Mac OS X has a decent built-in firewall (even though the Leopard version is perhaps less flexible than the Tiger version was). Strangely, its turned off by default, but thats easily remedied with a couple of clicks. However, if you want more control than Apples meager user interface offers, you can choose a third-party alternative.
Of these options, Intego NetBarrier X5 is the more user-friendly by far. DoorStop X is more geek-oriented, but offers tremendous flexibility. (Unfortunately, Nortons Personal Firewall for Macintosh has not been updated for Leopard compatibility.)
DoorStop X ($49, or $79 as part of DoorStop X Security Suite, which includes Whos There? Firewall Advisor and the ebook Internet Security for Your Macintosh)
Intego NetBarrier X5 ($49.95)
Related to these are a couple of programs that have firewall-type features but focus mainly on alerting you to suspicious incoming traffic. Whos There? Firewall Advisor is much easier to use, while IPNetSentryX has advanced filtering and blocking features.
Whos There? Firewall Advisor ($39, or $79 as part of DoorStop X Security Suite)
The flip side of that task is monitoring programs that are making outbound Internet connections behind your backwhich could be for legitimate purposes (like checking for updates) or something more sinister. The best tool for this job is Little Snitch:
Little Snitch ($29.95; volume discounts and family licenses also available)
Although spyware of all kinds is rampant on Windows, theres currently very little of it that runs on Mac OS Xif by spyware you mean things like keyloggers and programs that report on what Web sites you visit.
However, phishing emails and their associated Web sites can certainly affect Mac users, as can Web browser cookies that track certain kinds of browsing behavior.
MacScan can delete all cookies, just those from a particular browser, or just those that match a blacklist of tracking cookies. It also detects keyloggers and some Trojan horses (see MacScan for a list).
Macscan ($29.99; 3-user family pack, $49.99)
1Password, my favorite password utility, takes an entirely different approach to anti-phishing and anti-keylogging protection. If you always rely on this tool to create, store, and fill in your passwords, youre protected against phishing attacks (because the fake sites wont match the URLs associated with your stored passwords, so the program wont fill them in) and, to a certain extent, keylogging (because you need never actually type your passwords at all).
Bundles of multiple security programs are very much the norm in the Windows world, but for Macs, theres really only one suite worth mentioning: Intego Security Barrier X5. It comes in two editions; both include NetBarrier (firewall) and VirusBarrier, but the Antispam Edition also includes Personal Antispam, while the Backup Edition includes Personal Backup. (Nortons Internet Security 3.0 suite has not been updated for compatibility with Tiger or Leopard.)
Antispam Edition (NetBarrier, VirusBarrier, Personal Antispam): $89.95
Backup Edition (NetBarrier, VirusBarrier, Personal Backup): $99.95
Windows users have a much wider selection of security softwarebut then, they have a much greater need for it, too. Most Mac users can get by perfectly well with nothing more than a good antispam program. But if you need moreor simply want to be extra cautiousyou can put together a first-class collection of tools from the options listed above.
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