Popular Mac apps caught harvesting users' browsing data without consent

Popular Mac apps caught harvesting users' browsing data without consent

A new investigation of the application, however, proved that Adware Doctor did far more than block advertising.

Apple has removed multiple apps by security vendor Trend Micro from its App Store, following allegations by researchers that the programs exfiltrate sensitive data without users' consent.

The company removed the browser collection feature, destroyed three months-worth of logs of data that were being held on the AWS server in the United States, and corrected a function in the apps that were using common code libraries. But, now, Trend Micro is refuting the claims against its apps. Cleaner, Dr. Cleaner Pro, Dr. Antivirus, Dr. Unarchiver, Dr. Battery and Duplicate Finder - were removed from the Mac App Store, but denied that the apps were stealing data and sending that data to Chinese servers. The acclaimed security app has found its way to the storefront of Apple Store owing to the number of fake reviews it has managed to garner.

Apps from a well-known cyber-security firm were taken down from the Mac app store by Apple after they were found to export 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.

Hence, Apple will need to do plenty of explaining - particularly the part on how these apps were able to bypass the proper screen of submitted applications for the App Store.

Apple hasn't yet issued a statement on the removal of Adware Doctor from the Mac App Store.

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Apple has a strict vetting process for apps that are allowed to be featured on its App Store. However, while working on the browser, it silently collected data related to users' browsing.

The reports were confirmed by 9to5Mac when, after downloading the Dr. Unarchiver application and making it scan the home directory to "Quick Clean Junk Files", the app proceeded to collect reams of unnecessary information.

Trend Micro specializes in computer security software.

However, it added that it had chose to remove this function from the apps. "The potential collection and use of browser history data was explicitly disclosed in the applicable EULAs (end user license agreements) and data collection disclosures accepted by users for each product at installation", it said.

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

Reed claimed that the app itself has a long track record of unscrupulous behaviour: it was previously called "Adware Medic" - a title which Reed said was a "rip off" of his app of the same name. In other cases, it has taken as long as six months for a reported app to be removed.

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