Two weeks ago, I started with "Apple - a new Persona", which was designed as the first step toward privacy and security on your Mac. Sadly, even if you start over with a new persona, you still need to do more to protect yourself from Apple. The "Privacy, this is Apple" does not fly very high when it comes to their (off the shelf) products.

So let's now get some apps that will make your browsing and working experience more "fruitful" but less "appley".

On a Mac, you actually already have some excellent options to lock things down.

Firewall

First things first, Mac comes with a built-in firewall. However, Mac's firewall is switched off - by default!

System Preferences —> Security & Privacy —> Firewall and turn it ON

—> Firewall Options

Check 'Block all incoming connections'

(I maybe should have pointed this out in my previous article already!)

Objective-See
Free macOS security tools to help secure your Mac!

Options

Lulu is an open-source firewall that can even block Apple trackers, and it's 100% open-source (did I say that already?:-)). Once you enable Lulu, you get pop up notifications, and can block or allow connections. You can also delete rules or add domains or ports to the rules.

Lulu has a built-in host file that makes blocking domains easy.

Another great, maybe even more powerful solution, is called Little Snitch.

Little Snitch
Protects your privacy and prevents your private data from being sent out to the Internet without your knowledge.

Little Snitch is not open-source, but has had a few audits and built up a great reputation over a number of years. You can get a 30-day free demo, and a single licence will set you back $45.

In conclusion, Little Snitch can do a lot and gives you multiple options. However, it can be a little overwhelming at first, and might not be everyone's cup of tea because of the price tag.

Radio Silent is another simple, powerful, and hassle-free option. In fact, it is absolutely beginner-friendly and protects your privacy. You won't have any pop-ups, you set it all up in the settings and forget about it. It is dead simple to allow or deny an app going online. The app gives you a 24 hours trial version and costs $9 as a one-off charge thereafter.

Radio Silence | Network monitor and firewall for Mac
Radio Silence is a user-friendly firewall that blocks internet access from individual apps on your Mac

Between the three options, pick the one that feels best for you, perhaps take the time and try all three. However, the only free and fully open-source solution, Lulu, would be my personal pick, I can recommend it!

DNS

The next step is blocking domains at DNS level. Oh yes, DNS again, I know it is my personal agenda to make DNS a thing in everyone's mind.

Options

We have some great solutions for Apple, which all work hand in hand with the firewalls!

The first, and my personally recommended solution, is AdGuard for Mac. Although this solution is not free, it is worth every penny spent on it.

It is not just an easy switch between DNS servers, but is also great for 'on the fly' blocking of domains. It has preselected hostfiles, and it lets you add more by just adding the URLs off a hostfile, for example, the always excellent SteveBlack blocklist.

Ad blocker for Mac by AdGuard: remove all kinds of ads
AdGuard for Mac is the world’s first standalone adblock app designed specifically for macOS. It blocks all ads and pop-ups in all browsers and other apps.

AdGuard blocks system-wide, so you can also add Apple domains to it.

Another great option, would be to use DeCloudUs which can block all Apple domains. I, personally, would suggest you use it in combination with AdGuard and really lock Apple out of your system!

NextDNS is another good way to lockdown your Mac, you'll need to use the NextDNS Command-Line Client to get it set up.

NextDNS
The new firewall for the modern Internet
Home · nextdns/nextdns Wiki
NextDNS CLI client (DoH Proxy). Contribute to nextdns/nextdns development by creating an account on GitHub.

Any of those solutions will give your Mac the extra privacy and security you need, regardless of which browser or app you are using.

Next week we'll talk about apps, browsers and add-ons etc to give your Mac the extra edge and power you deserve.

Stay safe, stay secure!

The Privacy Advocate

😃
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