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Free Giveaway! Little Snitch, a companion to Mac OS X’s firewall

Free Giveaway! Little Snitch, a companion to Mac OS X's firewall

Mac OS X features its own firewall, which resides in System Preferences. While it is effective, it does not manage all connections to and from a Mac. Little Snitch is a $29.95 third-party firewall that covers everything the built-in one does not.

Although Macs are inherently more secure than Windows PCs, that does not mean they are invincible. That’s why turning on Mac OS X’s integrated firewall is a good idea. Tiger’s firewall is located in System Preferences > Sharing, while Leopard’s firewall can be found at System Preferences > Security. The problem, even though it works well, is that it can only block incoming connections to your computer. What if there’s already something installed on your computer that’s trying to make a questionable connection to the internet? That qualifies as an outgoing connection, which is where Little Snitch comes in.

From Objective Development Software GmbH, Little Snitch is a $29.95 application that gives Mac users (running 10.4 or later) more control over the internet traffic originating from their computer. Many applications nowadays periodically “phone home” or check in with their creators’ servers to exchange information. This is typically done for legitimate reasons like checking for software updates or validating serial numbers to prevent piracy. In other cases, programs may be transmitting technical information about a computer for marketing & research purposes. What we really want to avoid is a malicious piece of software stealing your personal information and sending it off to someone else without your knowledge. Little Snitch puts you in the driver’s seat by telling you when outgoing connections are attempted – leaving the choice of whether to allow or deny them entirely up to you.

Little Snitch: Outgoing firewall for Mac

When Little Snitch catches an outgoing connection, a window pops up with details about the what, where, and how. The “what” is which application is trying to connect to the internet, represented by its large icon. The “where” is the address or website the program is trying to contact. And the “how” is the port it’s using to make the connection. Little Snitch offers a number of options for users to choose from, depending on the situation. You can choose to allow or deny a connection just once, every time until the given application quits, or forever. Connections can also be allowed or denied based on the port alone, the address alone, or the combination of both of them together.

Little Snitch: Outgoing firewall for Mac

Once a connection is allowed or denied, a rule is created in the Little Snitch Configuration utility. There is a collection of pre-defined rules for common Mac programs like Mail, iChat, and Safari by default. Dealing with Little Snitch’s notifications are bothersome at first, but as more rules are created for third-party applications a lengthy list will accumulate and less intrusions will be made. The great thing is that rules can be edited or deleted at any time, so mistakes can easily be corrected.

While Little Snitch is a quality utility, it is admittedly only for experienced and knowledgeable Mac users. Casual users will likely become annoyed or confused by the frequent notifications that pop up when rules are first created. It does get better over time, but some folks may not have the patience to wait that long. However, there’s no denying that Little Snitch is the best application in its category. Considering all that it does, it is well made and incredibly easy to use. Not to mention the fact that it doesn’t hog a ton of system resources like other software tends to do. It’s an essential tool for security geeks and those who like to run a tight ship. Combined with Mac OS X’s built-in incoming firewall, Little Snitch’s outgoing firewall offers users complete control over all of their Mac’s internet connections.

Win a free copy of Little Snitch!

Mac enthusiasts are in for a treat! The developers of Little Snitch (regularly $29.95) have been nice enough to offer a free software license to one lucky MacYourself reader! To enter, please leave a comment below, along with a valid email address (this is how we will contact you). In order to avoid spam filter issues, please type a coherent sentence saying you’d like a chance to win and whether Mac OS X’s built-in firewall is currently enabled on your computer. Your answer won’t factor into your chances of winning. Think of it as an informal poll just for kicks. Multiple entries will be deleted, so please only add one comment per person. And finally, don’t worry if your comment doesn’t appear on the site immediately — it might be awaiting moderation and will show up shortly.

A winner will be chosen at random based on the comment number they happen to be. The lucky guy or girl will be announced on this page, so bookmark this article and be sure to check back later. All entries must be made by August 22, 2009 at 11:59pm eastern U.S. time. In the meantime, download a free trial of Little Snitch to try it out for yourself. Note that the trial is limited to running for 3 hours at a time before it shuts itself off. Good luck!

UPDATE – August 24, 2009:
Congratulations to our winner Dennis! His comment number was chosen from a random number generator and he has been given a free copy of Little Snitch! Thanks to everyone who entered and remember to consider purchasing a copy of Little Snitch yourself to keep an eye on your Mac’s internet connections.

28 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

I`d like to win a copy of Little Snitch. The built-in firewall is turned off, I rely solely on my hardware firewire. Until I win Little Snitch, that is.

I would love a chance to win!
I’m pretty sure I have firewall turned on… o.O

Nelson Eduardo Rojas
August 17th, 2009, 11:27 AM

Super Programm!

I do have my firewall turned on. Having the added security would be great!

Sounds like a pretty nice little app. I’d love to win it!

I would love to win a copy! The built-in Firewall is enabled in all my Macs.

Normally people don’t like a little snitch.

But this one everyone should have.

I would like to win a version of Little Snitch to protect my mac beter from the in and outside cause i’ve been hacked a few weeks ago…. so little snitch would really come in handy

woot woot! would love to have a copy of this.

p.s. oops. forgot to say, my firewall is not on. (you can make this my entry post!) would love to win a copy of the software.

I am not using the built-in firewall or any other firewall currently. I would love a change to win! Thanks for the write-up.

I would really love to win a copy of LittleSnitch. Looks so awesome.

Currently my Mac firewall is activated with only manually added exceptions allowed

I’d love a copy of Little Snitch :)

I’ve tried the demo of little snitch and it’s surprising to see how many programs try to send/recieve info over the internet.

The firewall in on by default on a newly installed Mac. I don’t see a reason to turn it of.

I would like a copy of Little Snitch to protect my Mac. Yes, I do have my firewall on and running strong.

I would like to win Little Snitch. No, I haven’t enabled my firewall, but only because I’m behind a router.

Would love for a chance to win! I do have macosx firewall enabled, but it doesnt provide the fine rained control that Little Snitch does. And with so much private data on my mac, it would give me some peace of mind.

I’d like a chance to win the contest! I use the firewall of MAC OSX

I would love to win Little Snitch. It is a great piece of software and far superiour to the internal firewall of OS X.

Free stuff is always welcome, count me in! Especially since the Mac OSX firewall is incredibly limited with regards to customization.

My firewall is wide open. Little Snitch looks cool so please put me in the running for a copy.

Every Little Snitch needs a good home!

I’d like to win a free copy of Little Snitch. My Leopard’s firewall is enabled.

I was also surprised at how many programs were trying to get on the web. I do have my firewall turned on but Little Snitch provides so much more information. And I too am tired of re-activating the demo every three hours.

Does this work with Snow Leopard x64?

Great program! Keep up the good work.

Little Snitch is available in a beta version for Snow Leopard.

little snitch is what every mac owner should have. It compliments the firewall and would love it to be built in to the osx system. Its the biz. As a windows to osx convert it really is a must. Would love to win it but will probably buy it when i can afford it. Will not hold my breath. Last comment, it is exceptional though. Cheers.