Apple removes anti-malware apps that harvested browser data

Apple removes anti-malware apps that harvested browser data

Thanks to the permissions it has, namely the possibility of accessing browsers, it is consulting and collecting users browsing history.

iOS developer and 9to5Mac writer Guilherme Rambo found that Trend Micro's Dr. Unarchiver was also siphoning user data.

What's particularly worrying is that these apps, which come from a developer that claims to be 'Trend Micro, Inc.', are very popular, often appearing high in the App Store's free software charts.

Apple has not commented on the removal of the Trend Micro apps that violated its privacy provisions, or why they were not discovered before despite testing.

On Friday, Apple removed Adware Doctor, a top security app, from its store, on the exact same grounds. He notes that he worked closely with @privacyis1st to compile the report. In the meantime, every single person who bought or used Adware Doctor in the 30 days since Wardle made the initial report has had their data exfiltrated to China. "So yes will be able to detect and clean adware, but also collect and exfiltrate any user file it so chooses". Cleaner, and Dr. Unarchiver, among others.

Apple removes anti-malware apps that harvested browser data
Apple removes anti-malware apps that harvested browser data

Most of these apps distributed by Trend Micro. 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.

Trend Micro's list of apps in the App Store at the time of publishing is reduced to two entries: Network Scanner (five ratings) and Dr. WiFi (not rated yet).

"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 United States on Amazon Web Services, not in China.

This is not a normal situation at the tech giant Apple, but sometimes programmers can circumvent the strict rules of the App Store and place hidden code and functions in apps that have behaviors that would not be expected. "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". A representative of the company told BleepingComputer that the company statement would be updated continuously.

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