Apple Removes Top Security Tool for Secretly Stealing Data

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

The apps include some that are among the most popular on the US Mac App Store.

Notwithstanding the spyware nature of Adware Doctor, Wardle admitted that it actually removes adware from users' browsers.

iOS developer and 9to5Mac writer Guilherme Rambo found that Trend Micro's Dr. Unarchiver was also siphoning user data. Other researchers adopted up and stumbled on that apps dispensed by this "Pattern Micro, Inc." story on the Mac App Retailer safe and add the user's browser historic past from Safari, Google Chrome and Firefox to their servers.

The Japanese multinational firm initially said these charges were "absolutely false", but admitted in the same statement that a number of apps were indeed uploading browser histories as Apple had claimed.

Adware Doctor, which claimed to keep "malware and malicious files from infecting your Mac", was earlier removed when it originally posed as Adware Medic, an actual malware app released by Malwarebytes (Malwarebytes for Mac).

Apple's walled garden approach to Mac and iPhone security is nearly entirely based on the inability to install apps outside the app store, which Apple monitors closely.

"Let's face it, your browsing history provides a glimpse into nearly every aspect of your life", Patrick Wardle, a former NSA hacker and chief research officer at cybersecurity firm, Digita Security said.

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Most of these apps distributed by Trend Micro.

Researchers noted that insecure applications appeared to be repeatedly getting around Apple's vetting process for the App Store. It is unknown how many users downloaded these "tools" and had their data scraped over the lifetime of the apps. However, once access was granted, both apps would glean a user's information, compress it to a zip file and upload it to a server. First, Adware Doctor found a way to bypass Apple's "sandbox" technology, which is supposed to prevent one app reaching out and grabbing data from another.

Several anti-malware apps made by Trend Micro have since been updated by the cyber-security company.

Trend Micro specializes in computer security software.

Previously, apps entitled Dr Cleaner, Dr Cleaner Pro, Dr. Antivirus, Dr. Unarchiver, Dr. Battery, and Duplicate Finder were all created to take a snapshot of browser history upon first launch. Browser data was previously stored for three months.

IT Pro has approached Apple for comment but it had not responded at the time of publication.

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

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