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Little Snitch 2 review

Verdict:

Review Date: 29 Nov 2007

Price when reviewed: (about £12) for single seat; $12.95 (about £6) upgrade from version 1

Reviewed By: Giles Turnbull

Our Rating 5 stars out of 5

Your Mac has a built-in firewall that keeps a close eye on incoming network connections. You can control what comes in, and which applications it can reach.

That's fine, but what about network traffic heading in the other direction? What about applications that try to make outbound connections to other servers?

Enter Little Snitch, the app that snitches on all apps trying to make outgoing calls. Every outgoing connection attempt is logged - and now displayed in real time, if you wish. Like firewall exceptions, Little Snitch operates rules that you can use to allow or deny an application's activity on a particular port.

Also new in this version are improved rule-editing, searching and display functions, better filters for viewing sub-sections of traffic and many more advanced options (such as rules that support applications communicating through command-line Unix tools). Cosmetically, Little Snitch looks better than ever, too, but the bulk of the changes are functional.

There are a few built-in rules to start you off, but it might be more useful to activate the head-up display. This pops into view whenever an application on your machine makes outgoing calls (even across the local network, if you enable this optional extra in the preferences).

This is a nice way of doing things, because you don't need to think about Little Snitch's rules until they are necessary. The (minor) disadvantage is that for the first few days or weeks after installing it, you might find yourself constantly pestered for decisions; but after a while, it dies down and Little Snitch compiles a list of rules based on the decisions you've made.

From then on, you can afford to forget about Little Snitch. It watches for unexpected outgoing traffic, and when something crops up, the Snitch will make sure you know about it.

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