Sci-tech

Security-based Mac apps were secretly spying on your browser data

Security-based Mac apps were secretly spying on your browser data”

Apple has been forced to remove one of the most popular security apps on its Mac App Store after it was found to be secretly exfiltrating browser data to China.

Thomas Reed, the developer of Malwarebytes for Mac, chimed in on the thread confirming the unethical behavior and the connection between the two apps.

On using the app, 9to5mac.com found it had created a zip file which, when opened, contained browser history, Google search information, and a "file containing a complete list of all apps installed on the system, including information about where they were downloaded from, whether they are 64-bit compatible and their code signature". While Apple has already removed all these apps from the store, the shock for many is that the Mac App Store review policy didn't catch the nefarious action in the first place.

But sometimes these ratings fail, as happened in the case of Adware Doctor app.

App stores, especially Apple's, have a reputation regarding security.

Generally, Apple's app stores are considered to be the hosts of secure apps, but a bunch of apps from the Mac App Store are silently spying on the browser data of the users. Now with new evidence that Adware Doctor application is actually breaking the rules and stealing user data, hence, now the well-known security application Adware Doctor was eventually removed from the store and is not available.

Dr. Unarchiver was reportedly gathering and uploading users' data.

'Trend Micro is aware of a recent scrutiny of some of our consumer applications, including our Dr.

The apps' behaviour was noticed by a security researcher last week.

"This was a one-time data collection, done for security purposes (to analyze whether a user had recently encountered adware or other threats, and thus to improve the product & service)", Trend Micro explains, adding that the data was uploaded to a server in the USA on Amazon Web Services, not in China.

"We have learned that browser collection functionality was designed in common across a few of our applications and then deployed the same way for both security-oriented as well as the non-security oriented apps such as the ones in discussion".

Update [September 10, 19:13]: Trend Micro released less than an hour ago a statement denying that its apps were stealing user data.



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