Advanced protection

The traditional foundation of computer security is antivirus. Every time a new kind of virus is created and released, security labs get samples of the virus, study it, write new code to block it, and push patches to everyone using their antivirus software. This has proven to be a very effective way of blocking viruses and other types of malicious programs and this is what free Sophos Home utilizes. The only downside to this approach is time. With over 300,000 new viruses being released daily, it can take hours or days to get new patches out, leaving users vulnerable for a time.

This is why the new Sophos Home Premium goes beyond traditional antivirus with a powerful, real-time solution. Combining antivirus with behavioral detection, it analyzes the behavior of programs and files, looking for any kind of action that is malicious or damaging to your computer and documents, regardless of how innocent the program or file looks on the outside. That means if a new virus is released, our real-time protection can stop it without waiting to get a new patch from a security lab or Microsoft. New viruses can be stopped the instant they are created, keeping users protected every second of every day.

Web protection

Despite the incredible potential of the web, there are risks online for even the most aware users. The free version of Sophos Home protects you against risks like:

  • Phishing sites—Spoofed websites carefully crafted to look like the real thing, tricking users into giving up their credentials. Sophos Home utilizes a global database of sites to stop users from going to known phishing sites
  • Infected sites—Legitimate pages unwittingly infected with malware, allowing hackers to steal your personal information. Sophos Home scans the code of the websites you access. If malicious code is discovered on the site, you are notified and prevented from going to the site until it's deemed safe.
  • Undesirable sites—for example, extreme violence, racist rhetoric, and pornography that children can stumble upon. Sophos Home offers 25+ site category filters, allowing parents to block groups of sites that they deem unwelcome. Parents will also be notified if a child attempts to bypass the filter.

Sophos Home Premium adds additional protective features for advanced dangers, such as:

  • Keyloggers—hidden programs that record everything you type in, including passwords, credit cards, and personal information. Sophos Home Premium encrypts your keystrokes so that keyloggers only get jumbled and useless letters.
  • Browser exploits—infections on the browser that have access to all your traffic. Sophos Home Premium adds additional layers of security around common browsers, such as Google Chrome and Internet Explorer, preventing them from being exploited and turned against the user.

Exploit prevention

Everyday computer programs, such as Microsoft Office, PDF viewers, and web browsers can be infected by malware. The malware uses the programs to get backdoor access to a computer, sending documents, photos, personal information, financial records, and more back to cyber criminals. Removing these vulnerable programs isn’t a realistic solution, since they are used almost daily. However, Sophos Home Premium secures these programs with exploit prevention. Layers of security are placed around these programs and Sophos Home watches for malicious behavior. Any infection found is promptly removed. Sophos Home Premium also replaces infected Windows resources with safe, original versions.

Ransomware

Ransomware encrypts your documents and photos, making them unusable until a ransom—ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars—is paid to the hackers who spread it. And there is no guarantee that those files will be decrypted once the ransom is paid. Ransomware is one of the fastest growing malware infections in the world, becoming a billion-dollar criminal industry. The FBI reported in 2016 that a new ransomware variant infected an estimated 100,000 computers a day, regardless of business or personal usage.

The free version of Sophos Home stops all known ransomware variants. However, Sophos Home Premium watches for ransomware-style behavior, not just previously known ransomware, allowing it to catch brand new variants that security labs haven’t been able to patch for yet. If a file gets encrypted, Sophos Home Premium makes a backup file. If other files continue to be encrypted, Sophos Home Premium recognizes this behavior as potential ransomware and stops the process. It then rolls back the encryption by replacing the encrypted files with the saved backups and then removes the ransomware itself. All of this is done automatically.

Privacy Protection

Webcams are great for video chats, starting a career on YouTube, or taking pictures. Unfortunately, these webcams—built in or attached—can continue to record individuals unknowingly, even after they “turn off” the camera. Hackers exploit vulnerabilities to record anyone within sight of the infected computer, then post these recordings online, using them to blackmail or embarrass those innocent users. Even Mark Zuckerberg—the creator of Facebook—famously covers his camera and microphone with tape in an attempt to prevent this.

In order to keep private life private, Sophos Home Premium monitors access to the camera. If any program tries to turn on the camera, the user is immediately notified. The user can then choose to allow or block the action.

Online Banking and Shopping Protection

Banking and shopping online is the best thing since sliced bread, allowing you to take control of your finances and needs anytime from anywhere. That said, there are a few risks with shopping and banking online. First, your keystrokes can be recorded by a keylogger. This means that a hacker—near or far away—can be recording credit card numbers or banking passwords that you type in without your knowledge. Secondly, criminals can create fake websites (phishing sites) that look almost identical to the real thing, tricking users into giving away their credentials. Even legitimate sites can unwittingly become infected with malware. Another common issue is infecting the browser with malware, allowing all traffic on that browser to be fed to criminals.

In order to prevent these issues from happening Sophos Home prevents users from going to websites that have been infected with malware or to fake, phishing sites. Sophos Home Premium going two steps further by encrypting your keystrokes between the time you type them into your keyboard and they are entered on the web page. That means if a keylogger is hiding on your computer, the hacker tied to that keylogger only gets jumbled and useless letters. Sophos Home Premium also adds additional layers of security around common browsers, such as Google Chrome and Internet Explorer, preventing them from being exploited and turned against the user.

Web filtering—the what and why

Since anything and everything can be shared online, friends and family can become subjected to unwanted websites and images, such as extreme violence, racist rhetoric, and pornography, whether they search for it or not. Web filtering allows the owner of the account to set boundaries online, blocking or warning users who knowingly—or unknowingly—attempt to access sites that the account owner deems undesirable. The account owner doesn’t need to block each and every site specifically, but instead selects categories that cover all the unwanted sites that fall within that classification. The account owner can set exceptions for specific sites that fall within blocked categories. Web filtering works on multiple browsers, including Internet Explorer and Google Chrome. To learn more on how to set up Sophos Home web filtering, check out our instructional pages here.

Remote Management

Remotely operating your home thermostat, door locks, or even lights has become more commonplace, but this ability is still lacking when it comes to computer security. Keeping track of the security on all the computers you’re trying to keep protected is still one of the chief complications. You might live in Japan, but your in-laws—and their computers—are in Canada. That distance makes it much harder to implement security and check up on it.

This is where remote management on Sophos Home comes in. You can add additional computers to your account by emailing remote users download links from your Sophos Home account. The remote user clicks the link and installs the software, simply and easily, or you can do it in person. After installation, these computers are protected and the users don’t have to do anything. You, as the main account holder, will be notified of any issues that need your attention. If action is needed, you can perform scans, do cleanups, change settings, set exceptions, and more by logging in to your Sophos Home Dashboard. No need to be there in person.