Sophos wins VB anti-spam comparative test

Filed Under: Spam

VBSpam verified awardThose awfully nice people at Virus Bulletin have just published their March 2011 edition, which includes a comparative test of 20 different anti-spam solutions.

Over 16 consecutive days, Virus Bulletin tested the different products against a total of 140,800 emails - 137,889 of which were spam. Legitimate messages were sent in a number of different languages to represent the international nature of email.

I'm delighted to say that Sophos's email appliance performed superbly, achieving a 99.91% spam catch rate with no false alarms.

This meant Sophos appeared in the very top right corner of Virus Bulletin's spam quadrant (that's definitely the corner you want to be in), and outperformed a number of competitors.

As Virus Bulletin explains, their chart plots spam catch rate against false positive rate.

VB Spam quadrant

Martijn Grooten of Virus Bulletin wrote:

"..Sophos Email Appliance is a very good spam filter, as demonstrated in the current test. The third highest spam catch rate combined with no false positives at all gave it the highest final score and the product's developers in the UK and Canada should consider themselves the winners of this test."

More information about the VBSpam comparative testing can be found on Virus Bulletin's website.

We try not to toot the horn for Sophos's products too much on the Naked Security site (figuring you're more interested in reading about emerging threats than being pestered by us trying to get you to buy our solutions), but hopefully you won't mind if I raise a glass to the guys and gals in our labs, testing and development teams for the excellent result.

Well done chaps! This award follows hot on the heels of other good news for Sophos's email security solution, which was named "Best Email Security" product at the SC Magazine Awards in San Francisco last month.

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5 Responses to Sophos wins VB anti-spam comparative test

  1. Bob · 1671 days ago

    Where is Cicsco/Ironport ?

  2. 4ltrcty · 1671 days ago

    I suppose Microsoft Security Essentials didn't submit their product for testing either??
    Not to belittle the testing but I'm always suspicious of the company performing the test winning the battle of the virus catchers. Suspicion that's all.

    • It's an anti-spam test - so even if Microsoft Security Essentials had been submitted, it wouldn't have done very well!

  3. Mark Bamford · 1671 days ago

    Being a Fortinet Network Security Professional and having spent a week in France having specific training on the Fortimail, I can say from the Fortimail side of things this chart is not very meaningful. The appliance has at least 5 different methods of classifying spam, each individually adjustable. With the Fortimail, as with other products, the catch rate v the rate of false positives depends on how the units are set up. Setup badly you can get pretty poor results.

    Also, and let’s be honest about this, the same test carried out the following month will have different results. The only way to really test security providers is to carry out tests regularly over the course of a year and publish the average results.

    Having said that, I recommend Sophos and Fortinet to all of our clients. It is no coincidence that they are both at the top of the chart.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog at, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley