A firewall may protect your Mac from hackers and malware bots trying to sneak into your Mac, but what about apps and malware already on your Mac? You’d be surprised to know how many Mac apps phone home and send data from your Mac. How can you find out? There’s one easy way.
Little Snitch could easily be billed as a reverse firewall. It protects data on your Mac from being sent out from your Mac.
How does it do that? Little Snitch closes all outgoing network communication from your Mac. Then, one by one, it allows appropriate and acceptable apps to connect. That includes Mail, Safari, Calendar and Contacts, and other legitimate apps which need to check for updates, connect to iCloud, and so on.
Once installed, Little Snitch monitors your Mac’s network connection. Any app that wants to use the network is stopped until you give it the OK.
What’s impressive about Little Snitch isn’t the protection it offers. It’s how many apps on a Mac are trying to connect to your network or the internet.
To keep you apprised of network connections, Little Snitch has a Network Monitor which works in real time.
There’s plenty more going on behind the scenes. Little Snitch can be setup as an incoming network firewall to block connections from the internet.
Initial setup and operation is sufficiently easy that Mac newbies can install and use Little Snitch but geekier Mac users will appreciate rule options, ruleset analysis, domain-based rules, and the simplified alerts.
If I had to choose only one app to manage both incoming and outgoing network connections to help lock down my Mac from both intruders and malware already on the Mac, it would be Little Snitch.
That said, all those pop up alerts after initial install can be annoying, and there are many. Setting up and managing rules is not an effort for the faint of heart. It’s complex.