It has been a while since a reputable/major vendor has released a free version of its commercial security solution. In late 2015, Sophos (well known for years for its Endpoint Protection for businesses) did just that, and calls it Sophos Home. I've been following its progress and reviews for a while, and present them here:
It offers malware protection, web filtering, and protection against potentially unwanted programs (PUPs). Its cloud protection includes HIPS/behavioral analysis. System requirements include: - Windows 7 and up - Mac OS X 10.8 and up - Most major browsers, including Edge (Pale Moon is not mentioned, however)
The potential advantages of Sophos Home include: - Free commercial-grade security technology applied to home users - simplicity (no daily updates of signatures, simple GUI) - availability for up to 10 home PC/Mac devices, all controlled by one dashboard
Criticisms/concerns encountered include: - the need to register at Sophos (a 15 minute process) prior to installing - the addition of 8 services, all running in the background, even with certain modules disabled (by comparison, Panda Free adds 3) - unknown efficacy of the free version, due to a lack of testing to date by AV-Comparatives and AV-test (Sophos Free AV for Mac did detect 100% of malware samples in 2015 tests by AV-C and AV-Test, and Sophos Endpoint Security did block 100% of threats in the latest AV-Test reports on both Windows 7 and Windows 10, and achieved an Advanced+ award for its Performance tests on a Win 10 platform. Whether these results will be duplicated by Sophos Home version remain to be seen) - loss of local control (no option to enable or disable protection locally, or define which types of websites to block or warn about)
I haven't tried it yet, largely due to the lack of independent testing of its efficacy. But it seems like a viable free AV, more along the lines of Panda Free than of avast. My old eyes are getting a bit tired of Panda's postage stamp size GUI on my 13" Win 10 laptop, so I'll probably get around to testing it.
Dell Forum Member since 2,000
Windows 7/sp1 (64- Bit): Malwarebytes 3.x Premium, Windows Firewall, WinPatrol PLUS, Emsisoft Emergency Kit Free and HitmanPro Free (on-demand scanners), OpenDNS, MVPS Hosts file, SpywareBlaster, Pale Moon web browser, Sandboxie, CCleaner Free.
Windows 10 Pro (64- Bit): Same protection plus Windows Defender AV.
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