Published: Wed, September 12, 2018
Electronics | By Shannon Stone

More Mac apps are stealing and uploading your data, says report

More Mac apps are stealing and uploading your data, says report

However, this incident suggests that these stores can not be fully trusted as some of the most popular apps (Dr. Unarchiver is #12 most popular free app in the US Mac App Store, Adware Doctor is #1 paid utility app) there are putting user data at risk.

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. Cleaner, which are distributed by developer Trend Micro, Inc., reportedly collected and uploaded users' browser history to their servers, according to a 9to5Mac report on Sunday. In a blog post, the company said that the apps "collected and uploaded a small snapshot of the browser history on a one-time basis, covering the 24 hours prior to installation". Cleaner, and Dr. Unarchiver, all under the developer account Trend Micro, Incorporated.

While neither Apple nor Trend has responded to a request for comment on the matter, the removals are nearly certainly a response to reports in recent days that the products appeared to covertly collect and upload private user data.

Giving apps access to the home directory opens up a lot of potential data: iMessage conversations and emails as well as browsing information. This malicious data collection was independently confirmed by two researchers and promptly disclosed to Apple but remained in the virtual store, seemingly until it started making headlines.

He discovered that the app was promoting the Trend Micro Antivirus product in the store, with no apparent connection. The whole point of the Mac App Store, much like the iOS App Store, Google's Play Store or their equivalents, is to assure consumers that software downloaded from those marketplaces is safe. "Cleaner, a cleanup app that offers Memory Optimisation, Disk Cleaning and System Monitoring, and Dr. Antivirus, an antivirus app that protects Mac users from adware and hijack browsers".

Mac users who are using the "Adware Doctor" application should uninstall it as soon as possible.

The security breaches were reported by researchers Thomas Reed in Malwarebytes Labs, Patrick Wardle of Objective-See and @privacyis1st.

Apps collect data such as Global Positioning System coordinates, WiFi network IDs and more, and pass all of it to advertising and monetization firms.

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