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Sep 07, 2018  Former NSA staffer and notorious Mac hacker Patrick Wardle and security researcher @privacyis1st published research on Friday spotlighting Adware Doctor, a popular anti-adware application that is the fifth-most popular paid app in the Mac App Store. The app, the researchers write, steals browser histories and a handful of other private information that it should not be able to access. Sep 07, 2018  Adware Doctor, one of the most popular paid apps in the App Store for Mac, is essentially a spyware that secretly violates user privacy. Sep 11, 2018  Nonetheless, after all the chaos, Apple has finally pulled off Adware Doctor from the Mac App Store after a month from the initial reports. However, Privacy1st still points out to the other malicious app from the same developer ‘Komros’ is still present. Apple removed only the. Adware Doctor prevents malware and malicious files from infecting your Mac. It will be helpful if:. The system is slow and hangs. The web browser is hijacked and get redirected constantly. Popups are opening all the time with advertisement and scams. Primary Features. Anti-malware Discover and remove threats on your Mac. Remove Adware.

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Adware Doctor, one of the most popular paid apps in the App Store for Mac, is essentially a spyware that secretly violates user privacy.

Patrick Wardle, a former NSA hacker and founder of Mac security company Objective-See, revealed that the app violated Apple’s App Store policy by copying users’ browser history without consent and sending the data to a server in China.

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Adware Doctor promoted itself as an app that prevents malware and malicious files from infecting Macs, promising users to keep their Mac safe and get rid of the annoying pop-up ads.

In a blog post published on Friday, Wardle pointed out that like other security tools, Adware Doctor needed legitimate access to user files and directories to scan for malicious code.

He explained that once the user clicks “allow” to grant the app permission to the home directory, Adware Doctor will have access to all of the user’s files, enabling it to detect and clean adware, as well as collect and transfer any file. The app could then zip the collected data into an archive file and send this to a China-based domain.

Wardle said that collecting browser histories is a blatant violation of user privacy and beyond what is needed for the app to work as advertised.

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“At no point does Adware Doctor ask to exfiltrate your browser history. And its access to this very private data is clearly based on deceiving the user,” Wardle wrote on Objective-See’s blog.

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Apple prohibits apps that gather the kind of data that Adware Doctor collects without consent, and apps that do not meet the company’s strict security criteria are rejected.

Wardle said that he has notified Apple about the issue weeks prior to the publication of his blog post. The app was still available Friday morning, but the media coverage the security issue received apparently prompted Apple to pull Adware Doctor out of the app store. The company, however, remained mum on the issue.

Before Adware Doctor was taken down, it was the fourth-highest app in the Top Paid software programs of the Mac App Store, just behind Final Cut Pro, Magnet, and Logic Pro X. At $4.99, it was one of the number one paid utilities in the app store.

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Threatpost identified the developer of the software as Yongming Zhang. Website 9to5Mac said that the server that collects the data is now offline, but noted that this can still be turned back on.