What is "real-time" protection?

Macs actually do get viruses and other infections. 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 Apple. New viruses can be stopped the instant they are created, keeping users protected every second of every day.

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 Apple Safari and Google Chrome. To learn more on how to set up Sophos Home web filtering, check out our instructional pages here.

Ransomware protection

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. Macs are no exception.

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 and microphones are great for video chats, starting a career on YouTube, or taking pictures. Unfortunately, these webcams and mics—built in or attached—can continue to record individuals unknowingly, even after they “turn off” the camera or microphone. 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 and microphone. If any program tries to turn on the camera or microphone, 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. 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.

In order to prevent these issues from happening Sophos Home utilizes a global database of sites and stops users from going to known phishing sites. It also scans the code of the website you are going to. If malicious code is discovered on the site, the user is notified and prevented from going to the site until the bad code is removed.

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.

Why your Mac needs protection

Macs are incredible machines, but they're still vulnerable to security breaches. For a long time, Macs were believed to be immune to viruses, and marketed as such. For a long time Macs weren’t targeted by hackers because they represented such a small population of the personal computing world compared to the millions of Windows users. In recent years the increased popularity of Macs has made them a valuable target. Macs actually have hidden security programs installed by Apple to keep them secure. However, security updates and patches aren’t always available at the time of a security breach, and users can forget to install these patches. Sophos Home Premium takes the worry out of Mac security. Automatic security updates and additional features that Apple doesn’t include, such as camera guard and web protection, turns your Mac into the equivalent of a fortified bunker—but still with that beautiful design and aesthetic.