The controversy first erupted in August when pseudonymous German security researcher Privacy1st posted a YouTube video of how the top-selling Trend Micro Adware Doctor exfiltrated users' browser history and files.
At no point did the app ask permission or inform the user that it was collecting this data. Cleaner and other utilities sold in the Mac App Store were exfiltrating their browser history since at least December 2017. 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. He notes that he worked closely with @privacyis1st to compile the report.
The method used by Dr. Antivirus, Dr.
Mac users who are using the "Adware Doctor" application should uninstall it as soon as possible.
Another thing these apps have in common is a connection with Trend Micro and a Chinese developer.
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"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.
The tech giant Apple is known for making very rigorous examinations of applications it places in the apps stores of its operating systems. "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)".
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. All of the apps in question are made by the cyber-security company Trend Micro, which initially denied the allegations but has since issued an apology to its users.
The 9to5mac.com website, which has reported on the issue, tried out one of the apps, Dr. Unarchiver, and confirmed that it was indeed collecting data from the home directory of the Mac it was installed on. A representative of the company told BleepingComputer that the company statement would be updated continuously.