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Sharing Subscription With Family Members. Any Explanation?

Hi all,

I've just purchased Bitdefender Premium which has a 10 device licence. The reason I bought this was to protect all family devices and, based on the information on the Bitdefender website, thought that this would be done by each member of the family creating their own Bitdefender Central account and for that account to be linked back to my main subscription (with each device added reducing the number of available items under my subscription). I also thought that I could share all of the functions of the Premium subscription, including password manager, but this however doesn't appear to be the case.

When I send a link to download the mobile protection app onto a family member's mobile device the application is installed with my account details and not under their own Bitdefender Central account. I am also not able to share the password manager and the VPN seems to want me to "log-in" when it is being installed (which to me creates a security risk, particularly if you're sharing the subscription with a friend).

I've queried all of this with the support desk and have been told that the above is correct, despite this being contrary to the advice on their website and YouTube videos.

Has anyone else experienced this or have any suggestions? Whilst the product itself may be good, the way that it is shared is something that leaves a lot to be desired and would be the reason why I will not subscribe again once this current (and new) subscription ends.

Hopefully someone can tell me that I'm just doing something wrong and that there is an ease (and sensible) solution here.

Answers

  • Gjoksi
    Gjoksi DEFENDER OF THE YEAR 2022 / DEFENDER OF THE MONTH ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2023

    Hello.

    The problem occured when your family members created their own Bitdefender Central account.

    You can't share your subscription with them, it is impossible.

    Their devices can only be connected to your account, i mean to your subscription and to your Bitdefender Central account.

    Let's put it this way:

    I have a valid subscription (license) for Bitdefender Total Security for 10 (ten) devices. I gave my brother, my father and my mother my subscription details (e-mail and password) and they used them to register Bitdefender Total Security on my brother's Acer laptop and Bitdefender Mobile Security on his Lenovo Tab 2. Also my father used my subscription details for his mobile phone and my mother used my subscription details for her mobile phone.

    BUT, those 4 devices are connected to my Bitdefender Central account, because like i already said they used my subscription details for activating the Bitdefender products. They can create their own personal Bitdefender Central account, but if they connect those 4 devices to their own account, they will lose the valid subscription (my subscription) for those 4 Bitdefender products. Also, i fully control those 4 devices via my Bitdefender Central account. If i choose to remove them from my Bitdefender Central account, they will lose the valid subscription (my subscription) for them.

    This is a screenshot from my Bitdefender Central account:

    So, do the steps from this article:

    and connect the installed Bitdefender products on your family member's devices to YOUR subscription.

    Also, you as a Bitdefender Central account owner will have (full) access ONLY to the Bitdefender app(s) installed on your family member's devices, like doing a malware scan, anti-theft, update etc., which can be done remotely from your Bitdefender Central account by clicking on the button, for example "Malware Scan".

    In short words: You can connect maximum 10 devices to your Bitdefender Central account / Bitdefender subscription.

    Regards.

  • Thanks for your response. I think that it is madness that you are expected to share your login credential with anyone else, these are, after all, your Bitdefender Central login credentials and they give such third parties (family or otherwise) access and control over your account UNLESS you take their device and log-in yourself. In an age where security and privacy are key (and this is after all an application which is supposed to enhance that), it seems that Bitdefender have taken the lazy approach rather than allowing the subscription to the shared via a link which can then be activated within the other users own Bitdefender Central account (which actually is what their website says). As I'm within my first 30 days I'll be looking for an alternative solution and obtaining a refund as this just isn't a security conscious way of sharing a subscription and I should not be able to track or wipe data on another person's device. I really hope these posts are monitored by Bitdefender as they do need to take some action.

  • Alexandru_BD
    Alexandru_BD admin
    edited January 2023

    Hello @Basiliskers,

    Bitdefender Central is an online platform for managing all your Bitdefender products and subscriptions. From Central, you can control security for yourself and your entire family. As the owner of the license, you can activate and manage your subscriptions, install protection, track your lost devices and run remote scans and optimizations on the covered devices, all in one place. Here's a quick guide for the Central account and its features:

    I think there has been a misunderstanding regarding the Central functionality and its relation with the Bitdefender antivirus installed on the devices. When protecting other devices, it is not necessary to share your Central account credentials with anyone else. You can do that, If you wish, but it's not mandatory for members of your family to have access to your Central account, in order to protect their devices using a slot from your subscription.

    Subscriptions come with a limited number of slots to protect either Windows PCs, Macs, smartphones & tablets running Android, iOS, or all of these operating systems in one suite. To protect other devices, simply access the 'My Devices' tab in Central and select 'Other devices':

     Select one of the three options to send a Bitdefender download link to another device:

    • QR code – Open your smartphone’s or tablet’s camera to scan the QR code.
    • Copy link – Copy to clipboard the download link and share it in a direct message.
    • Email link – Enter a valid email address to email the link to any of your devices.

    When a family member uses the link, they will see that the invitation was sent from you, but they will not require your Central account credentials to install protection. They will be shown the following message:

    They simply need to click on 'download and install' and follow the steps on the screen. The message also specifies that the Central account holder (you) will be able to view and perform certain remote tasks on the machine and this is normal, since you are the subscription owner. It doesn't happen the other way around, the owners of the other devices covered by your subscription cannot perform such remote tasks, they can perform them locally on their machines.

    Once they have installed protection, their antivirus will be linked to your Central account, as this is where it draws its validity and configuration from. When opening the Bitdefender interface, your account e-mail address will be displayed on the top right hand corner. But this doesn't mean that they have access to your Central account, this is informative, so that they know to which Central account they are linked. They are only required to enter credentials if they wish to link their Bitdefender product to a different account, for example if they choose to purchase their own subscription and activate it, they can select the 'Switch account' option and enter THEIR Central account credentials and the antivirus configuration will change according to the subscription active there, if any. If there is no subscription active in that Central account, they will receive the message that their devices are no longer protected.

    Let me know if I was able to provide more clarity on this matter.

    It's like using a streaming service on multiple devices, except that you don't have to log on every device to benefit from the subscription, you login once and give others the right to use your license without them actually logging into your account, if that makes sense. But they will see that their software belongs to an account and that's normal.

    Regards

    Premium Security & Bitdefender Endpoint Security Tools user

  • Hi Alexandru, thanks for the response. Whilst I agree that, for anti-virus, there is no need for me to provide my Bitdefender Central log-in details to them but, for them to have access to the VPN application (which forms part of my subscription), the same does not apply. For the VPN application, if they are to have access to this part of my subscription I either need to log-in on their device, or, give them my log-in details (neither ideal). They also have no access to the password manager at all unless I'm willing to give them access to all of my passwords and they likewise (and with each other), which goes totally against all security protocols.

    Whilst, in general, I am impressed with the quality of scanning, threat detection etc. provided by Bitdefender Total Security (which is included in the Premium licence that I have purchased), I'm really not happy with how the distribution of the device/license "slots" works or that I have to receive notifications via Bitdefender Central of potentially malicious websites that other users may be visiting (e.g. another user visited educational websites where copies of past exam papers, sample answers etc., were available and I received about 10 warning notifications in about 6 minutes (resulting in me turning off such notifications in the settings - which really isn't ideal but with 10 "slots" available and these being shared between multiple users, the chances of this happening is quite high). I could understand this if the accounts were marked as children accounts, but in my case all are adults.

    Finally, to make matters even worse, some of the members of my family have installed the Total Security/Mobile Security application on Apple devices and they have seen a very significant reductions in battery life. I've done a bit of research on this and it appears that Bitdefender are aware of this issue and have been working on finding a solution since MAY 2022 (which really is not an acceptable timeframe). Of course a possible solution to both of the above is to turn-off website protection (and background app refresh), but again this means reducing the overall functionality and protection (a key reason for installing such software) of the application.

    Taking all things into consideration it is becoming more and more likely that I will simply cancel my subscription before the first 30 days has expired and find an alternative solution (hopefully one that allows all functionality to be shared with each user and one that allows each user to have their own sub-account under my master license).

  • Hello @Basiliskers and thank you for following up on the thread.

    In regard to the VPN, there are two possible causes for this. Either the install link you have sent has expired, or was sent to someone else, OR the product is linked to a different Central account, as you have stated that the family members also have their own personal accounts. The easiest way to check would be to bring up the VPN interface and see what Central account is being shown there. If the VPN is successfully installed and linked to your e-mail address and account, they do not require to enter your credentials at all. The VPN is installed alongside the security solution and should be available without any additional login.

    In the event the antivirus is linked to your Central account, but the VPN displays a different thing, then yes, it will be necessary for them to re-enter the account credentials one time only, to sync the VPN service.

    In regard to the standalone Password Manager (not Wallet), a multi-user feature is in the works. For the time being, the extension does not allow multiple profiles.

    As the main account holder, since you have the authority to perform certain tasks on the protected machines, you are also informed in Central of the security status of all devices covered by your subscription.

    The battery drain on iOS is also being investigated and the development teams recently launched the build version 6.3.5 containing improvements made to decrease battery consumption. Another update will follow mid-January, with further optimizations that will allow us to continue the battery stabilization process. Check for the build version and update, if necessary.

    The battery consumption topic has been discussed intensively on the forum, with reports stretching back to May 2022 indeed. However, the issue is not ongoing since, as it got fixed at some point, but resurfaced later on with subsequent OS updates, so the engineers were back on the drawing board and had to restart the investigations to find a permanent solution. While it may seem that it lasted for so long, there are so many things happening in the background. This intermittent behaviour and its resolution took longer than expected, also because iOS is a more strict environment than other main operating systems. Apple holds certain permissions and functions to themselves, thus access is more restricted to third party developers such as ourselves and changes must pass through an approval process. Then there is the testing phase which, depending on the results, may take some time to complete.

    Several workarounds and recommendations were proposed to optimize battery consumption and the latest updates concerning the status of this investigation can be found in the thread below:

    Last but not least, Bitdefender does not warrant that the solution will meet your requirements. In the event you are not satisfied with your purchase, you can cancel your subscription anytime within 30 days from the date of purchase. No matter your antivirus of choice, stay protected, as cybercrime is rising and showing no signs of slowing down.

    Best regards,

    Alex

    Premium Security & Bitdefender Endpoint Security Tools user

  • When you install on a family members device they must sign in or the new device owner has to create an account. If the Bitdefender license owner does not sign in then the installed app defaults to the 30 day free version for the newly created account. The details on download link tying back to the license owner are ignored.

    A great product but it appears that at every opportunity the functionality defaults to trying to complicate things so that users are encouraged to sign up for things they already have. e.g. unused licenses that cannot be used unless user names and passwords are shared across different device owners in the same household.

    My Microsoft Family account has software that allows use across devices but doesn't try to trick the other family members into buying more licenses, they create accounts but tie back to the central account and never know my password.