Little Flocker is getting dumbed down for the good of all Mac users

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How to set up and manage Apple Pay on the Mac (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

Securities and forensics expert Jonathan Zdziarski is joining Apple's Security Engineering and Architecture team. That's great news for Apple, but what about his epic Mac protection tool, Little Flocker, which was quickly snatched up by F-Secure?

F-Secure announced that it would rebrand the tool XFENCE and would launch it as a free beta program for the masses. In an interview, Sean Sullivan, F-Secure security advisor, told MacWorld that users who previously purchased Little Flocker will be able to receive free additional tools that will be locked behind a pay wall for everyone else.

Sullivan told MacWorld that F-Secure's plan is to make Little Flocker (now XFENCE) "more accessible to a greater number of users." In its current form, Little Flocker requires an intimate knowledge of a Mac's operating system and is a little too complicated for the average user. MacWorld notes that XFENCE could allow users without administrative accounts the ability to use some security tools, and allow someone to customize the level of interaction needed for some notification tools.

The intent with the Xfence release is to make it part of a multi-pronged method of helping users by making smarter deductions about what normal activity is. For instance, a network firewall might take note, Sullivan said, that "we've never seen you connect to Bulgaria before. "Do we want to let you make that connection?" Instead of alerting about anything, outlying behavior prompts notification, removing some of the warning fatigue that otherwise kicks in.

Little Flocker, you may recall, is a tool that watches app activity on your Mac and alerts you when any changes are made in order to protect you from malware, ransomware, and backdoors and prevents malicious programs from accessing files and system resources without your explicit permission. XFENCE will follow the same path, but will be, well, dumbed down, so the average user can make sense of it. Advanced tools that are beloved by Little Flocker fans will likely be available for an additional cost in the future (though still free for Little Flocker investors). You can sign up to join the beta of XFENCE at F-Secure's website today.

Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).