These instructions are primarily for people who want to install Sophos Anti-Virus onto their personal laptop and/or desktop. Please check with your local IT Support Staff about antivirus protection for college and departmental systems as local arrangements often apply, and installing the version intended for personal systems may cause problems.
This guide outlines the steps required to install the Sophos anti-virus software on Apple Mac computers. Although currently relatively little malware targets OS X systems, it is in on the increase. Some malware can compromise the security of your system, and may capture information you use to connect to other systems such as over the Internet, so we do recommend that Mac users install anti-malware software such as Sophos as a precaution.
For comprehensive instructions on installing and configuring the Sophos software refer to the appropriate Sophos installation guide from the Sophos Documentation pages. The following is a brief outline of the first-time installation of Sophos on an Apple Mac.
The file you download from our website (which will be named something like
sophos8osx2013.dmg) is a special type of file called a disk
image. Depending on the method you use to download the file, it may automatically
mount a disk image called
Sophos 8.x for OS X 10.4+ or similar on
your Mac desktop and open it automatically.
However it is likely that the disk image won't mount automatically, in which case you
will need to select it from the list of downloads, or find it (most likely in your
Downloads) folder and double-click on it to mount the image.
Once you can see the installer, double-click on it to start the Sophos installation. The installer windows that you see may look a little different to those shown below. If so, youd generally just need to accept the default settings to install Sophos.
Close to close the installation window. If Sophos wasn't
installed before you should now see a shield in the menu bar (top right of the screen).
The shield may initially be grey but after just a few moments should turn black to
indicate that Sophos is now protecting your computer.
The version of Sophos you have installed now needs to be updated so that it can detect
recent malware. To do this make sure that you are connected to the Internet and then
click on the shield to bring up the menu shown and select
Sophos Anti-Virus uses a username and password to automatically download updates. These credentials are valid for around 14 months and expire around the start of November each year. Once they have expired, Sophos will no longer be updated, and your computer will be more vulnerable to new viruses and other malware etc.
This normally only applies to Sophos installed onto personal laptops and desktops. On college or departmental systems, Sophos (or other antivirus software) is often managed by your local IT Support staff and you should check with them before making any changes.
To make sure that you keep your computer(s) up to date, you will need to download and install a new Sophos package in October each year. Please see the FAQ for more details on how to check when your installation(s) of Sophos will stop updating.
So long as the updating credentials are current, Sophos Anti-Virus is configured to automatically download and install updates to keep your defences against viruses, trojans and worms as up-to-date as possible. On networked computers, this occurs once an hour.
You can also update Sophos manually at any time by clicking on the
on the menu bar and choosing
[Update Now]. You will see a window showing the
progress of the update. The progress window is not displayed when Sophos updates
Your computer does need to be connected to the Internet in order to download updates so if you see this icon when you are not connected this is normal and nothing to be concerned about. When you reconnect to the Internet it may take up to an hour before Sophos tries to update again and the shield returns to normal.
If you encounter any problems there is a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) web page with answers to some of the most common issues that people encounter.
In this section we provide details on how to change these settings, and on the most common options that you might want to change. For full details of all of the settings consult the Sophos Anti-Virus 8 for Mac OS X Help document.
These are the options to scan
[Inside archives and compressed files] and
[Files on network volumes]. Enabling these options will mean that Sophos
checks more files for malware, but may slow down the checking.
By default disinfection is enabled and access to infected files is denied and the files
moved to a standard location if this fails. The default location that Sophos uses is
/Users/Shared/Infected. This gives you the chance to inspect any
infected files, attempt to disinfect them, and if that fails to try and recover data
from them before deleting them from your system. If you prefer to delete any infected
files immediately then choose the
Delete infected files option but we
would recommend that you don't configure on-access scanning this way as occasionally it
could lead to legitimate files being deleted by accident.
Occasionally you may need to check that you are using the correct set of credentials. The FAQ page explains how to check whether you are using an up to date set of credentials.
Logging to view or change the log settings and on
Messaging to control the way that Sophos alerts you about malware.
Normally you should not need to alter any of these settings. If you want to view the
log file you can do this from the
Logging window by clicking on
The on-access scanning gives you constant protection against viruses and other malware that might be contained in any files on your computer. In addition you can perform on-demand scans of all or part of your hard disk. As with on-access scanning you can also configure options that control the way that on-demand scans work.
To configure on-demand scans, open Sophos Anti-Virus by clicking on the Sophos shield
in the menu bar and selecting
[Open Sophos Anti-Virus...] from the menu. You
can also open Sophos Anti-Virus from the
When the preferences window opens, if necessary click on
Scanning to view the options for on-demand scans. Before you can make any
changes to the configuration the padlock in the bottom left of the screen needs to be
open. If it isn't, click on the padlock and enter your password when prompted.
The default options for on-demand scans are shown below. By default cleanup isn't
enabled so you may want to change this setting, for example to
[Clean up infected
files]. If you choose this setting, a further setting will appear allowing you
to choose what to do if cleanup fails.
In the screen shown below the default options have been changed so that Sophos will
attempt to clean up any threats found and if this fails will move them to the folder
/Users/Shared/Infected. We generally don't recommend setting
either of the settings
When a threat is found and
Delete infected files as on rare occasions Sophos
may delete a legitimate file. It is better to simply move the files which would allow
you to retrieve them later if necessary.
You can also set up a custom scan such as a scan that will check part of your hard
disk. To do this return the first Sophos Anti-Virus window and if necessary click on
the arrow next to
Custom Scans to expand the window.
Click on the plus at the bottom left of the screen to create a new scan. You can set similar options as for the standard scan, as well as selecting what part of the Mac to scan. For full information refer to the Sophos Anti-Virus 8 for Mac OS X Help document.
For further information please refer to the Sophos Anti-Virus 8 for Mac OS X Help document.