Apple takes down Trend Micro Mac apps that collected, stored user data

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Apple has removed a series of apps from the Mac App Store after they were found to be accessing users' private data and sending it to remote servers.

Apple responded by kicking the offending apps out of the App Store, and Trend Micro started an investigation into the privacy concerns raised about Dr Cleaner, Dr Cleaner Pro, Dr Antivirus, Dr Unarchiver, Dr Battery and Duplicate Finder. Shortly after Thomas Reed, a longtime Mac security blogger who now works for Malwarebytes, pointed out several more applications doing the same thing: Open Any Files, Dr. Antivirus and Dr. Cleaner.

Mac security guru Patrick Wardle noted last week that in addition to the advertised functions of removing adware and malware from Macs, the software also collected people's personal data including their browsing history, then transmitted that data as a password-protected archive to a server on the internet.

Trend Micro confirmed that several of its products were collecting a "snapshot" of users' browser history data but said this was done in order to spot potential adware encounters. It would make sense for anti-virus software to have this kind of access for a truly thorough clean, but then nobody expects ostensibly good apps to be wrapping up browser data in a tidy zip file and uploading to the developers' servers.

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A handful of apps on the Mac App Store may be gathering and uploading your data, including your browser history. In other cases, it has taken as long as six months for a reported app to be removed. Dr. Unarchiver and Dr. At no point was user consent requested, nor where users alerted that this happening behind the scenes.

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", the company said in a blog post.

Despite cases like this, however, App Stores are safer than the wild internet as curtain - even one that is many times perfunctory - can still screen risky apps more often than not. Apple was soon to remove the app from the Mac App Store as soon as the news broke but as it turns out, there are more apps on the App Store indulging in the same tactics. A representative of the company told BleepingComputer that the company statement would be updated continuously.

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