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GlassWire review: This free network security tool tells all about your network traffic

Erez Zukerman | Sept. 30, 2014
Get a grip on your network's goings-on with GlassWire's combination traffic monitor and firewall, shown in a gorgeous, live infographic.

A line chart is handy for tracking traffic over time; but for cumulative total, something like a pie chart works better. That's what you'll find on the Usage tab: A simple and lovely look at your traffic totals for the day, week, or month. This tab uses the same zoom slider as the Graph tab, making it possible to pick your own custom durations and zoom in on traffic spikes to see how much data was consumed, and by which apps.

If you use a metered connection, if your ISP claims you haven't been reasonably using your so-called "unlimited plan," the Usage tab offers invaluable totals.

Finally, there's all the traffic that's going on when you're not even using the computer. After all, your apps don't need you to be there to communicate. Some may even patiently bide their time, waiting for the keyboard and mouse to become idle for some time, before they start talking to their control servers or network peers.

Like everything else GlassWire monitors, this is not necessarily nefarious: Maybe your online backup app simply doesn't want to slow down your connection when you need it. Still, keeping tabs on these things is healthy, and that's what Alerts are for. When you unlock your workstation, GlassWire also pops up unobtrusive messages next to the system tray to let you know if anything important happened.

GlassWire's doesn't just make it easy to learn about your network activity: It actually makes it fun. That is its biggest triumph, accomplished through beautiful design and a zippy, responsive interface. Unlike many other security apps, there's nothing alarmist about it, and it doesn't attempt to upsell you on anything.

The app is entirely free, although a statement on the developer's website says it intends to "add new features in the future for paying supporters."

 

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