Security Growler

A Mac menubar app that notifies you whenever security events like ssh, ftp, vnc, or sudo auth, occur on your machine.

View the Project on GitHub pirate/security-growler

Security Growler Build Status Twitter URL

This menubar app for OS X will notify you via Notification Center (or Growl) when various security events occur (see list).

It's very useful if you're paranoid about people trying to hack into your computer. Or... if you simply like having information about people using your computer's resources.

It's extremely lightweight, the app is 3MB including the icon, with <0.01% CPU and <15MB of RAM used when running. It's easily extensible in Python, you can add parsers that detect new TCP connetions or poll logfiles. You can even forward alerts as push notifications to your iOS devices using Prowl.


  1. Download and run (dark mode)
  2. Click on the menubar icon once to start detecting events.

Download Security Growler if you don't use OS X Dark Mode. If you prefer Growl to the OS X Notification Center, run sudo easy_install gntp in Terminal and relaunch to switch.

It can do cool things like:

Alert you of attempted and succesfull SSH logins:

Notify you of incoming & outgoing TCP connections: FTP, VNC, SMB, MySQL, etc.:

(using less RAM than Little Snitch)

Notify you whenever a command is run with sudo:

Let you know when you're being portscanned:

More Screenshots...


The currently working alert types are:


I was tired of not being able to find an app that would quell my paranoia about open ports, so I made one myself. Now I can relax whenever I'm in a seedy internet cafe or connected to free Boingo airport wifi because I know if anyone is trying to connect to my computer.

Little Snitch is still hands-down the best connection-alerting software available for Mac, I highly suggest you check it out if you want a comprehensive firewall/alerting system, and are willing to pay a few bucks to get it. Security Growler is centered around parsing logfiles for any kind of generic pattern, not just monitoring the TCP connection table like Little Snitch. For example, my app can alert you of sudo events, keychain auth events, and anything else you can think of that's reported to a logfile. This app is significantly more lightweight than Little Snitch, it comes in at <15mb of RAM used, simply because it aims to solve a simpler problem than Little Snitch. This app is not designed to prevent malicious connections, that's what firewalls are for, it's just meant to keep an unobtrusive log, and alert you whenever important security events are happening. The more informed you are, the better you can protect yourself.

This app is meant for developers who frequenly run services that are open to their LAN, and just want to keep tabs on usage to make sure they aren't being abused by some local script kiddie. Since the target audience is developers, I opted to leave some parts a little less user-friendly, such as the config system.

Feel free to submit a pull-request and add a new parser (e.g. try writing one for nginx http-auth)!

A similar project written by @benjojo is available for Linux users: PushAlotAuth, it uses the PushALot push-notification platform.