Developer One Periodic Inc.
Your internet connection to the outside world, is vulnerable to hackers, trojans and malware. All are interested in your personal data, and your computer simply has a mind of its own and exactly does what it is supposed to do; Follow up commands. Your computer is sending and receiving information continuously, without you knowing. You will be surprised to see how many different server connections just one email stores. Risky business nowadays.
So we need a ‘ connection guard ‘ preventing unwanted data coming in or out. There are two major software packages helping us out : HANDS OFF and LITTLE SNITCH.
Both work in a similar way and share a similar interface with minor differences.
Little Snitch and Hands Off have the same approach towards intercepting every trace of connections made by software on your computer. Every time data is trying to connect to your network/internet a popup will show asking your to allow or block a port or IP address. Once you set your choices, a popup for a similar new internal transmission request will be hosted by the stored information of HANDS OFF. U new popup will only appear incase of unknown transmission request. Most transmission connections are from port 80 and 443. Its for you to decide what to do. Thats not easy for novice users is it. An experienced user will ( hopefully ) know what traffic is normal and even necessary to make your software work, but a novice user is unable to tell the difference in port or IP Address. HANDS OFF is helping the user slightly better by mentioning a domain instead of just port and IP.
This is an easier approach then Little Snitch.
Both packages work with similar popups. There are some differences in choices to make. You will notice that HANDS OFF offers solutions for ‘Domains’ rather then port and IP. This is a different approach to a the system alert.
- Grant the app in question to freely access any connection
- Grant it access only to the specific port it is requesting
- Grant it access only to the specific address it is requesting
- Grant it access to both the address and port it is requesting
- Grant access to any domain’s resolving
- Grant access to any domain’s resolving and outgoing connections
- Grant access only to the domain in question
- Grant access to the domain in question and allow outgoing connections
Earlier versions of Little Snitch, only supported alerts for Outgoing transmissions and NO incoming transmissions. The latest version however is supporting incoming transmission traffic as well. So there is a tie in traffic handling too.
Again like Little Snitch there is NO impact on internet/network speed when using either programs.
Both programs have a Traffic Monitor in the menu bar. Again they look similar, but my personal favorite is Little Snitch. Just cosmetic and not because of much better functionality.
HANDS OFF is a fine product that works really well. It does what it is supposed to do, handle your connections in a safe and manageable way. Price wise I feel that LITTLE SNITCH is a better investment compared to HANDS OFF. But HANDS OFF is a better option for novice users when it comes down to, offered choices and traffic description. So pick your own winner, because we all have different needs.