Virus protection (Sophos Anti-Virus)

Viruses, worms, trojans and other malware can spread quickly across networks and cause a lot of damage. Personal data such as credit/debit card information can be compromised and important documents can be corrupted or lost. IMT strongly recommends that you take steps to protect your computer. Antivirus software provides a level of protection against the most common threats, helping to safeguard your data and information. Sophos offer free tools to help you protect your computer and free Sophos Antivirus is available for all current LSE staff and students.

Free-to-use antivirus tools from Sophos

Sophos offer free software| to help you stay safe:

These two pieces of software are available on disc or USB key from IMT if you are experiencing difficulty downloading them from the Sophos website. Ask at the IT Help Desk on the first floor of the Library, or at the Walk-In Centre/Laptop Surgery on the first floor of St Clements Building.

Free full Sophos Antivirus

Current LSE staff and students can download and install the full licensed version of Sophos Antivirus. The license key username and password expires yearly, so will need to be changed before you are allowed to install the newest updates. Follow the instructions below to download and install Sophos Antivirus.

Note: Sophos is provided as an alternative for those who do not already have protection, or those with expired licenses for antivirus software. If you have existing antivirus software and are able to update your virus definitions you may continue to use your antivirus software. DO NOT run more than one antivirus program at the same time – doing so can cause software conflict. If you wish to install Sophos instead or if the license for your existing antivirus software has expired, uninstall your antivirus software completely before attempting to install Sophos.

You should use Sophos regularly to check your computer for viruses. See the Sophos user manual| [PDF].

Even with antivirus protection installed, your computer may still be vulnerable on the network. Visit Protect your computer| to take further steps.

Quick steps for installing Sophos Antivirus:

  • Download Sophos antivirus software
  • Uninstall any existing antivirus software
  • Install Sophos Antivirus
  • Configure the auto-update settings
  • Update the license key yearly

Downloading Sophos Antivirus (Windows XP/Vista/7)

Please note that the Sophos software is licensed for all staff and students only while they are studying at or employed by LSE. Before attempting to download, make sure you are using Remote Desktop| via Remote Access| (|) or a LSE laptop plug-in point on campus.

  1. If you are conneting from off-campus, connect using Remote Desktop via
    If you are using an LSE plug-in point on campus or in residences, continue to Step 2.
  2. Go to
  3. Log in with your LSE username and password
  4. Make a note of the Sophos licence information at the bottom of the page (i.e. username and password). Please note that the details change yearly.
  5. Download the file savw_100_sa_sfx.exe (Sophos Antivirus 10) to your computer
  6. Disconnect from the internet and uninstall your existing antivirus software as described below. Do not install Sophos until you have uninstalled any existing antivirus software.

Uninstalling your current antivirus software

Running more than one antivirus program at the same time can cause software conflict. If you are going to use Sophos, it is recommended that you uninstall any other antivirus programs on your computer e.g. McAfee.

  1. Click Start | Control Panel | Add/Remove Programs (Windows XP) or Programs and Features (Windows Vista) or Uninstall a Program (Windows 7)
  2. Choose the antivirus software you want to uninstall
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to uninstall the software

Installing Sophos Antivirus

  1. Locate the Sophos file (savw_100_sa_sfx.exe) that you downloaded earlier and double-click it
  2. In the Sophos Anti-Virus Installer window, click Install to extract the file's contents to your computer and start the installation wizard
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions
  4. On the Update source page of the wizard, select or enter the information below so the computer can get updates:

    Address: select Sophos from the list
    User name: enter the username you made a note of in step 4 above
    Password: enter the password you made a note of in step 4 above
    Confirm Password: enter the password you made a note of in step 4 above
  5. Please remember that every year you MUST update the Username and Password to the new Sophos username and password, otherwise the update process will fail
  6. Click Next and follow the rest of the on-screen instructions
  7. When installation is complete, connect to the Internet
  8. In the System Tray (normally bottom-right of the screen), right-click the Sophos icon and select Update now
  9. If the update is successful, the Sophos icon in the System Tray will appear blue Sophos Icon

Configure Sophos Autoupdate

You only need to follow the instructions in this section if you didn't specify an update source during installation.

You should configure Sophos so that it updates the virus definition files automatically on a regular basis. It is very important that you keep the virus definition files up to date to ensure that Sophos is able to protect your computer against new viruses.

To configure Sophos AutoUpdate:

  1. Right-click the Sophos icon in your System Tray (normally bottom-right of the screen) and select Open Sophos Endpoint Security and Control
  2. In the Updating section, click Configure Updating
  3. Click the Primary Location tab
  4. From the Address drop-down menu, select Sophos
  5. Enter the username and password that you noted down in step 4 of Downloading Sophos Antivirus above
  6. Click OK

Please remember that every year you must udpate the username and password with the new one available at the web page above. Without the current correct user name and password, the update process will not work.

Updating Virus Definition files (IDEs)

To update Sophos automatically:

If you installed Sophos and configured Autoupdate as advised above, it will automatically check for the latest virus definition files and update itself as long as your computer is connected to the Internet. By default, Sophos updates itself daily at system startup, but it is possible to update it manually.

To update Sophos manually:

In the System Tray, right-click the Sophos icon and select Update now

IMT strongly recommend that you set your antivirus protection to update automatically. Alternatively, the latest virus definition (IDE) files, can be manually downloaded from the Sophos website| and installed.

To check the date and version of your IDE files:

  1. In the System Tray, right-click the Sophos icon
  2. Select Open Sophos Endpoint Security and Control
  3. In the left-hand Status pane, the third entry shows the date and time of the last update. This should be recent.

Checking the status and version of Sophos

Please note that as of October 2013, the current Sophos product for Microsoft Windows is at version 10.0.

If you don't have the latest version of Sophos you can download it following the instructions above.

To check if you have the latest version of Sophos:

  1. Right-click the Sophos icon in your System Tray and select Open Sophos Endpoint Security and Control. The window that opens will look like this:

Sophos Anti-Virus version 10


The Sophos Antivirus icon in the system tray is not blue.

If the icon is grey, this means that the on-access scanner is not running and your computer has no on-access protection against threats.

If a red circle with a white cross in it appears over the icon, it means Sophos antivirus failed to update itself.

In both cases, first follow the steps above for Configure Sophos Autoupdate and Updating Virus Definition Files (IDEs). If this does not work, visit the Laptop Surgery for assistance.

I am experiencing problems installing Sophos Antivirus.

This may be because you already have a virus on your computer. Download Sophos' Windows Virus Removal Tool| and use it to scan your computer and remove any threats.

I have already installed Sophos Antivirus but can't update the virus definition files.

This may be because the Sophos license key username and password you are using have expired. The license key details change yearly. Visit| and log in with your username and password. Make a note of the Sophos licence information at the bottom of the page and then follow the steps under Configure Sophos Autoupdate.

Mac OS X users

Sophos Antivirus for Mac OS X 10.4 and above is available at|  See the Sophos website| for instructions. See the Laptop Surgery| page for IMT's Apple Mac Support policy.