Trend Micro apps found to be secretly harvesting data
Tue 11 Sep 2018
Apple has had to investigate a series of apps hosted on its App Store, after it was revealed that the apps were making copies of user data.
Dr. Cleaner Pro, Dr. Cleaner, Dr. Unarchiver, Dr. Antivirus, Dr. Battery, and Duplicate Finder, made by Trend Micro, Inc. were investigated by Apple which later removed Dr. Unarchiver and Dr. Cleaner from the store.
The apps reportedly collect and upload browser history to their servers in China whilst gathering information from other apps installed on iOS systems.
A report written by 9to5mac found that “apps distributed by the Trend Micro, Inc, account on the Mac App Store collect and upload the user’s browser history from Safari, Google Chrome and Firefox to their servers.”
Trend Micro denies the claims in a statement on its blog.
“Reports that Trend Micro is ‘stealing user data’ and sending them to an unidentified server in China are absolutely false.”
Trend Micro added that a small snapshot of the browser history is taken only once.
By taking a ‘snapshot’ of user browser history, the offending apps were able to analyse the possibility of adware and other threats that may be hiding on user phones.
Trend Micro went on to apologise to app users in the same statement before later updating the post once again with software changes.
The company removed the browser collection feature, destroyed three months-worth of logs of data that were being held on the AWS server in the US, and corrected a function in the apps that were using common code libraries.
Apps created by Trend Micro are among the highest downloaded paid applications on the App Store with Dr Unarchiver the twelfth most popular free app.
Last week, Adware Doctor – the most popular paid utility app – was also deleted from the App Store after it was discovered that the app was sending user data to China.