Sophos Free Antivirus and Security


Sophos Free Antivirus and Security

An awesome 100% free security app with great anti-malware capabilities


Our rating: 


Pros & Cons:

Simple though functional main UI. Good anti-malware engine with fast scan times. Effective SMS-based Anti-theft. Comprehensive set of features which increase the app's value as a whole.
Big installation size. Unclear virus definition update strategy. RAM usage has increased when compared to previous versions. It seems to work best when connected permanently to the internet with the Cloud Scan option enabled.

Our Review:

Sophos Free Antivirus & Security is the result of the experienced minds from the labs of the same name, and we must say they have bested any previous version with this new one. It has a minimalist UI and is not as open as the other apps, but gets the job done.

Once installed, Sophos will show you its improved minimalist-style home screen composed by 6 categories: Scanner, Loss & Theft, Spam Protection, Privacy Advisor, Security Advisor and the App Protection.

You can use the scanner settings to schedule periodic scans, look for unwanted apps (or PUAs, as Sophos calls them), include or exclude system apps from the scanning process, enable or disable the “On install Scan” (scans the app during its installation). It can even scan APKs obtained from any source such as e-mail attachments or web pages. You can also enable or disable the “Monitor SD Card” option by which Sophos will monitor any writes to the SD Card and USB device (USB OTG) automatically as soon as you plug it. Finally, you can activate the “Cloud Scan Mode” and set it to “Always”, “Not While Roaming” and “WiFi only” to use the Sophos cloud infrastructure to get the latest data on Android malware. The "Malicious Website Protection" option will warn you of any blacklisted site it finds.

The Loss & Theft feature is a pretty good SMS-based tool; to enable it you must configure all the required items (7 in total) first. Setting them up is a simple task and the app itself will help you throughout the process. Once set, you can select the Loss & Theft features you want to enable such as Alarm, Locate / Locate at Low Battery, (the device sends its location back to you), Lock (blocks your device), SIM change (sends SMSes to selected numbers from the new SIM), Unlock, Secure Wipe and Unprotect (it deactivates the Anti-theft).

In order to improve security and strengthen the app against potential attacks from malicious users, Sophos has released a small (85 KB) free add-on called "Security & Antivirus Guard" which acts as an additional Device Administrator and ensures the app never gets terminated and restarts itself immediately if needed.

The Security Advisor will scan for any unsecure settings your device may have and will advice you accordingly. The Privacy Advisor, on the other hand, scans and lists all the installed apps and categorizes them under 3 categories: apps that may cause costs, apps that may harm your privacy and apps that may access the internet. You can sort the categories to your own needs using the icons at the bottom. The Spam Protection is a very simple yet effective Call & SMS filter (it works great) and the recently added App Protection will lock any app you want with an alphanumeric password.

Sophos' scan engine works fine even with the Cloud Scan option disabled and there is a neat USSD protection along with an effective secure web browsing feature. The main downside of Sophos, however, lies within the RAM usage, which has increased when compared to previous versions: it peaked at 22 MB and ~16 MB while idle; it also needs around 22 MB of internal space to be installed. Although we wish Sophos Security & Antivirus was not as big and demanding as it is now, it is still an awesome 100% free security app with great anti-malware capabilities and a very good set of tools such as the Anti-theft and the App Protection.

Sophos Free Antivirus and Security was reviewed by on