After all, with everyone connected to the internet, and malware a problem even for Mac users it pays to be a little paranoid. Hackers troll the internet looking for open vulnerabilities to get into your Mac.
What about those already on your Mac and trying to get out? Say what? What on your Mac prevents hackers or malware or Big Brother apps that are already on your Mac from making a network connection and uploading your valuable personal information?
The answer is, well, mostly nothing. Apple has built-in firewall on the Mac, but it doesn’t easily prevent a legitimate app or malware from phoning home.
To lock down your Mac from the inside you’ll need Little Snitch. Just as a firewall prevents outside hackers from getting into your Mac, Little Snitch protects your Mac from sending information. It’s like having a reverse firewall.
This is one of the most powerful, elegant, behind-the-scenes, set-it-and-mostly-forget-it security apps you can put on your Mac.
It watches every outgoing network connection attempt and warns you when an app wants to use the network. You decide which apps can phone home or use the internet and which ones can’t.
Basic apps like Safari and Mail and others that need the internet connection are allowed out, of course. Apps you don’t know about that still want to connect outbound are stopped until you allow it.
THe user configuration is simple enough. Add a new app, edit an app’s configurations, delete a configuration, or lock it down so no one but you can make changes.
Some Mac apps check the internet for app updates. Even those can be flagged and prevented from establishing a network connection. You get a simple pop up which shows you which app wants to use the network and gives you options.
Little Snitch even comes with a little Network Monitor window which lists all the incoming and outgoing network traffic on your Mac. It can be quite revealing. Many Mac apps phone home to their makers, while others uploaded data, or connect to iCloud or Dropbox.
You’ll still need to be a little paranoid, but Little Snitch lets you work with more peace of mind while knowing that apps are not phoning home or connecting to the internet without your permission.