Or, they’re already on your Mac and trying to phone home and connect who knows where on the internet. Unless you dig around you won’t know about either attempts to hack into, or break out of your Mac.
Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
Any computer system administrator– Mac, Windows, Linux or otherwise– will tell you the same story. Hacking attempts to break into all computers connected to the internet are on the rise.
Every day, every computer faces the potential for a hacker to connect and do damage. What about those who have already compromised your Mac and connect to the internet to send data who knows where?
Wait. How is your Mac already compromised? If you download and install applications to your Mac, chances are good those apps also use the internet connection to send information back to the developers.
All of this hacking into and phoning home activity takes place behind the scenes, out of sight, out of view, and mostly out of mind. One of the few ways you can track down what’s going on is with an app like Little Snitch.
Your Mac’s built-in firewall can help keep out unwanted hackers from the internet, but what about apps already on your Mac trying to connect out to the network?
Little Snitch stops them, and tells you which apps are attempting an outbound connection.
Every time an app decides to connect to your network, regardless of the reason, Little Snitch intercepts the connection, stops it immediately, then gives you the details and options to allow or deny.
You control which apps on your Mac have permission to connect to the internet, or local network. There’s even control settings to determine how and to what connection apps can make.
Of course, you’ll want Mail to connect to grab email. And Safari needs to connect to browse. And OS X has certain network functions to maintain, but Little Snitch can control them all.
The floating Network Monitor gives you a quick view of what’s taking place between your Mac and the network; bandwidth, apps, connections, and more.
Clever and informative, right?
Little Snitch starts working to block outbound connections immediately, but the controls and options are many, including Silent Mode, Filters, Profiles, and Alerts.
Similar protection is offered by Little Snitch for incoming connections using the inbound firewall, so you’re protected both coming and going.
Little Snitch isn’t a malware scanner, or an anti-virus app. It does one thing very well. It blocks and controls all incoming and outgoing network traffic to and from your Mac.
Those filters and controls make it rather easy to find who is connecting and why, and whether or not they need to be stopped, or allowed to continue. It won’t protect your Mac against phishing attacks or a Trojan horse, but it covers the bases on inbound and outbound connections better than any other.
If there’s a problem with Little Switch it’s the level of complexity beyond the initial setup. The rules and filters can be daunting, but most Mac users won’t even need to go there.