Though not everyone agrees that a firewall beyond the ones included in OS X is needed, Little Snitch is the most-recommended third-party firewall for Mac users. Little Snitch adds outbound threat protection -- a shortfall of the primary Mac firewall -- and includes a network monitor that tracks which applications are accessing your local network and the Internet. If you want to use the Mac's secondary firewall for more protection -- including protection from outbound threats -- experts recommend a third-party firewall manager like NoobProof, for beginners, or WaterRoof, for advanced users. Both are free. While Little Snitch remains well regarded, some newer reviews give Hands Off! (*Est. $25) a slight edge in Mac firewalls.
The most recent professional feedback for Little Snitch comes in reviews for Hands Off!, its closest competitor. Otherwise, it's been a while since professional reviewers have weighed in on Little Snitch, though an older review at ZDNet.com remains useful. For a snapshot of how the program currently fares, we look at user reviews at sites like Download.com and MacUpdate.com.
This extensive review looks at how Hands Off! and Little Snitch compare on a category-by-category basis. Hands Off! prevails in every case, and is a little cheaper. That said, Jonathan Garro says the advantages Hands Off! enjoys are, for the most part, slim.
Review: Little Snitch vs. Hands Off: Which Monitoring Utility is Better?, Jonathan Garro, Feb. 10, 2012
In this review, a longtime Little Snitch user reports that Hands Off! has replaced that firewall on his MacBook. He says the extra protection for local files and against inbound connection attempts are among the reasons why.
Review: Enhance Security on Your Mac With Hands Off!, Vincent Danen, April 20, 2011
MacUpdate.com's editorial team doesn't shed much light on Little Snitch, other than addressing changes from the last version. However, users have lots to say, and they do so through more than 200 ratings. There are also separate discussion threads that offer additional opinions and comments, and that provide help for users who have questions or issues with the program. The bottom line is that Little Snitch seems well-liked, with generally positive feedback and a rating of 4.5 stars for the current and the previous versions of the program.
Review: Little Snitch Reviews, Contributors to MacUpdate.com
There are far fewer reviews of Little Snitch here than at MacUpdate.com. Most comments are directed at earlier versions, but those differ only slightly from the current one. Users here are happy; most grant Little Snitch 4 or 5 stars.
Review: Little Snitch for Mac, Contributors to Download.com
Jason D. O'Grady recommends Little Snitch as a good way to keep track of which programs on your Mac are communicating with the rest of the world. He does say that the initial process of setting up which programs can and can't access the net can be "exhaustive," but O'Grady provides some tips to make things go smoother.
Review: Little Snitch Tattles on Trojans, Jason D. O'Grady, Jan. 27, 2009