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Sophos Desktop Alerts

Starting July of 2021, IS&T has migrated to a new version of Sophos called Sophos Central. MIT users have until the summer of 2022 before the old version will stop receiving updates. This page references the legacy version of Sophos. You can see documentation for the new Sophos Central here and download the newest version of Sophos here.

In which circumstances will desktop alerts be shown by the Sophos Anti-Virus application? 


This article refers to computers running the Sophos Anti-Virus software supplied by Information Systems & Technology (accessible from the software download grid).

Normal Condition

The normal condition for Sophos is indicated by the Sophos icon: 

This icon is located at the top right (for Mac) or bottom right (for Windows) of the screen, on the tool bar and it will change depending on the condition.

If the computer is up to date and has no items in quarantine, and you click the icon  , it will say at the top of the pop-up menu "Up to Date." No actions are needed.

Error or Warning Condition

Warning icon (an !) shows one of the following conditions:

  • the on-access scanner is not enabled
  • the firewall is not enabled
  • a controlled application has been blocked
  • a controlled device has been blocked
  • a file transfer has been blocked by the data control scanner.

An error icon   shows one of the following conditions: 

  • a Sophos service has failed 
  • failed to download update - this may occur if your computer cannot access the Internet, so you need to check your connection.

When the icon is displaying a warning or error condition, as mentioned above, the explanation is displayed when clicking the icon.

Critical messages:

When a critical event is encountered, such as malware or suspicious behavior being detected, a new window will open in the center of the screen. This new windows is always on top and updated with new alerts in real time.

If a computer is not managed by an Enterprise Console (such as the home edition of Sophos Anti-Virus), a "Sophos Protection" message will display at system startup.

Non-critical messages:

These are displayed as a Windows-style balloon message, which is hidden after approx. 9 seconds.

Unusual Behavior

If you see any unusual behavior or messages from your Sophos application, and it is not clear to you what is occurring, contact the IS&T Help Desk.

See Also

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

June 16, 2021

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