Sophos pulling 532MB of memory to run?

Hi there, 

I am trialling Sophos on our small office network (10 PCs). As our machines are quite old and slow, an important requirement for me is performance. This morning I logged onto my machine and noticed absolutely everything was really sluggish. I opened up task manager and found that Sophos was pulling 532MB of memory! I thought, oh, it might just be scanning. So I opened Sophos itself to check, nope nothing told me it was scanning.

I phoned Sophos support. I spoke to a young lady who first diligently took about 10 minutes in trying to get the correct spelling of my email address and company name. After what seemed to be an eternity she answered with "anything up to 1000MB is normal, so 500MB is normal. There's no problem." But my Sophos isn't scanning anything, "its normal" she said.

QUESTION
Is this true? It's normal for Sophos to hang around idly and suck up 500MB of memory?... is that really normal? I really hope its not otherwise Sophos is not at all for me. If it is not normal, can anyone explain by look at task manager what was consuming my resources?

Regards

Michelle

  • Hello Michelle,

    the 300MB for the AV seems moderately high but all in all it seems normal indeed. Looking at the screenshot - Chrome consumes roughly 15% less, so ...

    To explain: A scanner intercepts files access (or the more newfangled stuff monitors events or hooks calls) and it should make its decision as quickly as possible. Last thing you want is that it does additional I/O to read its virus definitions and frees the memory after use only to go through the same sequence microseconds later. Thus a IMO reasonable amount of memory is used to ensure "desirable overall performance".

    Naturally quite old machines don't go too well together with "state-of-the-art" software, whether fancy applications or basic services. You wouldn't get below 350-300MB if you do away with the newer components - and this would be like your local police being able to deal with petty crooks but stranded when it comes to cybercrimes due to lack of appropriate equipment,

    What are the specs of these machines and how old is old, which OS? I'm using Windows 7 on an almost 7 years old i7, admittedly (inexpensively) upgraded to 8GB with a 500GB SSD, and don't have to woory about performance.

    Christian

  • In reply to QC:

    Hi Christian, Thanks for taking the time write such a detailed reply in an easy to understand format. I checked my PC, I only see Sophos using 45MB... definitely not 532MB. Mostly I see the below memory usage.

  • In reply to Michelle99:

    Hi Michelle,

    I would say it is expected for Sophos Endpoint Protection to hover around 300-400MB of memory usage.  In your screenshot it looks like it is missing the Sophos Anti-virus process which uses the most memory out of them all.  You might see this as "Performs virus scanning and disinfection functions"

  • In reply to Michelle99:

    Hello Michelle,

    as SJaramillo says, the AV component (SAVService.exe) is not there for whatever reason.
    SAVService.exe uses a more or less constant amount (around 300MB) of memory that is only minimally dependent on what it's doing - if for example you disable On-Access (Real-Time) scanning it essentially "does nothing" but detection data are nevertheless kept in memory thus usage doesn't change.

    Christian

  • In reply to QC:

    Thank you both for your replies. Yes, I see it's around 400-500MB now when I group the missing service. My PC's were fine for what they had to do working on 4Gb RAM and a "normal" harddrive. No longer. Now with Sophos InterceptX Advanced installed, I'm going to upgrade to 8Gb and an SSD like @QC recommends (thanks Christiaan).

  • My system also pulling 614mb.  This is Sophos Intercept X Advanced. 

    The most heavy services is

    SavService - 290.3

    SSPService - 117

    SophosFileScanner - 110

    HitmanPro.Alert (AKA Intercept X) - 15.85

    It's incredible how heavy this product is.  

    I may just remove the Advanced part that adds Endpoint Protection and use only Intercept X.  

  • In reply to ANGEL65:

    Hi Angel,  I like the sound of your idea.

    Can you (or anyone) please explain what you will loose when you switch off “Endpoint Protection”? And in comparison, what does “Intercept X” do?  

    Also, please can you explain to me how you will go about switching Endpoint Protection off?

  • In reply to Michelle99:

    You would need to uninstall product completely. Reboot,  then install only Intercept X.  

    Choose which Endpoint Protection components you'd like to download option for install package.

    This installs only the Intercept X with Deep learning.  

    You will not have Anti-Malware File Scanning.  The signature based Antivirus engine.  

    Think also these items will not be available.

    Data Loss Prevention
    Web Security
    Peripheral Control
    Application Control

    To me the Intercept X only with Deep Learning is sufficient.  

  • In reply to ANGEL65:

    Thanks Angel, that’s a big step forward in my understanding. Can anyone verify this for certain please:-

    ANGEL65
     This installs only the Intercept X with Deep learning.  You will not have Anti-Malware File Scanning.  The signature based Antivirus engine.  Think also these items will not be available.

    Data Loss Prevention
    Web Security
    Peripheral Control
    Application Control

    And with InterceptX only then, I take it then I can’t scan my c:\ (for example) for viruses?  

  • In reply to Michelle99:

    You can still scan with Intercept X.  I believe it's using cloud scanner with Deep Learning.

    Here is difference without Advanced Installed on two of my systems. Notice on Advanced Sophos Antivirus uses 291mb + Web Control/Intelligence running.

    Sophos Intercept X feels nice and light when running.  

    Sophos Intercept X

    HitmanPro Alert 1.9mb
    HitmanPro Alert 13mb
    Sophos Clean 2.3mb
    Sophos EDR 1.8
    Sophos Endpoint Defense 67.9
    Sophos Endpoint Defense 6.0
    Sophos Interface 4.3
    Sophos File Scanner 2.8
    Sophos File Scanner 114
    Sophos File Scanner Service 1.9
    Sophos Health Service 2.0
    Sophos MCS Agent 4.6
    Sophos MCS Agent 3.6
    Sophos Network Threat Protection 8.2
    Sophos Safestore 2.5
    Sophos Update 0.9
    Total - 237.7

    Sophos Intercept X Advanced

    HitmanPro Alert 14.6mb
    Sophos Anti Virus 291.5
    Sophos Admin Service 2.0
    Sophos Clean 2.3mb
    Sophos Device Control 1.3
    Sophos EDR 2.7
    Sophos Endpoint Defense 141.1
    Sophos Endpoint Defense 7.1
    Sophos Interface 3.9
    Sophos File Scanner 3.4
    Sophos File Scanner 131
    Sophos File Scanner Service 2.6
    Sophos Health Service 2.4
    Sophos MCS Agent 7.8
    Sophos MCS Agent 4.8
    Sophos Network Threat Protection 10.6
    Sophos Safestore 2.5
    Sophos Update 1
    Sophos Web Control 2.1
    Sophos Web Intelligence 6.6
    Sophos Web Intelligence 12.9
    Sophos Web Intelligence 1.7
    Total 655.9

    Here is link to Specs - https://www.sophos.com/en-us/products/intercept-x/tech-specs.aspx

    I think Intercept X is what Sophos wants product to be in the future,  Advanced is including the old Endpoint Protection "adding the bloat". If you want full coverage,  keep advanced.  If your like me and hardly get malware and want light solution,  Intercept X is the way to go.  

     

  • In reply to ANGEL65:

    Thanks Angel, that list is very useful. I took a while to understand this, but after several conversations with Sophos support, I finally have an understanding. 

    Intercept X Advanced
    = Central Endpoint Protection + Intercept X

    Central Endpoint Protection: is the fundamental and traditional malware protection
    InterceptX: provides protection for unknown and ransomware attacks

     

    And finally, all the features:

  • In reply to Michelle99:

    Hello Michelle99 and ANGEL65,

    Endpoint is the security check, Intercept is the sky marshal - albeit with extra powers. To entertain this analogy further he's capable of resuscitating killed passengers and crew members and countermanding damage to the plane. Arguably there's no need for a security check if the marshal is perfect and invincible. And debatably an adversary who can overwhelm the marshal can also outplay the security check.

    At the moment all vendors of a "next-gen protection" claim that it's highly successful in just-in-time detection and if necessary undoing changes and the extra layer of incrediblYes heavy classic AV seems redundant - especially when you hardly get malware. Essentially classic AV has to sift through an ever-growing database of mugshots. As with all databases performance suffers if the available memory goes below a certain value.

    Malware writes won't give up and we'll likely see the development of new strategies and more resources will be needed to combat them. Memory isn't actually expensive nowadays, pre-execution scanning might still have its merits.

    Christian

  • In reply to QC:

    Hi been following the thread, good stuff, just wanted to chime in.  I  manage a company with multiple workstation groups.  Meaning different software loads on workstations from graphic designers, customer support to data processing.  I have all of Sophos enabled across the board since many of the aspects will work without the other the overall protection is designed to work together and it is best to fully embrace the security if you can.  Every workstation we have is running an i5 with 8GB RAM and a SSD, even with the higher end software taxing the system more, Sophos plus the software still does not max out the system resources above 80%.  Above I had seen discussions to limit Sophos vs upgrading to 8GB RAM and a SSD, although if this is a must I understand but if you can swing it I would recommend upgrading the RAM and SSD, for the most part if you shop around you can do this for under $80.00.  From a risk stand point, cost vs protection this really is a good deal.

     

  • In reply to QC:

    Thanks Christian for great explanation.  I wish it was possible to load the antivirus part of of Endpoint without Device Control or Web Filtering.  Webfiltering is done on my small network by Sophos XG appliance.  I would like a little more control on my devices :)

    I think your product Intercept X is fantastic as with all Sophos products.  

    Can you tell me one thing,  if I run Intercept X only,  isn't the Deep Learning Malware scanner (Sophos File Scanner) or Live Protection still using cloud based "Mugshots"?  If yes then why do I need the classic AV installed?  

  • In reply to ANGEL65:

    Hello ANGEL65,

    it's not my product, I'm not Sophos. I have no experience with the newfangled cloud-based components. I'm also not an expert, at best I'm a mediator. Might have some comments but I value my weekend and With Monday, likely not before midweek.

    Christian