Sophos review: summary
Sophos is ranked #17 out of 28 antivirus software.
Sophos is a cybersecurity firm renowned for business software but also provides consumer-grade antivirus solutions. Testing revealed the robust capabilities of Sophos Home Premium, with its ability to successfully block and remove all malware types.
The software’s notable features include web protection, parental controls, and remote device management, supporting up to 10 devices. However, users must open Sophos’s online dashboard to access all features and settings, as the desktop app is somewhat limited.
Compared to competitors, Sophos lacks some features like PC optimization and VPN. More importantly, however, Sophos does not participate in the independent tests by AV-Test, which is not a good sign. Without these tests, we have no benchmark to compare it against. We would stick to one of the proven winners, such as Norton or Bitdefender.
If you want the best protection, we recommend Norton.
|Ranking||#17 of 28|
|Operating systems||Windows, macOS, iOS, Android|
Test score comparison
We’ve compared the 10 most recent test scores of all antivirus brands. The tests were performed by AV-Test, the German anti-malware test lab. They use three factors:
- Protection (1-6): Antivirus protection against malware attacks.
- Performance (1-6): System slowdown caused by the antivirus.
- Usability (1-6): Frequency of false alarms and disruptions.
We used their results, and this formula, to calculate the final score:
Final Score = 60% Protection + 20% Performance + 20% Usability.
Brands not listed in the table haven’t participated in the analysis by AV-Test. This is usually not a good sign. Because most reputable brands, except Panda, ESET, and Sophos, partake in the test.
Sophos antivirus review
Sophos Home Premium is a user-friendly antivirus protecting up to 10 computers and unlimited mobile devices. Its design simplicity makes it attractive to non-techies, while advanced settings and remote management appeal to tech-savvy users. Features are primarily managed on an online dashboard, which is simple to navigate.
Sophos Home Premium offers core antivirus features like malware and ransomware protection, AI-based real-time protection, webcam security, web protection, and parental web filtering. It also allows remote management of settings across multiple devices.
However, the Mac version lacks some features available in the PC version, like advanced web protection. The package also misses extras like VPN, secure cloud storage, password manager, or device optimization tools, offered by competitors such as Norton 360.
Sophos’s malware scanner, accessible via the desktop app or online dashboard, detected 97% of a wide range of malware samples, including zero-day threats. Real-time protection using AI blocked 100% of test malware. Unlike McAfee or Avira, Sophos doesn’t offer quick or custom scan options but does provide protection against malicious USB devices.
The remote management feature allows managing the program’s security features on multiple devices. To test this, a new device was added for remote management via the Sophos online dashboard. This enabled control over settings and functions, like running full system malware scans on remote devices.
Sophos’s web protection successfully blocked all dangerous sites, including malware and phishing sites, during testing. However, whitelisting blocked sites can be time-consuming. Sophos has unique features like safe online banking and Download Reputation setting. While most competitors require a separate browser security extension, Sophos doesn’t need one but works only on popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge.
Sophos Home Premium offers basic parental content filtering, allowing users to block or unblock entire site categories such as General Interest, Social Networking & Computing, and Adult & Potentially Inappropriate. Specific sites cannot be blacklisted, but can be whitelisted from the blocked categories.
It’s compatible with popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari. However, the filter is ineffective on lesser-known browsers, like Vivaldi. The parental controls lack usage limitations or location tracking, found in brands like Norton and McAfee, but provide basic supervision for young users.
Sophos Home Premium is the only plan offered for home users, costing €40.87/year. It provides antivirus protection for up to 10 computers and unlimited mobile devices, with features including malware scanning and removal, real-time and web protection, webcam and keylogger protection, basic parental controls, and remote device management.
A 30-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee offer a chance to test the service. If more comprehensive tools like a VPN, secure cloud storage, and device cleanup are desired, consider alternatives like Norton 360.
Although Sophos is a capable antivirus program, we prefer Norton, Bitdefender and McAfee for their exceptional anti-malware protection and wide range of advanced features.
How do we test antivirus software?
The best antivirus software offer virus protection, identity theft protection, and privacy protection for Windows, macOS, and Android. Some also offer security features for iOS and Linus.
To evaluate which providers are worth your money, we run 11 tests:
> Test 1: Anti-malware protection test
We analyze antivirus software’s capability to detect and eliminate known and unknown malware, using heuristic analysis for behavior monitoring.
We conduct in-house tests and analyze those from labs like AV-Test, SE Labs, and AV-Comparatives to determine the best malware protection.
Malware includes adware, keyloggers, ransomware, rootkits, spyware, trojans, viruses, worms, and more. Other cyber threats, usually not classified as malware, are (zero-day) exploits, hacks, identity theft, phishing attacks, scams, and social engineering.
> Test 2: False positives test
False positives occur when antivirus software misidentifies legitimate software, files, or websites as malicious. We rely on AV-Test’s large-scale analysis of false positives in its usability test to guide our evaluations.
> Test 3: System performance test
We measure the CPU load during antivirus software system scans and consider AV-Test’s performance results on the slowdown caused by antivirus software when opening websites and handling software.
> Test 4: Firewall test
We evaluate two-way firewalls that filter incoming and outgoing data and allow users to set rules to regulate data streams. We use the ShieldsUP! test to determine if the antivirus software blocks all ports.
> Test 5: Password manager test
We assess password managers’ ability to create, store, and autofill secure passwords, as well as additional features like two-factor authentication and biometric login.
> Test 6: Virtual Private Network (VPN) test
We evaluate built-in VPNs on their security, privacy, speed, compatibility with streaming services, unlimited data access, and support for peer-to-peer networks and torrent clients.
> Test 7: Parental control test
We examine parental control features, such as screen time rules, website/app blocking, and real-world location tracking. We test these features on a device and attempt to circumvent them, checking if the activity is accurately reported in the parental control admin.
> Test 8: Anti-phishing protection test
We evaluate antivirus browser extensions that block phishing sites by installing them and attempting to visit dangerous URLs.
> Test 9: Ransomware protection test
We assess security suites’ ability to prevent data encryption through exploit prevention and behavioral detection during ransomware attacks.
> Test 10: Bonus features test
We test any additional cybersecurity tools such as:
- Ad Blocker
- Dark web monitoring (identity protection)
- Email protection
- File encryption
- File shredder
- Gaming mode
- Microphone protection
- PC maintenance features
- Secure browser (hardened browser to protect your online banking)
- Secure cloud storage (cloud backup)
- Spam filter
- Startup optimizer
- Tune up tools
- Virtual keyboard
- Webcam protection
> Test 11: Operating system and multiple devices test
Operating system and multiple devices: We test antivirus software on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices and award bonus points for unlimited device protection.
> Test 12: Ownership and reputation test
We analyze the trustworthiness of antivirus companies, especially concerning customer data. We read press releases, news articles, and privacy policies to determine their reputation.
Sources and tools
Below are the sources and tools we’ve used to test the antivirus software:
- Apple Platform Security
- AV-Comparatives Consumer
- AV-Test Android
- AV-Test macOS
- AV-Test Windows
- GRC Firewall Test
- Microsoft Defender
- SpeedTest VPN
- Trustpilot Security Software
Author: Tibor Moes
Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab
Tibor is a Dutch engineer and entrepreneur. He has tested security software since 2014.
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