If you’re like me and worried about computer trackers, you’ve probably seen this software called Little Snitch. It has a great range of features and allows us to see which IP addresses your apps are connected to. This gives you a great deal of control on who can access our computer.
But as a Windows user, I couldn’t really test it. As Little Snitch is only available on Mac, we had to seek other alternatives.
So, Before the Hunt, What Really Is a Little Snitch App?
Little snitch is a simple network monitoring tool that runs in the background. It auto-starts with your system too. When an application tries to access the internet, the app will send you a notification right away.
You can also use the little snitch app to allow or deny internet connections. This makes this app incredibly powerful and handy. It has two modes.
- Immediately shows a connection alert
- Lets you allow or deny the connection for each app
- Lets you filter whether to make requests once or all the time
- Lets you filter whether to make requests to one server or any servers
- Remembers settings for each app as you select them
- Runs in the background with no notification alert
- Collects information on what apps are trying to make the internet connection
- Lets you allow connections in one click
- Holds off connections until you decide
- See real-time network traffic graph
Little snitch even has a built-in map feature. It shows the location of your PC in the world map and all the server locations it has made requests to. It has a highly configurable set of rules that you can use in your Mac.
Little Snitch Alternative for Windows
So, we wanted to find out apps that have the following features:
- Get to decide what connection your Compter makes.
- Block ad and malware servers right away.
- Identify which applications are sending data over the internet.
- Identify and remove potential malware applications.
- Reduce bandwidth consumption by blocking ad requests.
- See real-time statistics of what servers and locations your computer is talking to.
- Prevent your private data from getting out of your devices.
And these are what we’ve found so far:
GlassWire notifies you right away when a new application starts making connection requests. It also logs all incoming and outgoing traffic of your PC for up to an entire month. GlassWire keeps track of what applications made requests to which server locations.
It even lets you break applications down by their bandwidth consumption. It can also log network requests made by Windows system services.
Finally, you can analyze what applications don’t need to make requests and block them. This isn’t the same as the real-time block feature in the alert mode for the little snitch. It still lets you watch real-time traffic and block them later. GlassWire is a free software to download and use.
Netlimiter is a good alternative for a little snitch for bandwidth consumption monitoring. It is very lightweight compared to its other competitors. It monitors the network activity of all Windows and third-party services.
With this, you can set up a limit on the download and upload speed for each application. Netlimiter allows you granular control of your network traffic. If you think an app is using higher bandwidths, you can limit it to a particular speed.
Netlimiter has a paid software model. It lets you download your software as Pro and Lite models after buying. The Lite model is cheaper but comes with a basic set of handy features. For advanced monitoring and control, you should go for the Pro model instead.
Binisoft Windows Firewall Control
Binisoft’s Windows Firewall Control extends the functionality of the Windows Firewall. It provides new extra features making the firewall experience a lot better. Windows firewalls aren’t equipped with the right tools to block suspicious traffic. This application provides the greatest set of features for that.
- It has a learning mode that allows digitally signed programs through the firewall.
- It gives real-time notification of outbound blocked connections.
- It even lets you set up temporary rules as needed.
- It integrates very well with the built-in Windows firewall.
- It even has a lock feature to restrict firewall settings access.
If you are dealing with many Windows PCs, you will find this software useful for you. You can use its import and export feature to set up the same set of rules across your entire network. As long as you don’t use other VPN software, this free software is the right application.
Portmaster is an open-source alternative to the little snitch app. It focuses on privacy and personal data protection by monitoring all network activity and detecting any suspicious applications. Portmaster can block connections on its own by classifying requests to suspicious domains.
These domain categories include ads and trackers, malware, phishing, and even telemetry. Thus you can allow or block based on one go for each domain. With its powerful tool, you can whitelist certain domains as needed.
Also, it even lets you change settings based on location. This way, you can set up tighter restrictions when using public Wi-Fi in a coffee shop as compared to home usage.
Wokhansoft’s Windows Firewall Notifier(WFN) is another open-source alternative like Portmaster. It acts as an extension to the existing Windows firewall. The notifier alert is a handy tool to alert about every outgoing connection attempt. Like little snitch, this application lets you allow or block any attempt either permanently or temporarily.
However, WFN is not an added firewall rule. It simply extends the built-in default Windows firewall. Other feature of WFN includes:
- Connections listing
- Real-time connection mapping with routes
- Bandwidth monitoring
- Adapters information
- Windows firewall status management
- Notification popup for unknown outgoing connections
ZoneAlarm is a subscription-based firewall software for your Windows PC. It also has a free tier with relatively fewer features. The full version of ZoneAlarm comes bundled with so much more than just a firewall monitor.
ZoneAlarm consists of an Antivirus, Firewall, and anti-ransomware package. ZoneAlarm also has a Chrome extension for your Google Chrome browser. The application thus gives you full control over your network and firewall. It also has a mobile security app for both Android and iOS.
ZoneAlarm is more of a protection app rather than a notification like the little snitch. Once installed, you can rely on it for protection against any suspicious activity on your PC. From the list of features, these are the most closely related to the purpose of the little snitch.
- Advanced Firewall
- Two-way firewall
- Web Monitor
Look ‘n’ Stop Firewall
Look ‘n’ Stop Firewall is another bundled protection package for Windows PC. The application has an open and powerful plug-in system that extends its features.
The Rule edition plugin lets you customize the internet filtering rules using application API. Logged events plugins let you analyze real-time data of your network traffic. This can be used in any visualization tool for further analytics purposes. Language plugin lets you use the application in over 18 supported languages.
Other than that, they provide support for both IPv4 and IPv6 networks. Look n Stop Firewall has a one-time license fee that comes with updates and email support. They also let you try the full-featured application for free during a 30 days trial period.
Windows 10 Firewall Control
Windows 10 Firewall Control claims full compatibility with all Windows versions from 11 through 7. They have a small memory footprint and also a portable version for USB devices. The application works for both network activity controlling and monitoring. It lets you set up rules to filter traffic by domain, by site as well as by name filtering.
The app has options for blocking telemetry and ‘phoning home’ network devices. With its detailed event monitoring, you can view and control network activity both locally and remotely.
With its automatic application listing, you can use security zones for permission management. With instant notification, you can observe unusual behaviors in your network. With less than 5 MB in size, Windows 10 Firewall Control has a one-time license fee similar to a little snitch.
Tripmode is available for Windows as well as Mac systems. It works by blocking all apps that try to make internet access. You then get to allow the ones that you recognize.
With Tripmode, you can also see the total bandwidth usage broken down to a per-app basis. Also, it lets you set limits so that you can limit your consumption of metered connections. Other than that, Tripmode also reduces data usage when on mobile hotspot networks.The application has been designed with Mac users in mind. So, the application interface is very minimal.
However, Tripmode for Windows is no longer actively maintained by the developing company. They mention that it won’t receive new updates and you can’t guarantee that it will work on newer systems. It is still available to buy and download on their official website.
Tweaks on the Windows Firewall to Replicate the Effects of Little Snitch?
There are a few settings provided by Windows Firewall that provide similar effects to that of the little snitch. Continue reading to make changes to these settings.
- Click on the Start menu and type ‘firewall’.
- Select Windows Defender Firewall.
- On the left navigation pane, select Advanced settings.
- On the left navigation pane, select Outbound Rules.
- On the right Actions pane, select New Rule.
- Select Programs and click on Next.
- Select This program path and click on Browse.
- Navigate to the application you want to set the rule for, e.g. firefox.
- Select Next.
- Select Block the connection and select Next.
- Make sure all checkboxes are ticked and select Next.
- Give a custom name to the rule.
- Click on Finish to complete the setup.
- On the list of rules, select the rule name that you just created. Note that you can select Disable to turn off blocking the application.
- Click on Copy, and then paste to duplicate the rule.
- On the second entry, double click to open the Properties window.
- Under Programs and Services, click on Browse to navigate to a different application.
- Repeat for each application you want to set up the rule for.
Note that, changing this setting is not exactly the same as the little snitch. Firstly, it does not send any notification to your Desktop unlike the little snitch. Secondly, we are only setting up a rule for applications we already know. It is easy to miss any malicious or unknown programs without a full network usage report first.
Another approach to go about doing this is to set a default ‘block all’ rule for all programs first. Then, as we keep using our applications we can whitelist or ‘unblock’ recognized applications only. That way, we won’t need to gather a network usage report before starting to make settings.