Choosing a good antivirus is never easy. It is often the most important decision you will make for your computer usage. Before you go and buy any antivirus, you should really download a trial version to test how it works on your PC. And we can recommend the free Sophos Home Premium trial version Download.
You will be blown away by the features it offers. It is the only antivirus which offers business-class security for home users. What does that mean? You can manage the security of your devices from an online dashboard. We will explain this in detail, as we explore the application’s interface and features.
Once you register an account on the Sophos website, you will be able to download the antivirus on to your computer. When you install the program, it will immediately run a scan on your PC. Sophos Home Premium doesn’t like to waste time, does it? Jokes aside, it really doesn’t take a long time for the scan to complete, as the scan engine is really speedy.
When the scan has been completed, you will see a pop-up window with a summary of the scan results. This lists each and every threat which the antivirus detected. If it detected any potentially unwanted application, also called as PUAs or PUPs, Sophos Home Premium doesn’t make a big fuss out of it, unlike other antivirus and malware removal programs.
Still, Sophos does warn you by labeling the scan results as “No real threats found”, which clearly means some threats were detected, but they are not too dangerous. You can disinfect the threats or choose to ignore them. This is where the antivirus showed its quality.
The moment a threat is detected on the PC, Sophos Home Premium sends an email to your registered email address which you used for registering an account on the Sophos portal. This mail contains the name of the threat which was found by the antivirus, and details about your computer’s name and a link to access the Sophos Home Dashboard.
You won’t find such online dashboards in almost any other antivirus, except the ones used by Enterprises, which employ Endpoint Security software. This dashboard can be accessed and allows you to manage your computer’s security from any computer, anywhere in the world, with just your web browser.
Login to the account, and you can disinfect the PC by taking actions on the detections which were discovered. You can also click on the Manage My Security button in the interface of the Sophos Home Premium desktop client, to access this dashboard.
The Sophos Home Premium online dashboard comprises of 5 tabs:
- Web Filtering
The Status tab lists whether all the modules in the antivirus are active or not. This includes the Antivirus protection, Web protection, Ransomware protection, Privacy protection and Malicious Traffic detection. You can configure each of these modules from the button which is available just below the name of each section. The most recent threat which was detected on your machine, is also displayed in this tab.
The Antivirus Protection is the heart of the application, and keeps your PC safe from all kind of viruses, malware, spyware, and other infections. The Web protection settings can be used to secure your web browser by blocking malicious websites, thus negating virtually almost any malware from the web.
The Ransomware protection as the name so obviously suggests, blocks the dreaded encryption malware called ransomware in their tracks, before they can infect your PC.
When your webcam is used by an application, Sophos Home Premium will alert you, and help prevent malicious applications from accessing the camera. The Malicious Traffic detection blocks applications from phoning home to to servers which could contain malware.
Any event which occurs in Sophos Home Premium, from scans, detections, etc are listed on this tab.
The Protection Tab in turn has 4 tabs:
This tab lets you toggle the real-time protection on or off, and the same can be done for the Potentially Unwanted Applications detections and Malicious Traffic detection, just in case an application or website is blocked as a false positive.
The Exceptions settings can be used to add files, folders, etc, which you don’t want to be flagged as malware by Sophos Home Premium. You can also add local exclusions, from the desktop client of the antivirus.
Sophos also blocks malware which tries to exploit vulnerabilities in other applications, with its exploit mitigation. The antivirus blocks attacks from USB devices using the Risk Reduction module. The Protected Applications is a very important feature in Sophos Home Premium. This is basically a sandbox for programs, which will be run in an isolated environment, without impacting your operating system.
The Ransomware tab has settings which can be used to disable the Ransomware protection, and the Master Boot Record Protection. But this tab also has settings for Safe Online Banking which includes Safe Browsing and anti-keylogger in the application. The Download reputation levels setting checks the records to ensure that the files which you download are safe. The Website Exceptions can be used to prevent your favorite websites from being blocked.
If you want to block websites which are not suitable for your children, you can use the Parental Controls on this tab. The Web Filtering can also be used to block specific types of online content too. You can also set the filter to allow content which you don’t want to block, or simply to warn the user of the content on the website ahead.
There are filters for social networking websites, torrent services, web-based email services, instant messaging, etc., too.
This tab has settings for the webcam security which we already explained.
Sophos Home Premium performed remarkably well during our tests. We experienced no lags even when multi-tasking with other applications, when a scan was running. The scans used about 20-25 megabytes of RAM, which is incredibly low memory usage for an antivirus.
Download the free trial of Sophos Home Premium, and try it for 30 days, before you buy the free version.