During the past few days, several cybersecurity researchers have identified various apps in the iPhone App Store and the Mac App store that track user data. These findings keep on revealing more details about how the apps steal user data and store it on some unsecured servers in China. After receiving several reports one after another, finally, Apple removed Trend Micro apps identified by the researchers for data exfiltration.
Apple Removed Trend Micro Apps Exfiltrating User Data
Over the last few days, the researcher Privacy1st raised the voice for numerous apps that he found pilfering user data. He continued tweeting about the matter, ultimately seeking attention from others. Alongside him, Patrick Wardle and Thomas Reed also got interested to know more about these apps. Their findings were no different. With the passage of time, they noticed some apps showing similar data tracking behavior, and transmitting to the same servers. They eventually identified that the apps belonged to Trend Micro – a cybersecurity firm.
Since then, one after the other, they reported the matter to Apple authorities. And now, we have received the news that Apple has removed Trend Micro apps that were notably involved in data exfiltration. Again, the news spread on Twitter as the researchers noticed the disappearance of the apps. Some of these apps identified by the researchers include Dr. Cleaner, Dr. Antivirus, App Uninstall, Dr. Unarchiver, etc.
Update: Apple removed most of the TrendMicro apps including the fake developer account they had to promote the Open Any Files, which was reported as malware by @thomasareed from @Malwarebytes .
Kudos to @Apple for fast action.
— Privacy 1st (@privacyis1st) September 10, 2018
Breaking development: “App Uninstall” was just removed from the Mac App Store sometime within the past 90 minutes. Now there are only two Trend Micro apps remaining in the store.
— Josh Long (the JoshMeister) (@theJoshMeister) September 10, 2018
Apple Already Removed A Malicious Adware Blocker
The removal of Trend Micro apps from the Mac App Store comes in as a gesture of rebuilding customers’ trust. Just a couple of days ago, Apple removed an adware blocking app, named Adware Doctor, that also suspiciously tracked user data. That app too was first identified by Privacy1st for this malicious activity. Before that, Apple pulled off the Facebook’s Onavo VPN as it conflicted with Apple policies regarding user data tracking, security, and protection. Now, Apple has removed several Trend Micro apps together – therefore, we can hope that Apple will also pull off any remaining ones that have been identified as tracking user data soon.
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