Here's how to enable VO access to Little Snitch

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macOS & Mac Apps

I am posting these instructions in response to a recent tweet and the occasional mailing list query.

Upon first launch of Little Snitch, it is reasonable for a VO User to assume the app is not accessible because it is not possible to locate or interact with any parts of the app in it's default setting; however, , much of Little Snitch is actually quite accessible if you can find someone with enough sight who can spare a few minutes to tick a single checkbox within the app. I’ve included instructions to do this below.

Note that this is neither a review, an endorsement nor an app entry for Little Snitch. If you want more information on the app, it is available in droves through your favorite search engine.

Also note that this app is not a toy. This is a firewall and misconfiguration can create serious communication problems on your Mac. OS X comes with good firewall capabilities already enabled, and they are sufficient for the vast majority of Users.

The initial installation process for this app is accessible, but I strongly recommend not installing it unless you have enough sight or have a sighted person available to enable VO access by performing post-installation steps 2 through 4 below. Until you've enabled VO access for this app, it is possible Little Snitch might start interrupting network communications with no way for a blind User to know what is happening or to independently reverse the firewall behavior.

The following installation and configuration instructions assume Little Snitch version 3.5.1 and Mavericks 10.9.5. The app is supported under Yosemite, but I've not tested it.

1. Install Little Snitch and restart the Mac when prompted.

2. Launch "Little Snitch Configuration.app" from the Applications folder.

3. Open the Little Snitch Preferences.

4. In the Security tab, tick the checkbox labeled “Allow GUI Scripting..” This is the step that will enable VO to interact with most parts of Little Snitch. You might need to restart the Mac again at this point in order for the change to take effect.

Once you've enabled GUI scripting, you should find that most important parts of the app, such as the popup notifications, the details, radio buttons, checkboxes and other elements within those notifications, the preference panes, the rules table and editor, and the menu extras, are accessible to VO. One part of the app which I’m pretty sure is not VO accessible is the Network Monitor screen.

HTH, YMMV and caveat emptor.

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Comments

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Saturday, February 14, 2015

I talked to the auther and they don't want to make little snich's check boes accessible because they clame that voice over is a danger to the mac. Almost their words exactly which I don't quite understand. I lost the mailing list archive in which they had said this as the person who contacted the dev pasted in their email exactly.

Take care.

This discussion took place on the mac-access list last year, and I'll paste in the response Bryan received and pasted into his post. I should add that Bryan did indicate this was the response to his contact in 2011, so I don't know whether they still feel this way. I'll also give the Mail Archive URL to Bryan's March 2014 post that this is excerpted from. The subject thread was "Little Snitch", and since the Mail Archive supports access key shortcuts, anyone reading that post from a computer web browser can use the appropriate shortcut to read down the thread. For Safari on the Mac, this is Control+n to go to the next post. In case any sighted developers read this post, the shortcut is Control+Option+n for Safari if it was started without VoiceOver enabled.

https://www.mail-archive.com/mac-access@mac-access.net/msg25113.html

Begin response from Objective Development Customer Support:

"Little Snitch can be used with VoiceOver.

Unfortunately VoiceOver can present a security risk, because it makes one
app controllable by another app. That is why controlling Little Snitch via
VoiceOver is disabled by default.

You would need to ask a seeing person to enable the preferences setting
"Allow GUI Scripting access to Little Snitch" in the "Security" tab of the
preferences in the Little Snitch Configuration application.

You might then want to disable this option: In the preferences tab
"Monitor", the setting "Show automatically on network activity" -
otherwise the Network Monitor will be much too chatty :) "

End response from Objective Development.

HTH

Esther

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Saturday, February 14, 2015

Yeah thanks for that. I still think the dev's comments are a bunch of BS Voice over does not and will never pose a security risk. I mean how can it as I stated in 2011? Tha'ts just nuts.

Submitted by Brother J. on Monday, April 27, 2015

I communicated with Objective Development GmbH in September 2014 because I was quite angry about this. They informed me thusly about the GUI scripting checkbox. I told them VoiceOver was no security risk of any kind and they told me they would work towards a solution. Of course that obviously was not considered a priority and probably still is not so I will soon e-mail them again to remind them this must change. Like it or not, an app that can disable keyboard and/or VoiceOver access is quite the cleverly-coded one. I know of none that present such an obstacle.

If you want the equivalent of Little Snitch without the initial accessibility obstacle I strongly suggest and urge blind users to try Hands Off! by One Periodic – formerly Metakine. Hands Off! does the same and more but does not restrict access to the keyboard and/or VoiceOver. For those who care, it also does not root itself as deep into Mac OS thus does not require a system reboot upon installation

I am so paranoid [or aware] of things I use both.. That is, in addition to the built-in joke of a firewall.