Monday, 19 November, 2018

Trend Micro: Sorry Our Mac Apps Collected Browser Histories

Apple has removed a popular Mac app after it was found to be stealing users data. The app called Adware Doctor was recording users data and history and sending it to servers in China Popular Mac app Adware Doctor pulled by Apple after revelation it steals browsing history
Lori Graves | 13 September, 2018, 13:15

Notwithstanding the spyware nature of Adware Doctor, Wardle admitted that it actually removes adware from users' browsers. Trend Micro said that reports its apps were sending data to China are "absolutely false". It exports your entire browser history, along with data from the App Store and other information.

Antivirus vendor Trend Micro has apologized after its Mac apps were found collecting browser histories from people's computers. This data theft is a big issue when you consider the popularity of Dr. Unarchiver; it was the 12th most popular free app in the U.S. Mac App Store.

It's blindingly obvious at this point that the Mac App Store is not the safe haven of reputable software that Apple wants it to be.

A number of applications from Apple's Mac App Store have reportedly been secretly recording users' browsing histories before uploading them to remote servers.

The case seems to call into question Apple's vetting process for apps on its official marketplace. You might expect this to be a problem with third-party app stores for Android devices, but some might be surprised to learn that Apple is having an issue with nefarious developers and apps offered for download on the highly-guarded Mac App Store. Once installed, Adware Doctor collects users browsing history and sends them straight to a Chinese server.

But the app took those permissions a step further by collecting a user's browser history, a list of other software and any apps you've downloaded.

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Trend Micro is an anti-malware and security company who has several security products across platforms.

The takedown comes just days after Privacy First and Wardle found that another App Store security product, AdWare Doctor, was pulled for exhibiting almost the exact same malicious activity. In addition to these apps stealing data, Reed noted in his analysis that at least two Trend Micro apps appeared to be acting improperly.

However, it added that it had chose to remove this function from the apps. "This includes the one-time 24 hour log of browser history held for three months and permitted by users upon install".

Apple hadn't responded to a request for comment. It was listed alongside other apps including Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro X. Worse, critics are now wondering how these programs were able to get past the usual screen and still allowed on the Apple App 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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