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  • [Review] Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac

    Sophos is a free Anti-Virus solution for Mac computers.

    The time has come. Mac users should really start joining the bandwagon and begin arming their computers with some kind of security against malicious threats online. Mac computers are gaining popularity at a stunning rate; going from mid single digits up to 23% as Apple CEO, Tim Cook explained at the iPhone 4S keynote. Here at ModMyi, we've reported on three consecutive trojan horse infections for Mac OS X. The first being Flashback.C, which was a trojan horse created to disable your Apple Anti-Malware defense system. This system is updated automatically by Apple every once in a while to provide to you malware protection on your Mac. Flashback.C was easily installed by accidentally installing a fake Adobe Flash player. It would then try to install more malware on your computer; the trojan would force quit the installation if you had LittleSnitch firewall installed. The only way it could be installed was if the user entered their administrator password. The second threat was OSX/Tsnunami.A (Troj/Kaiten), which was a trojan horse that could turn your Mac into a Web Site killing machine by having a remote control user send commands to the malware over IRC to send DDoS attacks to a specified address. It also attempts to install more malware on your computer after installed. Like the previous trojan, it could only be installed if the user entered the administrator password. Finally we reported on OSX/Miner-D (DevilRobber), this trojan horse was the worst of them all as it eats up your GPU and CPU performance to a sluggish crawl in order to make and steal Bitcoins. At the same time it key-logs your usernames and passwords and opens backdoors into your computer for more malware to be installed. This trojan could be contracted from downloading certain things via BitTorrent. Like the others, it could only be installed by entering your administrator password. But, it could do some serious damage to your machine by making it over-heat and over-process constantly.

    All of these trojans are recent. It seems like a new one is being set free every week. So why not take a moment to download a very good Anti-Virus program known as Sophos Anti-Virus? The program offers a very light-weight solution to protection. It doesn't eat up a lot of processing power and uses very little memory at that. The program is also very good looking, just like you would expect a Mac program to look. It comes with a variety of settings that you can choose to monitor your computer for infections. Scan time varies between two to four hours but the scans are deep and thorough and will find almost anything. Aside from Intego, I would say that Sophos is one of the best security experts available for the Mac. They don't slack off with their information and they are often cited on the release of new Mac threats.


    Sophos Anti-Virus has an incredibly easy interface. All you need to do is let it know when to scan. The two round buttons are the main functions for scanning. The one that looks like a play button is the one that starts the scan, while the one with a pencil on it opens up the Sophos Anti-Virus settings. The quarantine manager is the vault where Sophos Anti-Virus keeps all of the infections that it finds. In the vault, they cannot harm your system as they are locked away with Sophos' advanced security.


    Sophos Anti-Virus, while simple, comes complete with some useful settings. When installed, the default protection method will log the threat. I recommend changing that to clean up threat so that Sophos Anti-Virus can remove it from your system. The second option means that if Sophos cannot remove the problem, it will just delete the entire problem altogether so that it cannot persist. In the second tab, labeled, "On-Access Scanning" you can choose which folders are scanned and which ones are not. By default, everything and anything is scanned. The third tab, labeled, "AutoUpdate" is pretty self-explanatory. You can set how often the system updates itself. By default it checks with Sophos' servers every hour to check. The fourth tab, labeled, "Logging" gives you the option to change where your infection logs are stored. The last tab is, "Messaging" which allows you to set up custom alerts for actions. For example if an error occurs, you can make a custom message like, "Sophos F41L3D D00D." (Not that it ever would.)


    Sophos Anti-Virus also puts a nice menu bar icon in your menu bar. It's black and white and pretty attractive if you're avid about keeping your icons looking Apple-like and hate having colored icons like Skype and DropBox. Clicking on the menu bar icon brings down a menu that let's you manually being an update to your definitions, open the Scanner or Preferences window, or even begin a custom scan. When Sophos Anti-Virus is updating, the icon becomes gray and the dotted part pulses in a descending motion.

    Sophos Anti-Virus is free and can be downloaded here. It's Mac OS X Lion compatible as well as backwards compatible with other versions of Mac OS X. It has excellent reviews from well-known sites such as CNET and Cult of Mac which can be read here. The best part is that Sophos offers support for anyone who uses their software for free.

    Writer's rating: / 4.5/5

    Minimum System Requirements:
    • Mac with Intel or PowerPC processor
    • 256 MB of memory
    • 150 MB of available disk space
    • Mac with OS X 10.4 (Tiger), 10.5 (Leopard), 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or 10.7 (Lion)
    • Supports all Apple Mac hardware including iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro and the new MacBook Air


    Please, Mac users. Protect yourselves. Mac OS X isn't invincible. Even requiring user input, people make mistakes. If you plan to try Sophos Anti-Virus or you already use it, tell us what you think about it in the comments below!

    Sources: Sophos
    This article was originally published in forum thread: [Review] Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac started by Anthony Bouchard View original post
    Comments 37 Comments
    1. BenderRodriguez's Avatar
      BenderRodriguez -
      It caught stuff for me that wasn't a virus just my zip files for my website business

      I have over 1,000,000,000+files on my MacBook pro 2006 750gig that its truing to scan and it's running hot wouldn't exit screen saver had to hold down power and walk away, fans both spinning at max 5100rpm temp around 140

      The program froze last night with 1.2 thousand files left, by froze I don't mean it said unresponsive it was on the same number file for over 10 min unless it for some reason checks movies that are 12 gigs or more I don't understand that

      Any ideas?
    1. odoggy75's Avatar
      odoggy75 -
      Quote Originally Posted by dennder View Post
      I haven't had antivirus on XP while i was winnows user, i won't have antivirus on a mac.
      Waste of resources and money.
      Common sense and a few precautions and you're okay.
      It's a same bandwagon as it always was... Antivirus won't help someone who clicks on everything and has blank admin pwd.
      Only a fool claims his ignorance as his strength!
    1. vthree's Avatar
      vthree -
      eh, as i expected 0 threats detected...
    1. sziklassy's Avatar
      sziklassy -
      Based on all the comments here it sounds like there is a memory leak in this program. Contact the programmer... this thing shouldn't be eating all your memory guys...
    1. Samcole28's Avatar
      Samcole28 -
      Can somebody invent a software program that finds the people that create this ***** so that people with guns can go to these mischievous people and shoot their faces off???
    1. Crazyj29's Avatar
      Crazyj29 -
      Is there any protection for iPhone?
    1. necktweaker's Avatar
      necktweaker -
      I just downloaded this and thought I would try it out. The scan started with Sophos taking up about 90% CPU. However after the first 15-30 seconds Sophos sits below 5% CPU and averages about 11.5MB or Mem used. I should mention that the CPU and Mem were taken from Activity Monitor. The 'top' command in terminal shows Sophos using about 85% CPU and 115 MB mem.

      Based on comments from other users, there probably is some sort of memory leak but I have yet to experience it. Granted I have only use the app for a single scan.

      I previously had iAntivirus, and so far i prefer Sophos because of the fact that it takes much less resources to run.
    1. BenderRodriguez's Avatar
      BenderRodriguez -
      I have 6 gigs running and I get hangs

      Like I said up top I have 1,000,000,000 miles for it to scan and the program froze at the last 1,200 files
    1. Cellular's Avatar
      Cellular -
      Quote Originally Posted by sziklassy View Post
      Apple needs to just start providing their own free antivirus IMO...
      Knowing apple they will probably make you pay for the anti-virus...
      (Anti-Trojan if you want to be technical) just waiting for viruses to come. Might go back to pc, they both operate well, I predict rage on this post even tho I use both Mac and pc...lol?
    1. BenderRodriguez's Avatar
      BenderRodriguez -
      I use both Mac and Pc but more do my Mac
      I'm assuming there's new Trojans coming out cause Apple is starting to take more and more of the computer sales over the years

      Maybe it's Dell employees wanting us to switch back to Windows and there laptops so they made a Trojan lol of course then there's the fact that Dell machines are junk anyways they only put junk in with junk for there systems
    1. Cellular's Avatar
      Cellular -
      Quote Originally Posted by BenderRodriguez View Post
      I use both Mac and Pc but more do my Mac
      I'm assuming there's new Trojans coming out cause Apple is starting to take more and more of the computer sales over the years

      Maybe it's Dell employees wanting us to switch back to Windows and there laptops so they made a Trojan lol of course then there's the fact that Dell machines are junk anyways they only put junk in with junk for there systems
      For me:
      Pc = gaming, HD movies, surfing the web.
      Mac= drawing, artistic, and my music needs

      Oh and dell makes the worst computers for windows :P
      Better off with viao.
      Although noticed that hp computers don't like windows 7 black or bright.
    1. klouud's Avatar
      klouud -
      The only time I notice it or it gets in the way is when I want to use splash top. Maybe I'll just use it periodically when I want to scan for viruses...BTW... anyone know where the status bar icons for this app are located? Can't seem to find them in the .app under resources like most other apps.tim
    1. arghwhymustiregister's Avatar
      arghwhymustiregister -
      using the best anti-virus i know.. my brain - just joking, but as someone said, no anti-virus will help you if you click on and download everything. just know what you are doing and you'll be fine
      The time has come. Mac users should really start joining the bandwagon and begin arming their computers with some kind of security against malicious threats online.
      says who? sophos? who found those viruses and created the anti-virus..? yeah right..
    1. satointl's Avatar
      satointl -
      Does this have real-time scanning?
    1. Anthony Bouchard's Avatar
      Anthony Bouchard -
      Quote Originally Posted by satointl View Post
      Does this have real-time scanning?
      It only has on-demand scanning.
    1. spazturtle's Avatar
      spazturtle -
      Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Bouchard View Post
      It only has on-demand scanning.
      It does have realtime scanning.
    1. BenderRodriguez's Avatar
      BenderRodriguez -
      It does about 100,000 files in 1hour and 15-30 min