Like some other OS X firewall products, such as
), DoorStop X Security Suite puts a friendlier front end on OS X’s built-in firewall, making it an excellent solution for users who like the idea of using that built-in firewall but would like to be able to configure it more completely without resorting to the Terminal. The question is, are you willing to pay $80 for such access? I think it’s definitely worth the ducats. But if you’re on a tighter budget, you can opt to purchase the firewall alone, without the rest of the Suite, for $49.
DoorStop X walks you through a brief setup process, during which you choose the amount of access other users will have to your Mac. The default setting is to allow no access, which is more stringent than you’d want if you are sharing your iTunes music library, for example. The alternative is to customize the configuration and select the services you want to make available to others users.
Once you complete the setup process, the main DoorStop X window displays a list of all the services currently available; a lock icon signifies whether you’re allowing or barring access to each service. Updating your configuration is as simple as selecting a service and clicking on a radio button to allow or restrict access.
If you lock down access to a service inadvertently, you may need to perform some network detective work. For example, if you want to share your iTunes library, but no one is able to connect to it, you may have locked it down. To fix this, you’ll need to look at your firewall settings and make the appropriate changes to allow access.
DoorStop X comes with excellent documentation and an even better book, Internet Security for Your Macintosh. This guide tells you why you need to secure your Mac and provides specific information about each of the services secured by DoorStop X—and why you should or shouldn’t secure them.
The DoorStop X Security Suite ships with a second application, Who’s There?, which allows you to view detailed information stored in the firewall log. Who’s There? tracks the type of connections that are being attempted with your computer, and the application can make suggestions about how to change your firewall configuration to limit vulnerability. As with DoorStop X, Who’s There? is paired with the included e-book, so you can get specific information about which service or port on your Mac is being attacked.
Macworld buying advice
DoorStop X Security Suite is an easy-to-configure front end to Apple’s built-in firewall application. When used in tandem with the Who’s There? log viewer and the excellent supporting documentation, it can help keep your Mac safe, as well as teach you more about Internet security.
Jeffery Battersby is a network analyst and a regular contributor to
Open Door’s DoorStop X makes it simpler to configure OS X’s built-in firewall, without having to open up the Terminal.