Apple takes down popular Mac utility app that stole users' browser data


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However, despite running as an anti-malware and anti-adware product, the Mac application was also found to be engaged in some rather dubious activities.

"Reports that Trend Micro is "stealing user data" and sending them to an unidentified server in China are absolutely false", said Trend Micro in a statement.

In a post responding to the controversy, the Japanese firm said it completed an investigation into the six apps removed from the Apple Mac Store and concluded they "collected and uploaded a small snapshot of the browser history on a one-time basis".

Tech Radar was supplied with a statement by Trend Micro that said it takes any allegation of privacy breach very seriously.

Security firm Trend Micro has apologized after several of its consumer macOS anti-malware products and utilities were discovered to be capturing the notebook's browser history data and sending it to a remote server.

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Security researcher Patrick Wardle, a former NSA hacker and now chief research officer at cybersecurity startup Digita Security, dug in and shared his findings with TechCrunch. Both apps are collecting and uploading user data, including browsing history, to their servers. Once Apple was informed of this, the developer simply changed the name to Adware Doctor.

"From a security and privacy point of view, one of the main benefits of installing applications from the official Mac App Store is that such applications are sandboxed", Wardle blogged.

Apps collect data such as Global Positioning System coordinates, WiFi network IDs and more, and pass all of it to advertising and monetization firms. According to the security report conducted by security researcher Will Strafach from the Sudo Security Group's GuardianApp, popular apps such as GasBuddy, MyRadar, PayByPhone Parking and run tracking app C25K 5K Trainer contain tracking code and are responsible for the misappropriation of users' data.

Trend Micro specializes in computer security software. "This includes the one-time 24 hour log of browser history held for three months and permitted by users upon install". It was listed alongside other apps including Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro X.

It said it had made a decision to remove the browser history collection feature and had erased all the browser history data it had stored from previous collections. No comment from Apple has been given thus far.

Perhaps Apple does not care about the Mac App Store as much as the iOS App Store simply because it does not generate as much money for it.