Sophos is a free antivirus software that protects against most types of malware, namely: viruses, spyware, adware, rootkits, ransomware, and inappropriate websites.
Their remote monitoring and management was originally designed for IT businesses and professionals, but this sophisticated software has been expanded to protect home users. This is unique to Sophos because business features are not usually offered on the side of free antivirus products.
Users can manage the security settings from a single browser for the whole family for up to 10 PCs and Macs.
Sophos Home - Dashboard
Now I will give a brief background and the key points worth knowing about Sophos Home.
The masterminds behind Sophos are Jan Hruska and Peter Lammer from Abingdon, England.
In 1985 they came up with encryption and remote control antivirus management software that changed the lives of many worldwide.
To be specific, Sophos helps secure the networks of 100 million people in 150 countries. They also secure businesses such as Under Armour, Pixar, Xerox, Toshiba, Northrop Grumman, Avis, and Ford.
Key Points about Sophos
To keep this short but informative, here are some important points to learn about Sophos in your journey of picking the suitable antivirus software.
Received awards from AV Comparatives, Tom's Guide, Softonic, and Softpedia.
It has good scores from independent antivirus labs, such as AV test. AV Test put the Endpoint Security and Control 10.6 to the test, but the features on this apply to the free antivirus I am referring to. This means that the business product results are a pretty good indication of the free product. For detailed data and results and to compare other antivirus vendors' results, use our antivirus lab test results calculator.
System Requirements: Windows 7-10; Mac OS X 10.8-10.12. 2GB of RAM and 1GB of free disk space.
No phone or email support for the free Home product, but there are numbers and mails on the website without having to buy or sign up for products. For technical issues there is a Help button at the bottom right corner of the main window that navigates to the main web page with software walk-throughs and FAQs.
The user interface is simple and clean. At the top there is a large banner that displays the security status and a button to view any pending alerts. There is also a button next to this banner that opens the dashboard. The dashboard has the full scan launch pad that displays the scan progress in the main window. On and off buttons are provided for Web Protection, Automatic Virus Protection, and Potentially Unwanted App Detection. One issue is that every time a user opens Sophos, he/she has to respond to the User Account Control alert.
It takes about 15 minutes to install this free remote control antivirus management software. Once a user installs Sophos, there is the option to register an account and begin adding computers to the system. Once installation takes place, a user can add new web filters and start a virus scan immediately.
An initial scan can take up to 37 minutes which isn't the fastest. A second scan can take just about the same amount of time. Users can perform on-demand scans locally or remotely. Sophos's technology uses a utility that can scan ZIP archives.
The remote management is the best part because users can create free accounts and access them through the online dashboard from a PC or Mac anywhere in the world. The remote management is designed in order to install the software directly or to send a link to install the antivirus on another device. Once protection is installed for the devices, a user can use the dashboard to control and monitor remotely the installation. What's more, users can enjoy an ad-free experience with no pop-ups and with no credit card information prompts.
Sophos uses the traditional behavioral-based heuristic monitoring and signature-based malware identification techniques to flag down suspicious files. The software makes a connection between the suspicious files and activities using real-time threat intelligence from SophosLabs.
Some of the other excellent features to expect are good anti-phishing protection, strong performance in malicious URL blocking, a shield against spyware and adware, and browser-based functions without extensions or plugins. Another element Sophos includes in the free software is parental control which blocks unwanted categories of websites and records any attempts of users who try to navigate to the blocked sites. The latter is achieved with a "network driver" feature that analyzes web traffic.
Some setbacks of the software are that the malware blocking is less impressive, there is no firewall, tracker blocking, or virtual keyboards, and there aren't many security features besides for the malware scanning, which means there is no email protection.
Sophos has secured IT professionals and businesses for over 30 years, so home users can rest assured to be safeguarded from potential malware attacks.
The best part is that the software is free so there is no harm in putting it to the test to see if it suits all the basic needs.
If you are looking for very sophisticated features that go beyond antivirus prevention and extend to internet security threats, then maybe another antivirus vendor is a better option.