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Apple throws out Trend Micro apps for uploading user data

13 September 2018

Cleaner and Dr. Antivirus have disappeared from the Mac App Store after experts, including Malwarebytes Labs" head of Mac Thomas Reed, spotted that user data was needlessly being "exfiltrated' from these products.

Wardle said Adware Doctor was caught out abusing AppleScript in 2016, when the application tried to elevate its system privileges. It exports your entire browser history, along with data from the App Store and other information.

Trend said certain applications collected a one-off snapshot of users' browser histories to determine whether they had recently encountered a known malicious website.

Adware Doctor which sells for $5 on the Apple's Mac App Store has been revealed by security researchers to be nothing more than a spyware.

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User privacy has been a growing concern and it seems a new batch of Mac Apps from the Apple store have raised a howl.

While there is some logic in scanning browser history for potential threats, not all of the apps collecting information were for security purposes.

Trend Micro's initial investigation confirmed data collection by a number of its apps, but the company tried to play down the significance of this. "(The other benefit is that Apple supposedly vets all submitted applications - but as we've clearly shown here, they (sometimes?) do a miserable job)", Wardle wrote in a blog post. The apps in question include Adware Doctor, Open Any Files: RAR Support, Dr. Antivirus, and Dr. He credits Twitter user Privacy 1st with noticing the problem, but he conducts a thorough analysis to discover how Adware Doctor steals your browsing history, and where it sends the data to. After users launched the apps, the apps would gather information like browser history, create a zip file and upload it, according to the report.

Trend Micro specializes in computer security software. Reed is in the process of researching at least three other tools on Apple's App Store that do "very similar things".

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However, it added that it had made a decision to remove this function from the apps.

SiliconANGLE asked Trend Micro to comment on the report and will update this post if it responds.

According to Apple, "The safest place to download apps for your Mac is the Mac App Store". And given that Apple makes a 30 percent cut of every purchase of this popular app, there isn't much financial incentive to withdraw the app from the store.

Reed claimed that the app itself has a long track record of unscrupulous behaviour: it was previously called "Adware Medic" - a title which Reed said was a "rip off" of his app of the same name.

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Apple throws out Trend Micro apps for uploading user data