Connect with us


Apple Removed Popular Security App from Its App Store for Violating Privacy Rules

Apple Remover Popular Security App from Its App Store for Violating Privacy Rules

Apple Removed Popular Security App from Its App Store for Violating Privacy Rules. Apple has removed a top anti-malware app from its App Store because it violated its privacy rules. Apple removed the very popular security app called Adware Doctor from the Mac App Store on Thursday (23Aug2018) because it was secretly gathering users’ browsing history and other sensitive information without their permission and then sending it to some server located in China.

The app, which sits fourth in in the Mac App Store’s top paid utility with a 4.8 star rating, is described as an adware protection and an anti-malware program that claims to be able to protect your Mac from malicious files and websites. 

Apple was first notified about a month ago by a security researcher called Privacy_1st who discovered that Adware Doctor was quietly uploading Mac users’ personal data, their list of running processes and App Store search history from Safari, Chrome and Firefox browsers. This is then stored in a password-protected zip file called “,” and uploaded to a remote hosting site named “” administered by someone located in China. 

To illustrate this process of secretly uploading data to a remote server professional called data exfiltration, Privacy_1st created a proof-of-concept video where he illustrated what happens when the program is executed. He then contacted Patrick Wardle of Digita Security and Objective-See as well as Thomas Reed of Malwarebytes to help him on the analysis of this program.

Wardle released a blog post where he corroborated Private_1st’s findings and gave a detailed analysis about how the program would secretly gather a user’s app data and browsing details and then transfer it to a remote host.

Reed, the developer of Malwarebytes, says the malware program has a dubious history and his company had been monitoring it since 2015.  

This app is one that we at Malwarеbytes have had our eye on since 2015,” Reed explained on Malwarebytes website

At that timе, we discovered an app on the App Storе named Adware Mеdic – a direct rip-off of my own highly-succеssful app of the same name, which became Malwarеbytes for Mac. We immеdiately began detecting this, and contactеd Apple about rеmoving the app. It was еventually removed, but was rеplaced soon after by an identical app named Adware Doctor.”

Unfortunatеly the App Store is rеally not the safе haven that Apple would likе people to think it is,

Reed states. 

We dеtect and track a numbеr of different suspicious apps in the App Storе. Some of thosе have been rеmoved quickly, and others have takеn as much as six months to get removed. It’s not outright malware, but this junk softwarе that’s stеaling your data is pretty bad.”

It is not known what the users’ app data are being used for, but it is obviously worrisome that an app can be secretly collecting information and uploading it to an unknown organization in another country. According to latest reports, the remote server in China is currently offline.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


UK Fines Facebook over Cambridge Analytica Scandal


UK Fines Facebook over Cambridge Analytica Scandal. The UK has hit Facebook a fine of $645,000 for the Cambridge Analytica Scandal. It was revealed earlier this year that they had harvested the personal data of millions of profiles without the user’s consent and used it for political purposes. It is estimated that 87 million users were affected.


The fine has been enforced by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and was calculated using a pre-GDPR formula for data breach fines. Using the UK’s old Data Protection Act to fine Facebook, rather than GDPR they can only give a maximum penalty of £500,000, which is equal to what the social media giant earns every 18 minutes.


GDPR rules dictate a maximum fine of 4% of annual global turnover, which would be $1.6 billion. Unfortunately the the GDPR regulation wasn’t in place when the Cambridge Analytica story broke, coming into force in May 2018.


The UK investigation concluded that Facebook’s APIs had been allowing developers access to users information without them providing proper consent, for a long period of time between 2007 and 2014. Once they realized this loophole existed and patched it up, they did nothing to investigate the data compromised or ensure it was deleted.


[FACEBOOK] should have known better and it should have done better… We considered these contraventions to be so serious we imposed the maximum penalty under the previous legislation. The fine would inevitably have been significantly higher under the GDPR

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said in a statement


Facebook has said they are reviewing the ICO’s findings and stated they “respectfully disagree” with some of the report, but admit they should have done more to protect users data. They also added that they found no evidence that British users profile information was shared with Cambridge Analytica.

Continue Reading


Libssh Security Flaw leaves thousands of servers vulnerable to hijacking

Libssh Security Flaw leaves thousands of servers vulnerable to hijacking

Libssh Security Flaw leaves thousands of servers vulnerable to hijacking. A security flaw in libssh leaves thousands, and potentially more, servers vulnerable to an attack. Libssh is a multiplatform C library which allows users to remotely execute programs, transfer files, manage public keys and use a secure and transparent tunnel.


The security flaw, discovered by Peter Winter-Smith from NCC Group, allows a hacker to bypass the authentication process on the servers and gain access to the system without having to enter a password.


An attacker can do this by sending the SSH server “SSH2_MSG_USERAUTH_SUCCESS” message instead of the “SSH2_MSG_USERAUTH_REQUEST” message that a server usually expects and which libssh uses as a sign that an authentication procedure needs to initiate.


The libssh system will treat this message to mean the authentication has already taken place and allow the attacker access to the server. The flaw (CVE-2018-10933) was released in January 2014 in release 0.6.0.


It’s estimated that the vulnerability currently affects at least 3000 servers, however this is based on a small search and the scale of the problem is not yet known. There were concerns that the popular version control site for developers to work collaboratively on projects, GitHub, was affected but they have released a statement denying this. Github claims the way they use libssh means they are not vulnerable to this exploit.


“We use a custom version of libssh; SSH2_MSG_USERAUTH_SUCCESS with the libssh server is not relied upon for pubkey-based auth, which is what we use the library for,”

a GitHub security official said on twitter


The security flaw is only on the server side, meaning users who have a libssh based SSH client installed on their computer will be safe from potential attackers looking to exploit this vulnerability.


While there are currently no public exploits available for the vulnerability, they are easy to put together so these are likely to pop up online in the coming days and weeks.

The team at libssh released versions 0.8.4 and 0.7.6 yesterday to handle this bug.


Continue Reading


Ad Clicker Disguised as a Google Photos App has been Hosted on Microsoft Store.

Ad Clicker Disguised as a Google Photos App has been Hosted on Microsoft Store

Ad Clicker Disguised as a Google Photos App has been Hosted on Microsoft Store.


A malicious app called “Album by Google Photos” was found to be hosted on the Microsoft store. The app was pretending to be part of Google Photos, but was in fact an ad clicker that generates hidden adverts within the Windows 10 Operating System.


The ad clicker app seemed credible to users because of its name, and also the fact it claimed to be created by Google LLC, Google’s actual Microsoft store account is Google Inc, but it looks unsuspecting to users. Microsoft came under some criticism for not realising the app was actually malicious software since the user reviews did highlight that the app was fake, with plenty of 1* reviews. One review states “ My paid Anti-malware solution detected several attempts to download malware by this app. Watch out”. The App was first released on the Microsoft store in May.


What did the application do?


The “Album by Google Photos” app is a Progressive Web Application (PWA), which acts as the front end for Google Photos and includes a legitimate login screen. Hidden in the app bundle is also an ad clicker which runs in the background and generates income for the app developers.


The app connects to ad URLS, and the ads were very similar to what users would see from typical adware, including tech support scams, random chrome extensions, fake flash and java installs and general low-quality sites.


Microsoft haven’t commented how this app managed to pass the Microsoft review process before ending up on the store.  This is somewhat concerning since it could mean other malicious apps of a similar nature have flown under the radar and are still infecting user’s computers. We are waiting for Microsoft to comment on the issue.

Continue Reading