Trend Micro Apps Removed From Mac App Store for Leaking User Data

By Vaidyanathan Subramaniam / September 11, 2018

Short on the heels of reports of Adware Doctor acting as spyware, security researchers have discovered that apps belonging to the account Trend Micro Incorporated have been removed from the Mac App Store. These apps include Dr. Antivirus, Dr. Cleaner, and Dr. Unarchiver. Prior to removal, these apps were all best sellers in their category with average ratings ranging between 4.6-4.9.

Reports of a Trend Micro app acting fishy surfaced last year when a user posted on the Malwarebytes forum that the 'Open Any Files: RAR Support' app took over his Mac and promoted the Trend Micro Antivirus product in the App Store. Malwarebytes found that the said app is indeed associated with the Dr. Antivirus app and therefore, with Trend Micro. The malware scanning abilities of the app were also dubious.

Security researcher Privacy 1st, who also first reported on Adware Doctor, found that Dr. Cleaner and Dr. Antivirus collected browser and system history from Safari, Chrome, and Firefox. The data collected was sensitive user information and the data was being siphoned off to the domain. It is to be noted that the apps always do not initiate data collection. They seem to do so only when receiving a specific JSON file at runtime when they attempt to connect to Privacy 1st observed a connection between Trend Micro and a Chinese developer while examining these apps.

Another app called App Uninstall, which also belongs to Trend Micro, has been removed as spotted by security researcher Joshua Long. Currently, only two apps of Trend Micro's labs are available in the Mac App Store — Network Scanner and Dr. WiFi.

It is disconcerting to learn that a well-known name such as Trend Micro is allowing malicious apps to be published under its name in the Mac App Store. Most users recognize the name and trust the developer for the security of their computers. Trend Micro is yet to respond to these developments but we'll keep you updated if they do.

What do you think about the removal of Trend Micro apps from the macOS App Store? Let us know in the comments below. Also, to get instant tech updates, follow TechNadu’s Facebook page, and Twitter handle. 

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