Every day your Mac is undertake from outside forces. Did you know there are already apps on your Mac which connect to the internet without your knowledge? Besides Mail, Safari, and Messages here’s how to find out which apps are phoning home and how to stop them.
E.T. Phone Home
Most apps on your Mac have a good reason for connecting to the internet through your local or office network.
‘Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the postmen from their appointed rounds‘ can also apply to email on your Mac.
Mail needs to connect to the network. So does Safari, Messages, FaceTime, and Mac apps which sync up to iCloud.
In fact, most third party Mac apps also phone home to their developers to check for app updates. But some third party apps may have other reasons for phoning home.
With all the due paranoia from a continuing stream of security breaches in the news, not only do Mac users need to keep hackers out, we need to track which apps on the inside are connecting elsewhere.
That’s what TCPBlock does. It’s a free app that tracks and blocks outgoing connections.
TCPBlock is a bit geeky but once you set it up it just works by allowing or denying specific applications to specific IP addresses.
Think of it as a reverse firewall. Your Mac’s firewall uses thousands of ports for apps to communicate to the outside world on a network. Close the ports and no one can get into your Mac.
Likewise, TCPBlock plugs the ports going from your Mac to the network. It’s an easy to setup Preference Pane which also has Terminal.app command line access. This free app isn’t as easy to manage as the popular Little Snitch or even Hands Off, but it works.
Not only is your Mac under attack from outside hackers, now you know that apps on your Mac are using the network connection and doing who knows what without your knowledge. Listen, we live in an age where everyone is out to get you so a little paranoia might be the best attitude you can have.