Simply put, a computer’s firewall is a security system that controls and monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic according to specific rules. Your Mac has a firewall. The default setting is off. Why? How can you prevent outsiders from hacking in? Perhaps more importantly, how can you prevent apps on your Mac from connecting to the internet?
Phone Home Much?
Only Apple knows why the built-in firewall on a Mac is off by default, but that alone may not make the Mac less secure. Managing a PCs firewall is not a trivial exercise and Mac’s already have a good track record of inherent security.
Enter Vallum, a personal firewall for your Mac that does something unique. Not only can it control and monitor incoming network connections, Vallum does the same for outgoing network connections– those apps on your Mac which connect to who knows where and send who knows what data.
Vallum is an icon-based app so it’s relatively straightforward to setup and use.
Unlike some other app monitoring tools, Vallum monitors and controls only those apps you want; just drag and drop. The app is blocked and cannot phone home, but you have some controls and configurations (because some apps are friendly, even when they connect out to a network).
Typical firewall rules can be extensive and usually require plenty of network and PC or server experience. Not so with Vallum. It’s the firewall for the rest of us and makes interactive rulesets purely child splay with simple drag and drop.
For example, here’s how you can control Google’s Chrome browser (one of the more notorious Mac apps that constantly sends data back to Google).
What Vallum does is what Mac users probably didn’t know could be done, but in the age of constant hacks and security breaches, we know added security can be of great benefit.
- Increase Privacy – intercept apps that phone home with your data
- Drag and Drop – no arcane, indecipherable rulesets; just drag and drop
- Notifications – discover what apps connect and where
- Multiple Levels – use a simple, silent firewall, or track all details
- App and Network – full control of apps and the network connections
- Easily Accessible – Vallum resides in the Mac’s Menubar; one click access
- Go Crazy – simplicity works, but rules can be mixed and appended
- Free Upgrades – in the age of subscription apps, this is refreshing
Vallum is priced right, too; with a single user license for one Mac, and a family pack of five licenses for $5 more. The app does some of what you’ll find in Little Snitch, a Mac360 favorite, and another called Hands Off, both of which monitor incoming and outgoing app connections, though Vallum is easier to setup and use.