Skip to main content

Sophos Home Premium Review

  • $50 per year
Sophos Home Premium antivirus looks like very good value, but the devil's in the detail. Here, we share our Sophos Home Premium review and reveal how it compares to other antivirus suites we've reviewed.

Sophos Home Premium is priced at £40/$50 per year for 10 devices (including PC, Mac, phones and tablets), which is very reasonable and compares closely with rivals such as ESET and McAfee.

It's available to buy from the Sophos website

There is a free version available, but it misses out on features such as privacy protection, ransomware protection and support. Plus, the free version only protects three devices rather than 10.

This product marks a departure from the norm in that instead of its interface giving direct access to modules and settings, there are just two buttons. One begins a scan. The other opens a web page containing all the controls and settings.

Everything you need to manage the product is in the cloud. Personally, I like my controls built into the product itself, but I also realise I'm getting old. Cloud computing is the way the world does things now.

After installation, Sophos scans your computer for threats. It found 257 tracking cookies on mine. However, deleting them also logged me out of Google, the BBC, and other services I use all the time. Luckily, my password manager logged me back in.

On the plus side, the protection modules are comprehensive and specialised. Malicious traffic is filtered, keeping you safe from any malware that manages to slip past Sophos' defences and tries to contact its command and control server.

The PUP module prevents potentially unwanted programs (adware etc.) from being installed, either deliberately or by sneaking in with other applications. Exploit mitigation prevents known techniques being used against vulnerable and old programs that do not have security patches available.

The dedicated ransomware module not only prevents your files being held hostage, but also protects against the kinds of exploit that enabled the Wannacry and NotPetya attacks that caused so much trouble in 2017. These attacks were more dangerous because they could spread to other computers on the network.

Web protection prevents you from visiting known attack sites, uses a  community reputation service to gauge whether downloads are likely to be malicious, and provides protection from threats such as keyloggers when accessing banking sites. 

The web content filtering controls are comprehensive, and split into sections covering general interest sites, social media, adult content and any exceptions you would like to set up. The level of detail is impressive. You can even block proxies and translators.

Despite the range of protection modules, some useful tools are still missing or underpowered. The privacy section, for example, only has an option, which alerts you to unauthorised use of your webcam. There are no other controls.

A local network scan, to both identify devices and to check them for security issues, is also absent. Other functionality feels sparse. Right clicking a file allows you to scan it, for example, but that's all.

There's no option to securely shred it or to send it to the cloud for further examination. Speaking of options, scanning seems to be limited to the default “Clean My Computer”. There's no option to run a boot-time scan, when any stealthy malware is still sleeping on disc, or to run a thorough, deep scan. It also seems to be impossible to initiate a remote scan of a device from the cloud.

There are also a few glitches to contend with. First, tabbing between applications using Alt-Tab randomly began sticking the application window thumbnails to the screen until I hit enter on the one I wanted, rather than selecting the one I wanted when I let go of the keys. Uninstalling the product returned to the original functionality, but re-installing it also caused the glitch again.

More seriously, whenever I booted the computer, Windows Defender would have a red cross on its taskbar icon, indicating it was unable to get the status of Sophos. This lasted several minutes each time. Everything seemed to be OK, and Sophos was actually running, but it's a glitch that could put some people off.  Also, being cloud-based, if you're offline, you're cut off not only from the internet, but also from the product's controls.

Also, while flicking through pictures on Facebook, Sophos suddenly popped up to tell me that it had prevented a “ROP” attack. It also sent me an email to the same effect. While trying to investigate further and to get an accurate description of the meaning of “ROP”, I found that log entries are very sparse indeed, and nothing is clickable to obtain more information. This is not good for understanding what's going on.

Although Sophos Home Premium is for PC and Mac only, the free Sophos Mobile Security app for Android is feature packed. Along with the usual scanner and theft prevention (which correctly identified my tablet is not a phone), there's also comprehensive web filtering, password protection for user-selected sensitive apps, a secure QR code scanner, and a password safe, along with privacy and security advisors. It's a very pleasant surprise. Some paid-for mobile AV offerings could learn a lot from Sophos Mobile Security.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular posts from this blog

LG G5 Review In-Depth

Can LG take on the Galaxy S7 with a metal design, dual-cameras and an accessory slot? Here's our first LG G5 review, focusing on LG G5 design and build, LG G5 specs, LG G5 cameras and LG G5 software and apps.
Alongside the Galaxy S7, the LG G5 is one of the biggest phones (not literally) to launch in 2016 – and we're not just talking in the Android world. It's one of the heavyweights and LG will be looking to set the market alight with the G5's alternative and innovative modular design.

2019 BMW i8 Review

The 2019 BMW i8 is a head-turner for its looks, which hides its plug-in powertrain. That’s good or bad, depending on your priorities.Even among six-figure cars with two doors, the 2019 BMW i8 steals stares. That could be because of the dramatic wing doors and futuristic shape, its laser headlights at night, or the 2019 i8’s silent propulsion for up to 18 miles.
Or it may steal attention because, even after more than four years on sale, it’s a very rare sight.

Apple iPhone XR Review

If you aren't sure you are ready to leave the Home button behind and embrace Face ID, think again. We'll tell you why the iPhone XR is worth the sacrifice - especially because it's just as good (if not better than) the iPhone XS. Find out more in out full review.
Should I Buy The Apple iPhone XR?
The iPhone XR brings Face ID to the masses. We’re sure people will continue to rebel against the lack of Home button, but eventually we expect them to come round and embrace the larger screen, Portrait mode (front and back), animoji and memoji.We have no doubt that this will be a popular iPhone and it deserves to be. The only question is why would anyone buy an iPhone XS when the iPhone XR is just as powerful and has a bigger screen.

BlackBerry KEYone Review

BlackBerry soliders on with a curious Android device that gets nearly everything right. It’s not for everyone though, in fact, it’s not really for anyone. But if you want a physical keyboard you will absolutely love it.
Should I Buy The BlackBerry KEYone?
But then, the KEYone is the best BlackBerry phone for years. It has (finally) successfully melded classic BlackBerry design with the necessary mix of Android and nostalgia. Importantly, the latter is only faint this time – this is a device for 2017, not 2007.If you love your iPhone or Samsung, you’ll hate the KEYone and won’t even consider buying it. But if you’ve made it to the end of this review, chances are you’re weighing up a buy. If you think you’ll love the BlackBerry KEYone, then I’m pretty certain you won’t be disappointed. You’re part of a minority, but finally BlackBerry has a phone for you that doesn’t force you to compromise.

Google Pixel Review

Not everyone wants a phone with a big screen, but most small-screen phones compromise on performance and cameras. Not so with Google’s latest flagship Android phone: Here’s our Google Pixel review.
Joining the ranks of the Pixel C and Chromebook Pixel are Google’s new Pixel phones. We’re reviewing the smaller 5in Pixel here, but you can read our separate Pixel XL review if you’re after a bigger phone.

Like Fan Page