Did you know your Mac has a built-in firewall? Apple is so smug in their security-through-obscurity with the Mac that they don’t even turn it on. A firewall protects against intruders trying to get inside your Mac. What do you do if the intruder is already there and trying to phone home?
There are four kinds of Mac firewalls. Those that keep outsiders out. Those that prevent insiders from phoning out (home). And, free and not free.
Stop The Phoning Home Apps
TCPBlock is a Mac app that prevents apps from phoning home without letting you know they’re doing so. Think of it as a reverse firewall.
It sits on your Mac waiting for an app to phone home.
And TCPBlock doesn’t care whether the phoning home is simply to check on the latest update or whether your credit card information is being sent.
Whenever an app opens a new connection to the network (internal or internet), TCPBlock springs into action to prevent the connection. So far as I know, it’s the only free Mac app that does so.
Like many such powerful and inexpensive apps, it’s a two edged sword. TCPBlock requires the Growl notification system (which we recommend) so you get notified whenever some app tries to create a network connection.
Setup is easy enough using the preference pane in System Preferences.
Choose to enable, block everything, and add Growl.
That’s the last time you’ll see easy.
The apps on your Mac can be part of a list to allow or disallow.
Unfortunately, there’s some geek involved so make sure the check the instructions on the TCPBlock home page to complete the install and setup.
What you get is an app that tracks the network connections of other apps.
When TCPBlock uses Growl you’ll get one of three notification types.
There’s one to block, one to allow incoming, and one to allow outgoing connections for each app that attempts to use the network.