Apple removes popular anti-adware app that spans users from App Store

Sep

7

2018

Apple has removed Adware Doctor, a popular paid anti-adware application for macOS, from the App Store. Several security researchers have shown that the app forwards browser history and an overview of running processes to a web server.

According to the original discoverer ‘ Privacy 1st ‘, the app sends the browser history, Appstore search history and list of running processes to a server that is supposedly in China. After Privacy 1st researchers from Digita Security and Malwarebytes confirmed the findings. In addition, they argue that the app is not particularly good at fighting adware.

According to the researchers, the app ranked first in the ‘most popular paid apps’ category. It was perhaps precisely that popularity that gave users the app permission to browse in the Home folder. The further steps the app takes are listed in a proof of concept video that the original discoverer put on YouTube.

Besides the spying, according to the researchers, the reviews for the app are probably also fake. They base that on the overly positive tone that the reviews have. The application was rather through life under the names AdBlock Master and Adware Medic, not to be confused with AdwareMedic, without space, from Malwarebytes. According to Patrick Wardle of Digita Security, the server to which the data is sent is currently offline.

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