App Addict
June 4th, 2024

A Privacy and Security Toolkit

Mac Apps
Lock it down
Lock it down

In the modern age, it takes a real strategy to protect yourself from invasive mega-corporations who want to track you, bad actors on the malware front and in your face non-stop advertising. Whatever tools you choose have to balance with usability because we all have work we have to get done.

Nord VPN

My first level of protection starts with my VPN choice, Nord. I run Nord on all my devices, Macs, iPhones, iPads and Apple TV. I don't have a compatible router, but it can be installed on ones that are. Nord has many security features including a malicious URL blocker, web tracker blocker, ad blocker, URL trimmer and a DNS filter to block ads and malicious domains before they reach my device.

Before I got a VPN, I used Open DNS, which I can highly recommend for some basic protections (but without the privacy features).

Little Snitch Firewall

Little Snitch from Objective Development is truly the most configurable consumer oriented firewall for the Mac platform. The Little Snitch Network Monitor shows you where your Mac connects to on the Internet. You decide what you want to allow or deny. If an app has no need to access the Internet, you can cut off its access. It's easy to use and configure and as a bonus, you can download and install preconfigured block lists from several sources to make your computer safe.

Other firewall options are Lulu from Objective-See and Lockdown Privacy Desktop, which is what I install on my Mom's Mac because it is set it and for get it.

Block-Block for Realtime Protection

BlockBlock monitors common persistence locations and alerts whenever a persistent component is added. It alerts you whenever something is installed and you can decide whether to allow that or block it. It's a free product. You can get more features in the paid version of MalwareBytes or use their free scanner that must be run manually.

uBlock Origin for Browser Based Protection

There are many factors that go into making a selection of what browser to use. I personally use Microsoft Edge for several reasons. I use the uBlock origin multi-spectrum content blocker plugin to block ads, trackers, malicious URLs and more. Among the most security conscious Mac users who don't need to use a Chromium browser, it is generally accepted that Firefox with uBlock Origin provides the best experience. Upcoming changes in Chromium browser plugin specifications, known as Manifest 3, may weaken the effectiveness of uBlock Origin on Chrome and Edge.

These products all work together to provide as safe an environment as I feel I can craft on my Mac. If you have ideas for improvement, please contact me.