DoorStop X Security Suite 2.0

When I last reviewed Open Door Networks’ DoorStop X Security Suite (   ), I didn’t find much wrong with the suite’s Firewall application. It was powerful, secure, and stable, and it made OS X’s built-in firewall easy for almost anyone to manage. I’m pleased to note that with this new upgrade, nothing has changed in that regard. DoorStop X Security Suite 2.0 will still lock your Mac down tight.

The other two pieces of DoorStop X Security Suite are the Who’s There? Firewall Advisor 2.1—DoorStop X’s logging tool—and the second edition of the company’s comprehensive Mac security book, Internet Security for Your Macintosh. All three components are available separately: The Firewall application is $49; Who’s There? Firewall Advisor is $39, and the book is $10.

Open Door Networks has enhanced various aspects of the software in this new version, which lets you create different Location sets, lets you examine your log files according to service (such as file or printer sharing), and has a security blog that provides regular updates on new security threats that may not be in the documentation. These tools will not only protect your Mac from possible infiltration, but also give you detailed insight into what’s really happening if your Mac ever gets attacked on the Net.

The program’s new Location feature makes it much easier for you to change configurations when you take your laptop from your office, to the coffee shop, to your home—all locations that beg for different levels of firewall protection. Previous versions of the program required that you manually adjust your settings every time you needed to change your firewall configuration.

If you’ve already used OS X’s built-in firewall, you may have noticed that its logging features are somewhat cryptic. Unless you know exactly what to look for, you’ll have no clue if your Mac is being attacked or what you can do about it. DoorStop X’s Who’s There? Firewall Advisor helps you understand what kinds of access attempts are being made on your Mac, by displaying attempts—both allowed and denied—and results in a log. A Service Info button lets you see detailed information on exactly which service and port are being used for such unauthorized access. For example, if someone is using Timbuktu to access your Mac, Who’s There? will tell you the type of access—attempted control, file transfer, or observation—and how to allow legitimate access and block illegal access. The new version also lets you search for specific information, such as IP addresses or ports, and is better integrated with the DoorStop X Firewall app.

Unfortunately, DoorStop X Security Suite lacks a novice mode that would protect beginners from their own configuration mistakes, so new users may block ports that they actually need. For example, it’s easy to accidentally block the port used to share your iTunes library, making it inaccessible to others on your network. Open Door Networks says that the configuration wizard should prevent most new users from making these kinds of mistakes, but that it doesn’t protect users who later decide to adjust their settings manually.

Macworld’s buying advice

DoorStop X Security Suite 2.0 is a best-of-breed program that not only performs the important task of decoding OS X’s built-in firewall utility, but also helps you understand its process. The efficient software, coupled with the suite’s educational components, make DoorStop X Security Suite an excellent way to secure your Mac—and learn valuable information at the same time.

[ Jeffery Battersby is a writer, publisher, and regular contributor to Macworld. You can read his blog at jeffbattersby.com. ]

DoorStop X’s simple interface allows you to easily open, close, or limit access to your Mac’s ports.Who’s There? makes your firewall log files understandable.

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