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  1. #1

    Default Firewall Software

    I am not sure if this question belongs here or not. Please move to another category if needed.

    I would like to find out if anyone uses firewall software at home on there Mac to monitor there home network. Since most typical routers like Linksys, Asus, etc.. only offer basic network and firewall control, I need to something that goes a little beyond basic settings.

    When you have teenagers at home that have iPods and laptops, I am looking for firewall software so I can monitor there activity and block sites. Again, I am aware that most routers have built in firewall and network control but it is usually limited.

    Any suggestions?

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Default

    I use a combination of the built in firewall (I think there are apps which can talk to it and give it greater control, but I don't bother with those.. and Little Snitch which is pretty good for controlling what goes out.

    https://www.obdev.at/products/littlesnitch/index.html

    Theres another called Hands Off which I havent used. I believe its just as good as LS. There are some who say its better/easier
    One Periodic - Hands Off! - Increase the security of your Mac

  3. #3

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    Default

    Little Snitch is great on a local level for outbound blocking. However it sounds like you're more interested in web content filtering (e.g. blocking access to adult material, etc).

    Any software you get for a computer will only be able to control access for that computer and will not have any impact on iPhones and other devices that connect directly to the router.

    You would probably need to set your router up to connect through a DNS/Proxy service that allows web content filtering. Something like the below link is probably what you're after I assume.
    https://www.opendns.com/home-interne.../opendns-home/
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  4. #4

    Default

    You have a couple of options. (I'm going to use very simple terminology here - I apologise if I'm teaching you to suck eggs, my intent is not to offend).

    But before you go through these, a word of warning. As an IT Security person, my advice would be to pick your battles. Nothing can stop a determined attacker, and nothing is more determined than a teenager trying to evade control. Your 'adversary' is likely more skilled than you, almost certainly more motivated, and if you choose to start an arms race, then make sure you will win

    1. OpenDNS - DNS is the 'phonebook' of the internet - it converts a name like www.facebook.com, which people understand, into an IP address like 13.13.86.8, which computers and networks understand. OpenDNS is a curated list (i.e. there are no entries for the 'bad' stuff). You would change the DNS settings on your ADSL 'modem' so that all of your home traffic (computers, iPods, phones on WiFi etc) would go through this mechanism. Downsides are that you have no control of what is deemed 'bad', AND you will lose benefits from your ISP like unmetered / free traffic (Netflix, iTunes etc).

    2. Web filtering software - an alternative is to have software which you would control that either a) logs all traffic for you to review later, or b) blocks traffic based on either categories or individual black and white lists. These have evolved from old-school tools like NetNanny, to more modern equivalents built into security software like Norton & McAfee, as well as bespoke programs.

    3. Parental Controls - These are device level controls that prevent certain activities
    Try a few of these suggestions
    Make Your Mac Kid Friendly By Mastering Parental Controls | Macgasm

    Set up a kid-friendly iPad | Macworld

    I hope this helps...

  5. #5

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    Default

    Or you could take an old PC and turn it into a firewall. There are a number of options that will offer the basics of what you want such as IPCop, Smoothwall, pfsense or Untangle then there are more advanced options such as Watchguard (a personal favorite but very expensive depending on the services that you subscribe to and not exactly something you can run on any old PC, you can run XTMv/XCSv under VMWare or HyperV but it is still expensive)

    A real, honest to goodness firewall is the only way to achieve what you are asking
    Last edited by MadKiwi; 25th May 2015 at 06:12 PM.

  6. #6

    Join Date
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    Default

    I had occasion to help a friend out yesterday, she was curious about what could protect her grandkids when they want to play on her computer - they are much younger than the OP's kids. The built in stuff on OSX looks pretty good to me. There are various levels of control available in the advanced section of managed parental control. You can block particular sites whilst allowing others. For little kids you can even specify an allowed list and not be able to go beyond that. You can also disallow installation of software or not... there are a lot of good controls in there. It might not be enough for you (or it may be too much), but it might also save you the trouble of managing a separate firewall.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kyte View Post
    I use a combination of the built in firewall (I think there are apps which can talk to it and give it greater control, but I don't bother with those.. and Little Snitch which is pretty good for controlling what goes out.

    https://www.obdev.at/products/littlesnitch/index.html

    Theres another called Hands Off which I havent used. I believe its just as good as LS. There are some who say its better/easier
    One Periodic - Hands Off! - Increase the security of your Mac
    great

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