How to Monitor Your Mac’s Connections with Little Snitch

Your computer, regardless of if you’re using it or not, is constantly communicating with the Internet. All of these conversations – held in the background – help keep your system and applications running at tip top shape. But some times there are some applications that just don’t need to communicate with the Internet, or even worse, some apps that send information about your computer and how you use the app without your permission or even knowledge. Little Snitch is an advance firewall application exclusively for OS X that allows you to control where an application can communicate to on the Internet. You can get Little Snitch from Objective Development for € 29.95.


Firewall?

A firewall is a virtual door controlled by an application on your computer that lies between your computer and the internet. Based on your rules, and its assumptions it will allow and deny connections through that door. This helps keep unwanted network connections from entering your computer, or in some cases, leaving it.

Testing for open ports in Terminal

However, there isn’t just one door for every single network connection to go through, there are hundreds! Each of these doors is called a port, and each port is used for different purposes. For example, normal web browsing is done through port 80, secure web browsing is done through port 443, and file transfer is done through 21.

Doesn’t OS X have a firewall?

While it is true that OS X has a built in firewall, it’s only half as good as Little Snitch. The default firewall only covers incoming connections, but allows all applications to make outgoing connections without restriction. This is where Little Snitch defines itself, by letting you control all connections, rather than half.


Setting up Little Snitch

It’s not hard to set up Little Snitch, just a simple download and install. However, you will need to restart your system after installing. This is because Little Snitch replaces a program called iptables, which is used for system networking. Don’t worry, Little Snitch doesn’t overwrite that program, it just replaces it.

The Configuration Window

When you load up Little Snitch for the first time, you will see that there are already a lot of rules created for you. Most of these rules have a lock on them, and are required for normal system operation. while you can disable them, you cannot (and should not) delete them. Selecting a locked rule will show a description of why it’s locked on the side.

SNITCH_RulesThe Rule list in Little Snitch

On the left hand side of the Configuration Window, you will see the rule filters. Check these every now and again for redundant or invalid rules.

Creating Filters

By now, you’ve probably seen the Automatic Rule Creation dialog. This will come up every time a new application wants to make a connection, and there isn’t a rule regarding it. The new rule dialog will show you the application’s name, icon, and where it’s trying to connect to. You can allow or deny the connection:

  • Forever
  • Once
  • Until you quit the application
  • Until you log out
  • Until you restart
  • For 15 Minutes
  • For 30 Minutes
  • For 1 Hour
  • For 2 Hours

You can go even further by controlling where the application can connect:

  • Any Connection
  • Only a specific port
  • Only a specific domain
  • Only a specific domain and port

With all of these controls, you can create a virtually unlimited number of rules for your apps.

Creating rules in Little Snitch

When creating filters, ask yourself “What does this application need to do?”. For example, a web browser like Google Chrome, Safari, or FireFox will need to connect to multiple domains and ports. Therefore, giving it a fully open rule would be the smart decision. From there, you can block specific domains if you need to. If you use any peer-to-peer applications like Transmission or uTorrent, you will need to allow it full network access for it to operate normally.

Manually Creating Rules

If you need a little more robust control when creating rules, or can’t launch the application until a rule has been made, you can create rules manually through the Little Snitch Configuration Window. To do this, open Little Snitch and select New Rule. The New Rule sheet will drop down.

At the very top, you can control if you want to block or allow incoming or outgoing connections. You can then choose the application, or set a global rule that applies to all processes. Below that is the fine tuning controls for how you want this rule to work. You will notice that there are a lot more controls than the automatic rule sheet, so go ahead and play around with them!

Manually creating rules in Little Snitch

Following Up

So now that you got the basics down of Little Snitch, you’re all set to go out and take control of your privacy when using your Mac. There are plenty of programs out there that send tracking information without your consent. What are some applications that you discovered that are sending info back home?

http://mac.tutsplus.com


Update Your Iphone 2G To Latest Firmware IOS 6.0

Since Apple has downgraded the support of latest firmware for iPhone 2G and iPod Touch 1G after releasing iOS4 firmware, users of iPhone 2G will not get updated their phone to iOS 4 or latest. This new firmware has several improved features as well as it fixes some bugs. However no need to get disappointed because there are many tech-freaks who developed new way to update iPhone 2G to iOS 6.

An Italian application developer creates new firmware named, Whited00r which enables you update your iPhone 2G to iOS 6 firmware easily. It means now you are able to get latest features of iOS 6 firmware in your iPhone 2G easily. The latest developed firmware by Italian developer is build to update iOS 3.1.3 firmware. However you can update your iPhone 2G to iOS 6 easily with this firmware and get all genuine features of iOS 6 firmware on your iPhone 2G.

In order to update your iPhone 2G to iOS 6 using Whited00r firmware, you need to download and install Whited00r firmware on your computer. Now get the full guide to update your iPhone 2G to iOS 6 from here. You just need to follow given steps systematically and you will get updated your iPhone2G.


Security tips for Mac travellers

When you hit the road, it’s easy to get paranoid—especially if you’re carrying thousands of dollars’ worth of technology with you. You can alleviate some of your worries by taking security measures to protect yourself against someone running off with your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook.

Use common sense

If you’re not used to toting a machine outside your usual rounds, don’t forget these precautions.

Don’t leave devices lying around: Don’t leave your laptop or other device on a table or counter at a coffee shop or other establishment and walk away or turn your back. Hardware is too easily snatched and too portable.

Don’t leave bags untended: Don’t walk away from a bag that holds your phone, tablet, or laptop. It’s simple for a thief to poke around without attracting notice, especially during the holidays when shops are busy.

Don’t use devices in unsafe locations: Don’t pull out that brand new iPhone or iPad device in an area where it can easily be snatched. This means both a dark, isolated street and densely-packed areas, like Times Square.

Don’t bother with laptop locks: At one point, we used to recommend using a locking cable with you laptop. But Apple has slimmed down the MacBook’s design and eliminated  security slots.

Password protect your devices

What if a thief does get your device—is the trouble just beginning? It might be, if you haven’t bothered with basic methods for protecting your data.

Passcode lock your iPhone and iPad: Just because someone gets your phone or tablet, doesn’t necessarily mean he also gets unrestricted access to all your email messages, all your contacts, and—just for good measure—your Amazon.com account. Even if you don’t normally use a passcode or a screen or sleep lock, enable it before you travel. On iOS 4 and later, locking a phone or tablet prevents both access to the device and protects the data storage on it through encryption.

Password protect your MacBook: Do you really want to join the ranks of people who’ve compromised work data by leaving a laptop unattended and unprotected?


Requiring a password after sleep or a period of time can prevent someone from gaining access to your machine when you leave it unattended or if it’s stolen while sleeping.

Launch the Keychain Access utility (in your /Applications/Utilities folder), and then select Keychain Access > Preferences. Select the Show keychain status in menu bar option. Now, whenever you step away from your computer, you can choose the lock icon in the menu bar and pickLock Screen. Make this process automatic by going to System Preferences and opening the Security & Privacy pane. Click the General tab and select the Require password option immediately after sleep or screen saver begins. You can adjust the time period using the drop-down menu here.

Encrypt for maximum protection

If you want to be sure that your computer’s data isn’t accessible to a more-than-casual snooper or to a thief who has all the time in the world, your best bet is full-disk encryption (FDE). FDE creates a strong encryption key, which it uses to encipher your entire hard drive. The key is held in memory while you’re in an active running session, and it is tossed whenever you shut down.

An FDE-protected system can only be backed up while it’s active. This prevents anyone (including governments and you) from recovering your data without a login account and password or an appropriate passcode.

Encrypt your drive with FileVault: Since Lion, Apple has provided built-in full-disk encryption through FileVault 2. You can’t recover a FileVault-protected disk’s data without an account and password. If you don’t like the configuration and options available from Apple, there’s also Sophos SafeGuard.

Encrypt key drives and files: You can also encrypt external drives, virtual drives (disk images), and individual files using Mac OS X’s built-in Disk Utility and other free and paid tools. Apple added external disk encryption in the Finder in Mountain Lion, too. See “Encrypt any disk in Mountain Lion.”

Rely on built-in iOS encryption: Nearly all iOS devices have hardware encryption built in. When the passcode is active, data is unrecoverable unless a device is jailbroken or otherwise compromised. This protection is automatic, and is only absent from the original iPhone, iPhone 3G, and first two iPod touch generations. Hardware encryption also allows a quick “remote wipe.”

Find a lost or stolen device

Even if your device is stolen or you simply mislay it in your travels, it’s possible to recover it if you’ve planned ahead. Theft-recovery software for mobile and desktop operating systems can track a device so long as it’s on a network. You might recall the recent story about ABC News purposely leaving an iPad at an airport security checkpoint, then using software to locate it at the house of a TSA employee? That’s not so unusual.

With a location in hand, police are often more willing to visit a home or business, as they frequently find where one device is located, other stolen gear is found. But many thieves are now too clever for such software, and prevent devices from joining a Wi-Fi network or even wrap hardware in aluminum foil to keep it off a cellular network.


iCloud.com lets you see where devices are, whether Macs or iOS hardware, so long as Find My Mac or Find My iPhone is turned on for each bit of gear.

Track it down with iCloud and Find My Mac: The built-in option for Mac OS X and iOS is Apple’s Find My Mac and Find My iPhone (which works for all iOS devices). This is activated in Lion and Mountain via the iCloud preference pane, and requires Wi-Fi to be enabled to provide tracking information. In iOS, theSettings > iCloud view has a Find My iPhone switch. You can find the current location of devices (Macs and iOS gear) associated with an Apple ID by logging in to iCloud.com with that ID or using the Find My iPhone app (which includes Macs in what it finds).

Find My iPhone/Mac can both lock a device remotely or wipe it clean. Apple goes so far as to allow a Good Samaritan to dial a number you’ve sent through Find My iPhone even when all other calls on the iPhone are disabled.

Use third-party software: Several third-party packages keep a constant low-level account of where a device is located. Others wait for a remote network trigger, checking in at regular intervals, that a device is stolen before they activate tracking. Some of them let you file a police report, see what a thief is typing, or even use your camera to snap a photo or video of the thief. Options include Gadget Track for Mac OS X ($20) and the iPad, iPhone, and iPod ($4); Absolute Software’s Lojack for Laptops ($40 for 1-year subscription);

In all cases, the software has to be installed before a device is stolen, and typically registered and activated. You also want to run a test to make sure it can be located while still in your clutches.

Always be prepared

It’s always hard to deal with the loss of an electronic device that contains personal and business data. By taking measures to secure your systems before you hit the road, you can defeat thieves before they get started, while helping Good Samaritans bring your precious hardware back to you.

source: http://www.macworld.com/


How to Keep Your Mac’s SSD Trim and Healthy

HDD-SSD

 The TRIM command is an essential part of SSD maintenance and helps keep the drive running at top speed. It’s available natively for Macs using SSD’s purchased from Apple but if you’ve got a third party drive, enabling TRIM requires some fancy Terminal work. Until now, that is.

This command works in the background when files are deleted, informing the drive that the blocks are now unused and can be removed. Without it, write speed quickly plummets and the drive’s service life suffers—especially if large amounts of data are routinely overwritten.

TRIM Enabler 2.0 is a more user-friendly GUI option for people reticent to employ the command line. It automatically patches the system’s kext file and adjusts permissions with a single click. In addition, it includes the S.M.A.R.T monitoring system, which helps track the drives overall health. This free app is compatible with OS X Lion and most SSD models, though you should use caution as it doesn’t play nicely with SandForce drives. It’s available at Groths.org.