Editor’s Note: Since our last update, new features and tools have been added to Sophos’ antivirus and internet security programs. We will test and review these additions the next time we update our side-by-side comparison of the best Mac internet security software.
Sophos Home Premium is the paid Mac security program that gives you unlimited use of several security tools, like the advanced ransomware protection and webcam monitoring. The other difference between the Premium and Free versions is you get 10 user licenses with Premium compared to three with the free program. Both programs, however, do struggle to detect and protect against Mac and Windows viruses. And because all tools and settings are accessed from an online portal, we found Sophos Home wasn’t easy to use.
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In our independent testing of Sophos Home, it detected only 78 percent of our malware samples. Most of these were automatically blocked and deleted while the files were downloading. However, there were several threats that Sophos located but couldn’t remove on its own. In these cases, we were asked in small pop-up messages if we wanted to
scrub the threat. If we said yes, Sophos took us to the online portal where there were steps to follow for us to manually remove them from our computer.
If we didn’t want them scrubbed, Sophos would either move a copy of the threat to its online Alert folder or ignore the threat completely. Once the threat was in the Alert folder, Sophos again gave us instructions to manually remove the malware by first disabling the automatic virus protection and creating a custom scan. But each time we attempted this Sophos would reboot and require us to enter our credentials to reach the online portal again. And each time the program reverted to its default settings. We finally became frustrated enough that we uninstalled the program and installed Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac to find and completely remove every threat for us.
Sophos did a great job detecting Windows threats. We were impressed when it blocked malware downloads on sites displaying error messages about suspended accounts, missing pages or servers being down. Several other Mac security programs didn’t catch these hidden threats. And when we tried to visit sites that are known to be dangerous, Sophos did warn us about the potential threat.
The best tool Sophos Home Premium offers is the parental controls. It has several web filters that block websites based on their content. When you choose one of these filters, Sophos will block anyone in your family using that account from visiting these sites. Filter categories include inappropriate content such as sex, violence, alcohol, hacking or intolerance. It also has social network filters for blogs and forums, and even general interest categories like online gaming, shopping or religion.
Sophos Home Premium does well detecting Mac threats but makes it complicated to remove them since you must do most of the work yourself. All settings and instructions are in the online portal rather than a desktop dashboard and aren’t easy to follow. However, Sophos is good at detecting Windows threats and includes some of the best filter categories for blocking your children from dangerous sites.