F-Secure announced that it has acquired Little Flocker, a utility that controls what file types and directories macOS apps can access, from Jonathan Zdziarski. The acquisition comes after Zdziarski announced in March that he was hired to Apple's Security Engineering and Architecture team.
Little Flocker helped protect against malicious software--or simply keep apps in line--by letting you know whenever they requested access to files or directories. The utility also let you create rules for specific apps to prevent them from gathering information you don't want them to have. Combine those features with an easy way to import "rules" from other users so you don't have to configure them yourself, and you have a handy little tool.
F-Secure certainly seemed to think so. The company described Little Flocker as "the most advanced security technology available for Macs" and said it will build the tool's "next-generation security engine" into its new Xfence technology. Here's what the company said about its plans (opens in new tab) for Xfence:
The myth of Macs not requiring protection against ransomware, backdoors and other software vulnerabilities is fading away. Advanced persistent threat actors are increasingly focusing on Macs due to Apple's popularity among senior-level employees and other high-value targets. By acquiring Little Flocker's core technology and implementing it into F-Secure's endpoint protection portfolio as XFENCE, F-Secure will further enhance its products' existing cyber security capabilities for the sophisticated detection of zero-day attacks, regardless of the platform customers choose.
F-Secure also said that it will use its cloud platform and other security measures to "enrich Little Flocker's core technology." The tool's protections will be built into F-Secure Safe, which is supposed to protect your family's browsing, Wi-Fi network, and devices. Little Flocker itself will be re-branded as F-Secure Xfence (opens in new tab) and will be re-released as a "free technology beta" some time in the future. The company didn't offer pricing or release date info.
It also didn't say if people who purchased Little Flocker before the announcement will also have access to F-Secure Xfence or if they'll have to re-purchase the tool. Little Flocker's website has been replaced with a message saying it's "currently undergoing maintenance" and asking visitors to "try again later." Tom's Hardware reached out to F-Secure to learn more about the transition from Little Flocker to F-Secure Xfence, but we haven't yet received a response.