In the last few weeks, I have had the chance to test the antivirus Sophos Home Premiuman antivirus designed for personal computers, but which derives from the experience of Sophos that with its cybersecurity systems helps more than 280,000 organizations around the world to protect themselves from cyber threats.
Sophos Home is therefore born from the company’s desire to offer private users a level of protection identical to that adopted by companies and is available in two versions, Sophos Home is the free version and allows you to protect up to 3 devices between PC and Mac through an antivirus that acts in real time, with standard web protection and web filter for minors.
Sophos Home Premium is the paid version and is the one that provides the greater protection, with real-time protection that relies on behavior to defend devices from emerging threats and advanced ransomware, while also offering advanced web security, protection while using internet banking, privacy protection and advanced malware removal. With the premium version, the protected devices go up to 10 with a single license. Having made the necessary premises, let’s move on to the real experience we had with this protection software.
Sophos Home Premium registration and installation
The first thing to do to download Sophos Home is to go to the official website and click on the “Free Trial” button, the download of a file called SophosInstall.exe will start and at the end of the download you will need to open it to start the registration.
If, as in my case, you do not already have a Sophos account, you will be asked to enter some data, mainly email and password to be used for future access, after which the actual installation of the software will begin, which in my case took about 5 minutes for completion.
By downloading the free trial you have the opportunity to test for free Sophos Home Premium for 30 daysafter which you will have the option to continue with the free version or purchase a license to continue using the paid version with all features.
Dashboard and scan
Once the installation is complete, Sophos Home Premium will automatically start a scan of your PC, through which it will reveal any existing threats to eliminate them. The scanning process has left me a little dumbfounded due to some missing options that I personally think are essential, but let’s go in order.
During the scan, which can have variable duration since this also depends on the amount of files to be analyzed on your device, files considered potentially harmful begin to appear, if detected, but be careful because we are not only talking about malware and the like, but also files such as cookies that could track the user’s actions without the latter being aware of them or residual files that derive from previously installed or no longer used software.
When the scan is finished, a report of the files deemed harmful is shown and you can choose how to manage them. In reality, in the case of cookies and residues, you can proceed by selecting the complete elimination or going to select one by one those to be deleted, while this is not possible with those that are considered malicious and potentially unwanted apps, except for applications. identified as PUA (Potentially Unwanted Applications).
It is not possible to quarantine malware as Sophos Home Premium removes them automatically after detecting them. For apps identified as PUAs, it is possible to choose whether to authorize or remove them.
It also lacks options such as the ability to select the disk to scanand, or the ability to scan a folder or a single file. The button to start the scan is unique and does not provide any customization options, a lack that could weigh a lot for some users who may not want to perform a full scan every time if they are simply interested in checking a particular selection of files on which we have doubts.
I also happened to find my PC completely blocked during the first automatic scan, perhaps a simple coincidence since the subsequent scans went smoothly, but in any case it had not happened to me for a long time and I suspect that the scan was the trigger. .
Above you can see a screenshot of the Sophos Home Premium home, as you can see it is very simple and there are not many options available, in fact the nerve center of this software resides in the cloud and not on the machine, everything is in fact connected to the dashboardwhich can be accessed via a browser and which allows you to monitor all the devices connected to your account.
A dashboard to tame them, find them, catch them and chain them in the dark
Through the dashboard it is possible to view the status of each connected device, access the history of scans carried out and even start new ones remotely, having the ability to view the results when the scan is finished. The ability to manage everything in one place for multiple devices is very comfortable, but even in this case I found some flaws.
If I start a scan locally and try to start one on the same device remotely, I am not notified of the scan already in progress, rather it is as if one were queued remotely immediately after the local one. Likewise, there is no warning on the target device regarding the remotely initiated scan, which still has an impact on PC performance and could cause significant damage if you are doing something important and getting hindered at the wrong time.
I also noticed that in the history some scans started remotely are reported as completed, but no results are shown, probably this is due to the fact that no threats have been detected on the device, but if so I would suggest entering a simple message like “No threats detected”, just to dispel any user doubts.
Returning instead to the scanning issue, through the dashboard it is possible to set exceptions, for example, you can exclude a disk from Sophos Home Premium scanning. A feature that allows you to have a minimum customization of the scan, but which should be further investigated.
Web protection and privacy
As I told you before, Sophos Home Premium is not a simple antivirus, but a program that wants to offer 360-degree protection, and in fact among the various features we find web protection, a filter for browsing the internet and an option for safeguarding of privacy.
Web protection is based on a global database and a blacklist of sites known to be malicious. This prevents users from visiting sites that are known to be malicious or contain phishing and malware attacks. For PC users, Sophos Home Premium offers even more because digit keys typed in real timebefore they are transmitted to the browser.
It is a very effective countermeasure against keyloggers and other types of malware that act like Trojans. Sophos Home Premium also adds additional layers of security for popular browsers, such as Google Chrome and Internet Explorer, by hardening browser processes by applying an advanced level of protection against exploits.
There is also a filter for web browsing which allows you to block navigation on certain categories of sites, you can go to block sites that deal with particular topics or that contain certain types of content, or you can block navigation on certain social platforms. Also in this case it is possible to define exceptions to allow navigation on some sites and ensure that they are not blocked even if included in the filters.
The filters work discreetly but are not perfect, for example by blocking “Streaming and multimedia” Prime Video is obscured, but not Twitch. In the same way, by blocking particular contents by selecting for example violence, it is still possible to visit some sites that deal with similar topics. The filter therefore works in many cases but is not 100% efficient.
As for the privacy, there is an additional feature that alerts the user every time the webcam is used, for example, by starting a video call, a warning will appear in the upper right corner informing us of the use of the device. This function can be very useful in case the webcam is activated for malicious purposes, even if the warning disappears after about 10 seconds, so a careless user may not notice it, but I realize that opting for a more invasive warning would have brought several problems, especially for users who often have to deal with videoconferencing software and the like.
Sophos Home Premium is a very complete software, but above all simple to use thanks to the clean interface and the dashboard through which you can easily manage each device connected to your account. However, there are some defects, if we want to call them that, which leave room for future improvements, which we hope to see integrated in future versions of the software.
You can purchase a 1 year license of Sophos Home Premium on the official website for € 49.95, two years for € 89.95 and 3 years for € 114.95, however at this time (and I don’t know for how much more) prices are discounted by 25% and licenses can therefore be purchased at € 37.46, € 67.46 and € 86.21 respectively.