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Wednesday, 12 September 2018 08:45

Apple throws out Trend Micro apps for uploading user data Featured

Apple throws out Trend Micro apps for uploading user data Pixabay

Apple has removed a number of anti-malware apps, all made by cyber-security vendor Trend Micro, from its App Store after they were found to be export users' browser histories.

The Japanese multinational firm initially said these charges were "absolutely false", but admitted in the same statement that a number of apps were indeed uploading browser histories as Apple had claimed.

Later it decided that an apology was in order and said: "We apologise to our community for concern they might have felt and can reassure all that their data is safe and at no point was compromised.

"We have taken action and have three updates to share with all of you. First, we have completed the removal of browser collection features across our consumer products in question.

"Second, we have permanently dumped all legacy logs, which were stored on US-based AWS servers. This includes the one-time 24 hour log of browser history held for three months and permitted by users upon install.

"Third, we believe we identified a core issue which is humbly the result of the use of common code libraries. We have learned that browser collection functionality was designed in common across a few of our applications and then deployed the same way for both security-oriented as well as the non-security oriented apps such as the ones in discussion. This has been corrected."

The earlier statement said: "Dr Cleaner, Dr Cleaner Pro, Dr Antivirus, Dr Unarchiver, Dr Battery, and Duplicate Finder collected and uploaded a small snapshot of the browser history on a one-time basis, covering the 24 hours prior to installation."

The browser histories were uploaded to a server in the US, hosted by Amazon Web Services, and managed by Trend Micro.

Trend Micro attempted to justify the collection of browser histories by saying this was disclosed in the end-user licence agreements for the apps in question. But in the later apology there was no justification of this sort offered.

There is no sign yet that Apple has decided to reinstate the apps in question in the Mac App Store.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.



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