Thomas Reed, the developer of Malwarebytes for Mac, chimed in on the thread confirming the unethical behavior and the connection between the two apps. The process of stealing user data starts after unzipping the app and the user seeing an offer to "Quick Clean Junk Files".
The company notes that it disclosed this data collection in its end-user license agreements and that browser history data was uploaded to a U.S. server hosted by Amazon Web Services and managed by Trend Micro.
"From a security and privacy point of view, one of the main benefits of installing applications from the official Mac App Store is that such applications are sandboxed", Wardle blogged.
According to Patrick Wardle of Objective-See, who undertook an investigation of the application, Adware Doctor is a capital piece of spyware - and it took Apple more than a month to remove the app from the Mac Store even once Wardle had turned over his findings.
WHEN YOU DOWNLOAD SECURITY APPS you don't generally expect them to be spying on you - especially when they come from the Mac App Store.
Apps distributed by a developer called "Trend Micro, Inc." on the App Store have been caught doing the same thing.
'Trend Micro is aware of a recent scrutiny of some of our consumer applications, including our Dr.
We reached out to Trend Micro for a statement on the matter but received no reply at the time of publishing.
"This was a one-time data collection, done for security purposes (to analyze whether a user had recently encountered adware or other threats, and thus to improve the product & service)", Trend Micro explains, adding that the data was uploaded to a server in the USA on Amazon Web Services, not in China. It is unknown how many users downloaded these "tools" and had their data scraped over the lifetime of the apps.
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.
While Adware Doctor does indeed contain a malware detection database, when you actually tell it to clean your system, it gets busy... exfiltrating all of your data.