Sophos was founded by Jan Hruska and Peter Lammer and began producing its first antivirus and encryption products in 1985. During the late 1980s and into the 1990s, Sophos primarily developed and sold a range of security technologies in the UK, including encryption tools available for most users (private or business). In the late 1990s, Sophos concentrated its efforts on the development and sale of antivirus technology, and embarked on a program of international expansion.
Sophos Group plc is an English security software and hardware company. Sophos develops products for communication endpoint, encryption, network security, email security, mobile security and unified threat management. Sophos is primarily focused on providing security software to the mid market and pragmatic enterprise from 100 to 5000 Seat organizations. Whilst not a primary focus, Sophos also protects home users, through a free antivirus software (Sophos Home) intended to demonstrate product functionality. Sophos Home Premium Mac is the paid version.
INSTALLATION and SETUP
Sophos released two versions to suit any user, Sophos Home (free) and Sophos Home Premium (paid). We review the paid version Sophos Home Premium Mac as it offers ‘all the goodies’ needed for perfect security off and online. Installation is somewhat different to normal antivirus applications as Sophos Home Premium is a cloud based application.
Once you created and activated your personal online Sophos account, all configuration settings are easily available and require no special skills or knowledge. The available set of features, and cloud-based configuration, make it an outstanding offer.
WHY A CLOUD BASED ANTIVIRUS
With Sophos Home Premium Mac, you can easily view and manage computer security for anyone in your network or – whether they’re in the same house or in another country. Sophos Home Premium covers up to 10 devices on Mac or PC and provides full protection for each. Adding a device is simply done by sending a created link to the device you wish to add and follow the the instructions.
Sophos Home Premium for Mac allows users to easily manage security settings for registered devices directly from a browser by logging in at home.sophos.com. This ensures private users access to the “Dashboard,” giving them the ability to manage multiple devices, regardless of their location. The Dashboard allows new Mac’s or PC’s to be quickly and easily added, configured, and remotely scanned. Scheduled scans can be also be individually deployed and modified for each computer from the Dashboard. Notifications are provided, including information about scan results and security alerts for all devices. Sophos Home Premium central management is also very handy if you’re intending to install Sophos on multiple devices, as it enables viewing and managing everyone’s protection from one place.
Sophos appears in MacOS as just a system menu item with a few options, such as the ability to perform a manual scan. Because the software protects a system in real time, the scan function is needed only if protection is otherwise paused.
- Benefits: The cloud-based approach allows to push updates to its interface without requiring a user download, and it also has the maybe most robust remote management.
SOPHOS HOME PREMIUM and SCORES
Mac AV-TEST scores are very good, but not the best possible as it detected 98.4 percent of macOS malware, over 95 percent of macOS PUA. These scores are from 12-2017 and Sophos didn’t run the AV-test in 2019 and 2020, but their Sophos Endpoint scored top marks in 2019. We do not know if all versions ‘home users’ and ‘business’ run the same scanning engine. But the scores are very good independent of any version used. Sophos Home Premium central management could also be very handy if you’re intending to install Sophos on multiple devices, as it enables viewing and managing everyone’s protection from one place.
PROTECTION and BEHAVIOUR
- MacOS malware was found as soon as a (infected) file was unzipped from an archive.
- Sophos prevented loading malicious web-pages software via the WICAR test site. All test were intercepted by Sophos !
- Sophos has 15+ processes running in the background.
- Sophos did not allow killing of running processes, it kept protecting files.
- The cloud-based approach allows to push updates to its interface without requiring a user download.
- Sophos provides real-time protection.
SOPHOS HOME PREMIUM FEATURES
Online Banking Protection
- Sophos Home Premium protects your banking and credit card information from being intercepted by third-parties and key-logger software. Their advanced technologies have earned the MRG Effitas certification for Secure Online Banking. Again a bonus for safety and piece of mind.
- Sophos Home warns a user when an outside source is attempting to access their webcam or microphone, offering them the option to allow or block the action. This provides peace of mind to users and prevents anyone viewing or listening without user consent.
- Sophos Home utilizes a global database and blacklist of known malicious sites. This prevents users from visiting sites that are harmful, contain phishing threats, or include malicious code. The system also adds additional layers of security around common browsers, such as Google Chrome and Internet Explorer, hardening the browser process by layering on advanced exploit protection.
- A lot of our customers find themselves being labeled as their family’s personal “IT help desk.” To address this, we’ve included innovative remote management tools that allow users to easily view and manage computer security for anyone in their life – whether they’re in the same house or in another country.Sophos Home allows users to easily manage security settings for registered devices directly from a browser by logging in at home.sophos.com. This provides users access to the “Dashboard,” giving them the ability to manage multiple devices, regardless of their location. The Dashboard allows new PC’s to be quickly and easily added, configured, and remotely scanned. Scheduled scans can be also be individually deployed and modified for each computer from the Dashboard. Notifications are provided, including information about scan results and security alerts for all devices.
Real-time Mac Antivirus
- Sophos Home utilizes extensive Sophos Labs databases to constantly protect a user’s Mac from known viruses, Mac malware, Trojans, worms, bots, potentially unwanted apps (PUAs), ransomware, and more.
- Sophos protects your webcam from unlawful use of third parties.
- As one of only two companies offering ransomware-specific file monitoring, Sophos rises to the top with a proviso !! Top marks for Sophos, as this is a truly big bonus for any application.
CLOUD INTERFACE and PREFS
SOPHOS interface is absolutely great looking and well layed out. You may notice the SCAN button which you may want to use besides the Real-Time protection. This is where I wish to make a remark towards the developers of Sophos. The scan button ONLY activates scanning of ALL your Mac’s drive ! It does not provide a connected device menu for your external connected drives, nor the ability to choose a directory instead of going all the way scanning your >1 Tb. This should be implemented on next versions please ! You can however scan from within your Mac through Finder:
So, all included options are shown to you at the ‘Dashboard’, of your cloud interface. Now the ransomware part of Sophos is like any other antivirus application (Developer), partly accurate because Apple’s silent internal Unix based, XProtect feature has definitions for all known ransomware, blocking it from running. XProtect uses virus signatures, so cannot protect against new ransomware malware or variants, but will block anything already discovered. Sophos is a next step help to keep you safe from ransomware attacks.
* Sophos Home not only provides advanced protection against ransomware, it can detect a ransomware attack in progress, block it, and automatically roll back your files to an unencrypted state.
Sophos Home Premium also blocks/recognises outbound network to known malicious servers, malicious website blocking, web filtering for parental control, and does alert its user for mic and webcam usage. Sophos handles the web and network stuff via its kernel extension, which examines all traffic and allows central management of options. As these days securing your documents and/or important data, is of upmost importance to have a Ransomware Protection function like Sophos available.
Better safe then sorry, as you never want to experience a real hack of your computers data, as my experience tells me that most people don’t have full backups of their data available. We all think, ‘This will never happen to me’ ! Well think again, and take steps in securing your valuable data.
* Small objection is the automatic log out from Sophos website (Cloud ). Is this a bug, or a well chosen safety feature, I can’t tell really !
🧰 NASTY UNINSTALL
In case you ever want to part with Sophos Home Premium, an uninstall app is available, however there is a ‘nasty leftover’ from any uninstall
procedure ! You’re stuck with an extension which won’t let itself to be removed by the admin :
No matter how hard you try, this extension keeps coming back. The basic ‘admin rights’ are not enough to deal with this extension. You
may try to undo the Mac’s SIP protection and do a ‘safe reboot’ in order to gain some access to the file. This needs to be fixed by Sophos !
Sophos Home Premium provides the best of different routines, providing total safety, malware protection, PUA protection, ransomware monitoring. You automatically will always run its latest version and with the latest virus definitions available. No need to run an update for the application anymore nor make sure to update the virus definitions, as it all runs automatically in the cloud. Its Cloud configuration is generous and is easy to adjust to your wishes. The basic licensing for 10 devices is outstanding, protecting your family or company, all at an unbeatable price per device.
We really are impressed with Sophos new approach to Cloud experience, providing the best of both worlds for all users and especially administrators of companies controlling all in company systems. To sum it all up, you can’t beat its price per device !