But Apple also ships the Mac with the internal firewall turned off. To reduce your security paranoia, what the Mac needs is the hands on inside and outside security checks that come with the Hands Off! app.
Monitor Incoming And Outgoing
I like to think of Hands Off! as a bi-directional monitoring tool; a utility which watches how your Mac apps communication with the outside world.
It’s one of only a few Mac apps that monitor all incoming and outgoing network connections on an app-by-app basis.
While you’re doing whatever you do on your Mac, a bunch of apps are running in the background, and many phone home to who knows who.
Hands Off! stops those connections and gives you pop up alerts so you can control which apps connect, and which ones should not.
Here’s a good example. Safari needs to connect to the internet, right? But Hands Off! can detect which connections go where, on what network port, and to which domains– and give you controls to open or close the connection.
Hands Off! does more than just monitor apps and their network connections. It also monitors your Mac’s storage devices.
You control which apps are allowed to do what on your Mac. Initial setup is straightforward, though you may run into a bunch of pop ups as various apps begin to use the network to communicate.
The Hands Off! controls can list all apps and their connection settings.
A little paranoia usually makes for a more secure Mac.
With Hands Off! installed, you can prevent apps from phoning home over your network connection. It also blocks incoming network connections, protects against Mac Trojan malware, and other network parasites.
Apps can be prevented from reading files on your Mac, storing cookies or writing file operations.
Global rules can be applied to all users on a single Mac, or work individually for each user. It takes a bit of work to figure out which Mac apps are friendly and deserving of a network connection, and which are not.
The peace of mind that overcomes your paranoia is the Hands Off! pop up notification when an unauthorized or unknown app tries to use the Mac’s network. Annoying? Or, comforting? I’ll go with comforting.