Sophos Antivirus Review

There is a sea of Antivirus options available in the market these days. Sophos Antivirus has been in the game for more than thirty years, which is more than enough to have established itself as a trusted product. Sophos Antivirus offers three versions of its products for personal use-Sophos Home Free, Sophos Home Premium PC, and Sophos Home Premium MAC. Sophos support all major platforms including Android, Mac, and Windows. The premium subscription is not only affordable, but it also offers protection for up to 10 devices at a time. It boasts of comprehensive protection, parental controls, and heuristic virus detection. It is lightweight and does not affect system performance. Setting up the product isn’t at all difficult, however, you are required to make an account to use your antivirus. The premium version supports live chats and live chats. But the paid version only supports emailing, which takes longer to fetch a reply.

Features-

Identity and Privacy Protection

The premium version claims to blocks unauthorized access to keystrokes and webcams.   It also claims to protect against providing protection password-stealing malware.

Banking and Transaction Protection

It prevents keylogging and other malware that might try to steal your credit card or bank information.

Al Threat Detection

The antivirus also claims to have configured the software in a way that it uses artificial intelligence to catch malware.

Heuristic Malware Detection

Heuristic detection refers to detecting malware by matching it to behavioral characteristics of malware. It helps to detect even the most malicious and hidden malware.

Premium Customer Support

The users of the free version can drop an email anytime and also attack pictures as proof. The users of the paid version can enjoy the live chat and live emailing features and get their queries solved instantly.

Real-time protection

Real-time protection protects your computer from all ongoing activities in real-time It catches malware as soon as the program is accessed. This feature runs in the background without affecting your PC’s performance.

Protection against advanced Malware and Ransomware

It provides protection against phishing for browsing and claims to protect against the strongest of ransomware.

Deep Cleaning of the system

The software acts not just a virus removal tool, it also claims to remove any residue of the malware removed. It scans the system for malware and remove all files that are harmful or even potentially harmful.

30 day free trial of Sophos Premium

Sophos Antivirus Premium version offers a free 30-day trial so that users can get firsthand experience of the software before buying.

Parental Control Tools

This is an amazing tool if your whole family including kids uses a single computer. You can block access to certain websites to restrict the content your child views online. The categories are divided into three groups: Adults and potentially inappropriate, social networking and computing, and general interest. For each category you can ask Sophos to block access or display a warning, but Sophos will log the activity regardless.

Web Filtering

This feature helps to filter out malicious websites and helps you to stop access to these sites using content type. ( drugs, pornography, etc)

Alerts Log

The users can see the malware that the computer has been protecting it against in a log form.

Remote Management

Both Sophos Home Free Antivirus and Premium Antivirus offer this feature. This feature allows you to exercise control over multiple network connections from one device. However, it does not impact systems performance excessively, during scans or real-time background running.

Pros and Cons-

Pros-

  • Affordable and easy to install
  •  Easy configuration
  • User-friendly interface
  • Remote Manager
  • Parental control
  • Webcam and keystroke protection
  • Banking and transaction safety
  • AI Threat Detection
  • 30Day free Premium trial
  • Offers protection against wiper attacks
  • Protects up to 10 devices
  • Files can be excluded from the scan

Cons-

  • No lab tests available for performance measuring
  • Quick scans aren’t available
  • average phishing protection
  • Full scans can take hours in free version
  • Login is required to access advanced settings and configurations
  • No email protection
  • No firewall or VPN services
  • No Password Manager

Different Packs and Pricing- Free and Premium

The Sophos Home free is one of the most widely used antiviruses today. The free version offers many features such as remote management, web filtering, and even parental controls. However, the free version takes more than an hour to conclude the full system scan,  whereas the paid version takes 20 to 30 minutes. The Free version protects up to three devices at once.  The free version provides a basic security for your pc but it sure lacks many efficient and fundamental security tools that are provided in the premium version such as- banking, privacy, and identity protection. The premium version can protect up to 10 devices, which makes it extremely cost-effective. The free version also lacks premium support, ransomware security, and advanced web security.

 The Premium version not only covers 10 devices, but the security is also centrally managed. It helps protect a large family network with multiple computers while you can manage all settings and devices in one convenient location.

Interface-

When you open the software, it shows the date and time of the last scan done, which helps to keep track of manual scans. The interface appears to be fairly simple and user-friendly.  There are simply two buttons one runs a full system scan and the other helps to configure the software. The main dashboard supports a minimalistic looking menu template. You can directly run scans, check recent activities and settings. But one drawback is that, to configure the software, you will have to log in to your account on the website. This can become an inconvenience for a user. On the website, everything is divided into three sections, web protection, virus protection, and privacy protection. The user can turn off real-time protection and turn it back on, as they please. Although the interface looks simple, the admin panel offers deeper and comprehensive configuration settings.

Scanning-

When clicked on the scan, Sophos Antivirus does not have an option for a quick scan however, you can exclude certain files or drives from scanning. It provides a USB scan, registry startup scan, antivirus scanning, and scheduled scanning.

It can perform manual scans either. The free edition requires more than an hour to complete a full system scan whereas, the paid version takes 20-25 minutes to complete a full system scan. You can scan a particular file or drive by clicking right on it and choosing “scan it with Sophos” option. To access the scheduled scan feature, you will be required to log in and this is the only way to configure the program and access settings.

It also protects against Potentially Unwanted Applications and blocks programs from connecting to malicious servers. It offers MBR protection, which helps to protect your computer’s defenses.

System Requirements

In Windows 7, both 32 bit and 64 bit, require minimum disk space of 300MB and 1GB minimum memory. Windows 8, 8.1 and Windows, required similar disk space but with the exception of 2GB minimum memory. The Mac is compatible with 10.11 up to 10.14, with a minimum requirement of 4gb free space on the hard drive and 4GB of RAM.

Performance and reliability-

In terms of performance, Sophos Antivirus boasts of an extreme level of advanced protection. However, user testing and average reviews have given it a score of better than average when it comes to performance. An antiviruses accuracy is based on its recent lab-testing, but Av Comparatives haven’t tested this product since 2016. Although it showed impressive results in 2016, it has changed since then.

In 2017, Av test included Sophos Home. AV test ranks an antivirus in three categories protection, performance, and usability. Sophos did score full marks in all three tests, making space for itself in the top ten antiviruses. In the AMTSO test, Sophos only passed two out of six tests.It failed in phishing protection and couldn’t detect compressed malware. It testes many false positives and deleted files without warnings. There are no current lab results that can be referred to. The phishing protection does offer a decent layer of protection for PCs but in simple user testing, it could not detect the latest malware. However, it was great at detecting Wicar examples and blocked every malicious URL. Hard drives can take longer than usual time to scan. Although the program may lack in phishing detection, it provides good protection against other malware and the scan sure gives a basic level of security to the PC. If the website you are downloading from has a low reputation, it advises you to skip the download.

The web protection works excellently and blocks all malicious sites from opening. It also issues warning in the form of pop-ups whenever a harmful page is about to be accessed. In terms of malware protection and removal, the antivirus proved to be better than average still managing to fetch false positives. It is also reported that it deletes innocent files without warnings. It cuts off access to dangerous URLs and for blacklisted URLs, it reported the website to be blocked. For new and undiscovered malicious website, it displayed a message content is blocked. Because the software works under the level, it could not replace HTTP pages with a warning. It reported HTTs pages though a pop-up while the browser displayed an error message.

The software lacks other basic security tools such as email protection, anti-spam, instant messaging protection, VPN Service and a personal firewall. The entire antivirus is controlled through its web portal, hence there is no need for you to install any application and you can access it from anywhere. Due to the centralized system, you can run checkups on licensed PCs, which is a unique feature. The master boot protection is an extremely useful and unique feature, as it protects the vulnerabilities of your computer and immunes it against deadly malware.

Installation and Customer Support-

You will have to buy a license online then login to Sophos account or create one to download a folder containing Sophos installer. After running the installer, it will take around 2 to 3 minutes for Sophos to be ready to use, during which you will be given options to decide system preferences and grant permission to the system for accessing drives and functions. Support is good, the response is quick and 24×7 technical support is viable.

For free version users, the customer support is pretty basic as you can submit email along with attachments and expect a reply within hours or days. However, the chat is currently available only in the English language. If you want direct and instant help from the company, the premium version supports live chat and live to email. You can see their FAQ section which is pretty basic and provides all the necessary information. Technical support is available 24×7 while customer care only works from Mondays to Friday and is available only for 24×5. Visiting their website for technical support is also a good option if you are seeking support, as they provide live chat options on their official website. The FAQ section is pretty detailed, along with pictures and can help you solve your query pretty quickly.

Final Verdict

 Sophos antivirus provides a good level of protection for the PC, centralized control, comprehensive parental control, master boot protection, and browser protection, it’s the lack of lab tests that make it a little difficult to trust. It lacks recent results from five major antivirus tests that are AV-test, AV-Comparatives, SE Labs, Virus Bulletin and MRG Effitas. But based on hands-on testing and customer review, the software fetched a good rank and is good at malware detection and removal overall. It is affordable, as you can protect up to three computers in the free version and up to 10 computers in the Premium version.

Overall, for giving your PC a basic level of protection, and supporting up to 10 computers at a time, this antivirus is cost-effective and good enough. However, it lacks certain features such as email protection, VPN services, password manager, file shredder and firewalls. But it kind of makes it up for the lack of features with the unique features as extensive parental control, comprehensive configuration, and master boot protection.

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