Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Trend Micro security apps caught sharing data stolen from Mac OS users

Mac App Store apps found stealing user data Popular Mac app Adware Doctor pulled by Apple after revelation it steals browsing history
Beatrice Douglas | 13 September, 2018, 13:13

Cleaner, a cleanup app that offers Memory Optimization, Disk Cleaning and System Monitoring, and Dr. Antivirus, an antivirus app that protects Mac users from adware and hijack browsers, ' the company told the tech site.

Adware Doctor is basically created to remove any adware that is found in a Mac. As per the researcher, the Adware Doctor was collecting the browsing history of the users and was sharing the information with the China-based servers.

Instead, it appears the apps, which are installed with access to the home directory on macOS, would gather data from the Mac as a zip file and upload it to the developer's servers.

Facepalm: After being caught uploading user's browser history to the cloud, Trend Micro has issued an apology.

Following the backlash of not pulling the plug on a top paid app called Adware Doctor listed on Mac Apple Store that has been accused of stealing users' data and uploading on a Chinese server, Apple has removed the app from its platform.

Macs have a reputation for having better security than Windows machines, mainly thanks to the Mac App Store, and Apple's supposedly stringent rules for allowing apps to be included there.

Updated A bunch of Trend Micro anti-malware tools have vanished from Apple's Mac App Store - after they were spotted harvesting and siphoning off users' browser histories.

Patrick Wardle who is a security researcher working with Privacy 1st said he intimated Apple on the malicious nature of its working.


Examining the apps' code, Reed and others also claimed Trend Micro's repertoire of apps was sending data to a server in China based on the fact a domain was registered in the country - a charge Trend Micro flatly denies. However, it looks that Apple does a miserable job sometimes when checking all submitted applications.

Apple, on the other hand, has not made any official statement on the removal of Adware Doctor from its App Store.

A similar situation happened in the then Windows-Store with Torrenty, an app which would install adware once downloaded, It slipped past app store verification but was struck down once media reports brought it under scrutiny.

According to a news report published on September 7, the "Adware Doctor" app is actually spyware that transmits your browsing history to servers in China.

The apps are Dr Antivirus, Dr Cleaner, and Dr Unarchiver, all under the developer account Trend Micro, Incorporated.

'Trend Micro is aware of a recent scrutiny of some of our consumer applications, including our Dr. However, since then other similarly problematic apps have been discovered.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The App Store is the safest place to download apps for your Mac.

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