Apple removes Mac apps which are stealing user data

No.1 Adware Removal App On Apple App Store Caught Spying On Mac Users

A bunch of Mac App Store apps are secretly uploading user data to their servers

According to Patrick Wardle of Objective-See, who undertook an investigation of the application, Adware Doctor is a capital piece of spyware - and it took Apple more than a month to remove the app from the Mac Store even once Wardle had turned over his findings.

Adware Doctor had a 4.8-star rating off the back of over 7000 user reviews and sat at the top of the list of paid utility apps. The apps in question later collected browsing data as well as data of the apps installed on the system, made a zip file of the information and sent it to the developer's server.

He noted that since Adware Doctor is given universal access by users when it is first run, it is able to access running processes on the Mac by simply working around obstacles that Apple has set in place for security.

A number of applications on Apple's Mac App Store are secretly gathering user data and uploading it to analytics servers.

A handful of apps on the Mac App Store may be gathering and uploading your data, including your browser history.

"Trend Micro has completed an initial investigation of a privacy concern related to some of its MacOS consumer products", the company said in a blog post.

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The apps which appeared to originate from Trend Micro (in hindsight, scummy unaffiliated developers), included apps like Unarcvhers and Cleaner, meant to help users unzip files or clean up their desktop ended up gathering browsing data and installed app data, collating it into a zip file and uploading to a remote server.

Trend Micro blamed the behavior on the use of common code libraries and has now removed the browser data collection feature and deleted logs store on the AWS servers. He notes that he worked closely with @privacyis1st to compile the report. Confirming that these apps did in fact collect and upload browser data, the company at first defended the activity, but then went on to cease data collection.

Also removed is App Uninstall (spotted by security researcher Joshua Long), another product under Trend Micro's developer account.

We reached out to Trend Micro for a statement on the matter but received no reply at the time of publishing.

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 representative of the company told BleepingComputer that the company statement would be updated continuously.

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