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Does Sophos Threat Detection Test live up to Expectations?

written by: Mark Muller•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 8/8/2011
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Sophos Threat Detection Test is an on-demand virus scanner which you can run on top of a number of anti-virus products to test whether your existing malware protection finds all known viruses and detects zero-day threats. Here’s all about the special edition of Sophos Anti-Virus for Windows.

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    What is Sophos Threat Detection Test?

    Sophos Threat Detection Test is specially designed version of Sophos Anti-Virus for Windows which you can run in parallel with existing anti-virus software to test the efficiency of your existing virus and malware protection.

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    System Requirements

    Rating Average

    Sophos Threat Detection Test / Sophos Anti-Virus for Windows runs on 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows 2000, XP and Vista (*) as well as on Server 2003. The download is approx. 47 MB of size, but after decompression and to accommodate updates the vendor recommends having 120 MB of free disk space available.

    (*) Our tests on a Windows 7 based computer running the latest version of F-Prot for Windows have been successful, too.

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    Installation

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    To download you have to register with Sophos and fill in a form which might perhaps asks for too much information. The situation is a bit better if you tick I am interested in a home version of this product, yet I wouldn’t be surprised if many visitors lose interest in the software at that stage.

    If you finish the Sophos Threat Detection Test registration process you receive an email with the required information to download the software. The install process follows standard steps until you reach the Update Source screen where you have to insert your user name and password which you have received by mail.

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    Features

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    According to [1] “Once you have installed the tool, right-click on the shield icon in the task bar, open Sophos Anti-Virus, and click 'scan my computer'. This will initiate a background scan of your local disks. Click 'Manage Quarantine Items' to view any infections.”

    This essentially means that Sophos Threat Detection Test is (only) an on-demand malware scanner which can be run on top of a number of other anti-virus software (Symantec, McAfee, Trend, CA, Kaspersky and F-Secure as it seems.)

    'Sophos Threat Detection Test' doesn’t seem a very accurate term in my opinion, but I much like that Sophos Anti-Virus for Windows gives me a second opinion about potential malware infections.

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    Performance

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    The Sophos Threat Detection Test only runs you when you prompt it and therefore does not substitute a regular anti-virus program. If you like Sophos anti-virus, or if you want to ongoing virus protection you can obtain the 30 day evaluation of Sophos Endpoint Security and Data Protection. However, this requires that you uninstall any existing anti-virus software including Sophos Threat Detection Test.

    Sophos has a very capable anti-virus engine which detects zero-day threats using unique behavioral Genotype Protection. If you are looking for a Sophos powered end user malware solution which can really be recommended then check out Webroot AntiVirus with AntiSpyware (Webroot without Spyware protection also exists but should not used on its own) as Sophos has shifted away from the consumer market to the business anti-virus segment.

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    Interface

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    Sophos Threat Detection Test has a state-of-the art graphical user interface you would expect from a top vendor of anti-virus software. Please see the Sophos anti-virus interface is depicted below:

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    Help & Support

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    Sophos Threat Detection Test help menu items point to the vendor’s homepage. There is a large knowledge base, forums and contact information for technical support by phone or email.

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    Price to Value

    Rating Average

    The Sophos Threat Detection Test is free, but keep in mind that this edition Sophos Anti-Virus for Windows does not provide ongoing protection or on-access scan capability.

    If you are home user you can buy full Sophos anti-virus technology when purchasing Webroot products. Business users on the other hand will find appropriate products on the Sophos homepage.

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    The Bottom Line

    Sophos Threat Detection Test is the name for a piece of on-demand-only antivirus software which you can run without deactivating or even uninstalling the anti-virus software you are using.

    This special edition of Sophos Anti-Virus for Windows tests the performance of your existing antivirus software but I think its findings should be taken with a grain of salt as 100% virus malware recognition does not exist. Along the same lines could there also be cases in which Sophos Endpoint Security and Data Protection would let a virus pass through but competitors like Symantec, McAfee, Trend, CA, Kaspersky and F-Secure might detect and eliminate it.

    Please find Bright Hub’s best rated antivirus software in our review Top Antivirus Software for Windows 7.

References

  • [1] http://www.sophos.com/support/knowledgebase/article/24103.html

    Screenshot taken by the author

    Author's own experience