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.
This included data from various browsers, separate files dedicated to recent Google searches, and a complete list of all apps installed on the system (including code-signatures, whether they were 64-bit compatible, and information about where they were downloaded from).
The final destination for the information was the trendmicro.com domain, the researcher told us, the same as the Open Any Files app. Cleaner and Dr. Antivirus collected browser history from Safari, Chrome, and Firefox, along with some system information.
The apps have been reported to Apple since at mid-August and are now removed from the Mac App Store.
However, Trend Micro strongly denied allegations that the apps had been "stealing user data" and sending it to a server in China. The user is not alerted to this data gathering.
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Apps distributed by a developer called "Trend Micro, Inc." on the App Store have been caught doing the same thing.
Apple has not commented on the removal of the Trend Micro apps that violated its privacy provisions, or why they were not discovered before despite testing.
But, according to what was published by the well-known security researcher Patrick Wardle, this application is accessing user data for which it did not warn that it would consult and who should have access.
Every app in this group-or should it be a "practice" since they're all doctors?-appeared to steal data in the same way. The company claims this was done for "security purposes", particularly to see if users had recently come into contact with adware or other threats.
Trend Micro is yet to explain the connection with shady apps from other developers and why the its products were removed from the App Store. Apple is making some privacy improvements in macOS Mojave which should prevent apps from stealing a user's browsing history but given how a company lays so much emphasis on the privacy and security of its users, this should not have happened in the first place.