Little Snitch is a popular Mac app that detects outbound connections and lets you set up rules to block those connections. Once installed, Little Snitch monitors your internet traffic and every time it detects an outbound connection, for example, Adobe Reader trying to access the internet, it pops up a window and ask you if you want to allow the connection one time, or make a rule to allow Adobe Reader to access the Internet but just not go to adobe.com
In short, Little Snitch is one of the best apps, to keep an eye on your Mac’s Internet connections. But, do we really need an alternative? Well, for starters, it costs you over $40 and upgrades are extra. This alone can be a reason to look for alternatives that cost nothing or at least relatively cheaper than Little Snitch.
So here are some alternatives to Little Snitch for Windows and macOS. Let’s start with Mac first.
Little Snitch Alternatives for Mac
1. Murus Lite
Mac’s own firewall comes with one of the best features available in network firewalls called the PF (packet filter). However, for some users, it may seem a little complex to use and this is where Murus comes in the picture.
Murus brings the PF feature of a firewall in an intuitive, drag & drop based interface that lets you define your own rule set and control the network permissions on your mac. What makes it different from the existing inbuilt firewall? Well, here’s the catch. Common firewalls like Mac’s own PF, restrict and monitor the inbound and outbound network traffic based on attributes like IP address, ports, protocols etc. and by restricting the network functions itself, it affects all the applications. Murus, on the other hand, helps to use PF feature to convert the network firewall into an application firewall wherein you can allow or restrict movement of data packets for each application individually which even helps in restricting spreading of virus, worms or data leak by an application.
Price: Murus comes in three versions: Murus Lite (Free), Murus Basic ($10), and Murus Pro ($17). While Murus lite is the free version of the application, Murus Basic and Murus Pro are the paid versions that come packed with some extra features like logs Visualizer, Vallum, and all companion apps.
Check it out here: Murus
2. Radio silence
Radio Silence is yet another application to control your app specific firewall functions. It has one of the simplest interfaces which allows you to keep a tab on applications. Softwares that try to connect with a remote server outside the user’s control are blocked instantly. The Firewall has its eye on the incoming traffic, Radio Silence does the opposite and looks for outgoing traffic too.
Little Snitch vs Radio Silence
Initially, Little Snitch gives you too many notifications about connection, which may feel overwhelming to some users. Although, it goes away after few weeks of usage.
Radio silence, on the other hand, is quite silent in the functionality as it runs in the background. without any active tabs, icon display or pop-ups. Once you block an app with Radio Silence, it stays blocked, there is no notification or pop-ups, ever.
Price: Radio Silence costs around $9 and comes with a testing trial of 30 days. You get your money back if it doesn’t meet your expectations. There’s also a 24-hour free trial available for those who want to test this software’s limits in a single stretch.
Check out: Radio Silence
3. Private Eye
Private Eye, a real-time network monitoring application that allows monitoring of your live connections made by an application. The app also indicates the presence of an online server where such information is being transmitted.
It displays all attributes of the live connections that the applications in your system have to the web like the time of connection and the IP address of the server connected to.
Although you can filter and view the results by application or by incoming and outgoing traffic, Private Eye doesn’t have the power to alter any of these connections. You get just enough information to know when an app connects to a server without authorization.
Price: Private Eye is a free application.
Check out: Private Eye
4. Hands off
Hands off is one of the most trusted applications and alternative to Little Snitch when it comes to network privacy. It is also an all-rounder application that gives protection both as the network firewall and application-specific firewall. It controls both inbound and outbound traffic of an application.
Hands off is a little different from other similar applications. It protects and monitors the disk access, and giving an intuitive and user-friendly interface. This app monitors and blocks access to the files stored in your system from online servers and also from the local applications. It prevents the applications from seeking IP address, accessing disk data, erasing disk data, and even storing cookies. Its disk management is so strict that it even controls the read and write permissions of the disk data files even if the applications have access to the files but the interface and usage come in handy.
Price: Hands Off is otherwise an expensive application ($49) but can be tried and tested for free with limited functionality. The advanced functions of the application are accessible in the paid version. The tutorial file that tags along with the application setup is informative.
Check out: Hands Off
TCPBlock is by far the lightest application based firewall available for mac and is absolutely free. It also monitors and protects both inbound and outbound traffic on your mac and can prevent certain applications from opening network connections to unknown servers while you are online.
TCPBlock is implemented as a loadable kernel module which contains all the blocking logic. You can configure it in the System Preferences > TCPBlock preference pane or with the TCPBlock command line utility. All the configuration changes are made in a configuration file on the hard disk of your mac.
Price: Although TCPBlock has discontinued from the market, its previous versions are still available to download for free. It requires only 1.1 MB of your disk space. TCPBlock has the best reviews that an application can get and is still one of the favorites amongst the users. The only catch in using the available version of this application is turning off the SIP (System Integrity Protection). SIP when deactivated, allows third-party applications to run on your mac.
Check out: TCP Block
6. Security Growler
Little Snitch is still hands-down the best connection alerting software available for Mac, we suggest to check it out if you want a comprehensive firewall/alerting system, and are willing to pay a few bucks to get it. Security Growler, on the other hand, is centered around monitoring log files for any kind of pattern. It doesn’t just monitors the TCP connection table but also alerts you of Sudo events, Keychain authorization events, and anything else you can think of that’s reported to a log file.
This app is significantly more lightweight than Little Snitch, it comes in at <15MB of RAM used, simply because it aims to solve a simpler problem than Little Snitch. This application is not designed to prevent malicious connections, that’s what firewalls are for, it’s just meant to keep an unobtrusive log, and alert you whenever important security events are happening. The more informed you are, the better you can protect yourself.
Security Growler is a menu bar based application that sends you notifications whenever one of its monitored patterns have a log update. One thing that sets it apart from other applications, Prowl which sends you notifications over your iPhone and iPad.
Check out: Security Growler
LuLu by Objective see is another popular opinion amongst Mac users who wish to keep a check on their system’s network activity. The reason for its popularity is because the software is open source, has no ads whatsoever, and comes with all features.
LuLu aims to block all unauthorized outgoing connections unless you specifically allow them. You can choose to allow local or third-party apps and services from the separated menu available. The app interface is pretty simple yet extensive and its operations are so simple that even a child could use it.
When you first install the app you can choose to allow or disallow Apple programmes and previously installed third-party apps. These settings could be later changed from preferences. Under the ‘rules’ head, you can select the services and apps you wish to block from using network services. The app even has a passive mode where it will allow all new apps and still work in silence for the previously installed apps.
Check Out: LuLu by Objective See
Little Snitch Alternatives for Windows
While there is no true alternative to Little Snitch in Windows, we found two applications that came close.
GlassWire is quite a simple app which allows you to monitor changes in the system like microphone, webcam or apps in general. It also comes with a firewall feature just like Little Snitch, however, it isn’t that powerful. For example, Little Snitch can allow or refuse to authorize the specific domain and ports of an application trying to access a server online. GlassWire on the other hand only allows or block all connections an application attempts to initiate. There is no option to make specific rules for an app in Glasswire.
Price: Glasswire follows the freemium model, The free version of Glasswire shows you which program is connected to which IP address. Although, the paid version of Glasswire has “ask to connect” feature, which gives you a pop-up when an app attempts to make a connection.
Check out: GlassWire
9. Net Limiter
Compared to Glasswire, Net Limiter is a similar alternative to Little Snitch on Windows. Once installed, the app shows you the list of all apps that are making connections to the internet along with their present download and upload speed. You can block network connectivity on individual programs or even restrict how much bandwidth a particular app gets.
Price: Net Limiter is a paid app that cost $29, however it comes with a full 30 days trial.
Check out: Net Limiter
Little Snitch Alternatives
So, these were some of the free and paid alternatives to Little Snitch. It would be nice if Apple would build such detailed functionality into macOS, but they won’t do it for as simple a reason that it’s too hard to use for a regular mac user. So, you can either spend a few bucks and buy little snitch, or use these alternatives, whatever you use, let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments. And if you ask my opinion, I’d suggest LuLu because of its intuitive UI and simple controls.