have Web Protection turned on WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY.

  • Alexandru_BD
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    Hello,

    This is indeed a popular topic in the community. The reasoning and explanation behind this functionality can be found on several threads. The following article explains that Web Protection and VPN cannot be used at the same time, and surely you have seen it being mentioned here a couple of times:

    VPN and Web Protection have different purposes, and you should turn them on depending on your needs. For example, if you want to do some online transactions on your banking site while being connected to an airport or a public WIFI, you should turn on the VPN, for encrypting & anonymising all your traffic. If you are especially browsing on all kind of new sites that could look suspicious, then Web Protection would be of greater help, making sure that the domains you are accessing are not exposed to online threats (like malware, phishing, miner) by blocking access to dangerous pages. It's not really necessary to have the VPN enabled all the time, and you can keep Web Protection enabled as the main defense, to ensure you don't land on malicious websites and turn on VPN only when required.

    Web Protection uses a special VPN to filter all Internet traffic by scanning the connections for malicious and fraudulent content, so it will trigger the VPN symbol on your iOS device when active. Because a single VPN profile can be used at a time, both features cannot work simultaneously and I think this would also have a negative impact on the battery.

    In the event you are not satisfied with the product and its functionality, you may obtain a refund by sending your request at refunds@bitdefender.com within 30 days of your initial purchase or of the automatic renewal date.

    I hope the information is helpful.

    Regards,

    Alex

    Premium Security & Bitdefender Endpoint Security Tools user

  • Rob B
    Rob B A confusing mess
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    Alex,


    Thank you for the response. I guess we will have to agree to disagree. However, I did want to address your comment on how I must surely "have seen it mentioned here a couple times". I did not. Please understand, I do not live on this forum. I have only visited twice as I recall. So, no, I did not see anything about this VPN & Web Traffic dysfunction. As I stated, I read and studied the marketing literature and specs and also read a couple of antivirus reviews and I don't recall ever reading about this incompatibility. I purchased the Premium product over the Total protection in order to get unlimited VPN - not knowing that it was actually limited when Web protection was selected. My point in writing was to make others aware of what I did not know before purchasing and to suggest to the company they should do a better job letting potential customers know about this issue. Technically, it is not accurate to just say a user gets unlimited VPN when they purchase Premium. There's more to it than that. That's all I have to say about the matter.

    Regards,

    Rob

  • Alexandru_BD
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    Hello @Rob B and thanks for your reply.

    Of course, we appreciate your feedback around here and we are happy to see members sharing their opinions about the Bitdefender products in the community, since this benefits both the existing and potential users, but also the product teams in their quest to improve and further develop the solution set. I take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to visit our community and share your experience here, and it goes without saying that we can always agree to disagree. In fact, I think disagreements are the most valuable, as they offer important insights on usage and customers' needs.

    From the technical perspective, the Premium VPN does offer unlimited traffic and the possibility to select the desired server. It can be used on all supported operating systems that the security solution can cover, Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. This means that the unlimited traffic is by no means restricted by the operating system and can be used freely on iOS as well. It's just that the VPN, be it standard or premium, cannot function alongside Web Protection on iOS and this was not categorized as a dysfunction, but a limitation (not to be confused with a traffic limitation).

    Since this particular functionality became one of the frequently asked questions about Bitdefender Mobile Security, the support article that I've shared above was created, and I assumed you already ran into it on the forum, because it's quite popular. The article is actually located in the Support Center knowledgebase, where you can find more information on Bitdefender products along with FAQs, user guides, various instructions and remediation steps for the most common issues encountered by users.

    Regards,

    Alex

    Premium Security & Bitdefender Endpoint Security Tools user

  • I have bills to pay and cannot do this online anymore. Then there are websites that won't let me visit with this damn VPN on. All I need!!! to do is temporarily turn it off. Where is the off switch? I do like Bitdefender, but right now the only alternative is to delete Bitdefender if no help arrives.

  • Alexandru_BD
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    Hi @luangwablondes,

    You can simply turn it off by clicking the ON/OFF button on the UI.

    If you are having trouble accessing websites while the VPN is on, check this article for remediation steps:

    https://www.bitdefender.com/consumer/support/answer/13353/

    I hope this helps.

    Regards,

    Alex

    Premium Security & Bitdefender Endpoint Security Tools user

  • enrico2828
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    I also found it confusing to see that on iOS Bitdefender wep protection and vpn are mutually exclusive. Can they not be integrated better?

    • give VPN the option also to act as webfilter for malacious content (there is already an option to filter ads and trackers, just add another one)
    • the mobile security app seems not to be aware of vpn app, it prompts you to use it, but when I do, it will complain that wep protection is turned off. either integrate the two into one app, or make them aware of each other. if my first point is implemented, vpn will also include web protection, and the apps' statuses should reflect that

  • Alexandru_BD
    Alexandru_BD admin
    edited June 10
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    Hi @enrico2828,

    Thanks for sharing your feedback here.

    On iOS, the Web Protection feature uses a VPN profile to scan traffic actively and block malicious content in real-time. iOS restricts the use of multiple VPN apps simultaneously due to limitations in its network configuration, allowing only one VPN tunnel at a time. Consequently, Web Protection and VPN cannot work at the same time. Enabling Web Protection while the VPN is active will result in disconnection of the existing VPN session and vice versa.

    Actually, this is more of a iOS limitation and not an antivirus dysfunction.

    Regards,

    Alex

    Premium Security & Bitdefender Endpoint Security Tools user

  • enrico2828
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    Hello @Alexandru_BD thanks for the extensive answer. I still feel my point was not quite clear. I would like for the Bitdefender VPN to include the feature of Bitdefender Webprotection. So when I turn on VPN, it will include the malware detection. I think the Webprotection is based on DNS, you could include that in the VPN as well. And then make the Bitdefender Mobile Security app aware of Bitdefender VPN being turned on, so that it can check that security is enabled. That way it would be a nice round up package and make total sense to actually purchase both products.

    Including malware detection in the VPN would also distinguish yourself from all the numerous VPN competitors out there.

  • Alexandru_BD
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    Hello @enrico2828,

    I will do my best to elaborate on my previous comment and to better explain the context here.
    Technically speaking, the two features are designed separately and should function as such, because they serve different purposes and the iOS limitations don't allow further development here. Otherwise, if a technical solution or workaround was available, it would certainly have been implemented by now. As you can imagine, this is a topic that has been intensively discussed on the forum, and the conclusions were the same then as they are now.
    One of the characteristics that defines this operating system and sets it apart from the others is that Apple holds primary functions in some areas for themselves.

    Like it happens with macOS, which is a much more strict environment than Windows, mirroring the same in-depth technologies available on Windows is not possible on Mac, due to the limited access provided to developers.
    In the same fashion, the product developers do not have a free hand to configure the BMS application and VPN as they would like on iOS, due to some restrictions set by the OS provider.

    I hope things are clearer now.

    Regards,

    Alex

    Premium Security & Bitdefender Endpoint Security Tools user