Apple has distributed malware through its AppStore, again.

Just one example: The Price of Free Software: Trend Micro’s apps exfiltrate your browser history and Mac App Store apps are stealing user data

The official response from Apple was to wait quite a bit –– in effect so that more user data could be stolen. Then the reaction was to

Update: Apple removed most of the TrendMicro apps including the fake developer account they had to promote the Open Any Files, which was reported as malware by @thomasareed from @Malwarebytes . Kudos to @Apple for fast action.

I just got wind of that now and checked our Macs. Some had some of those PUPAs installed. They were still active –– but indeed no longer available from the store.

In case you missed the sarcasm in the first quote here:

#TredMicro was shady since December. A user called PeterNopSled reported to @Malwarebytes that an top AppStore app is exfiltrating user data

Looking at my analog calendar it tells me we have September by now.

Apple claims that:

The safest place to download apps for your Mac is the Mac App Store. Apple reviews each app before it’s accepted by the store, and if there’s ever a problem with an app, Apple can quickly remove it from the store.

Well, "safest" except when it's not.
And the above Apple quote only means that new 'infections' will not occur, once Apple does take action.

How does anyone respond to that in terms of actions to take? For now and in this case it's 'just delete the App, hmhm'.

But for that
you already have to know
that something fishy is going on behind the scenes.

It seems Apple does not communicate anything about this.

Therefore the question is:

How do you get notified for these kind of AppStore infringements?

The Apple mailing list for security announcements is silent on that issue.

PG-13: Shit happens, we all know that. But how to clean it up and keep it from happening again –– more important: how to respond –– either at all or much more quickly to it?
Where do we have to watch for news on this to catch some smaller malware incidents? Not just those big fish that make big news because some very few Apps made the top lists of the AppStore?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – bmike Sep 11 '18 at 21:19

But how do you get notified for these kind of AppStore infringements?

There is no single source of information to track these problems. The best approach today is to keep abreast of the news and react as stories are published and confirmed.

Only Apple can ultimately fix this problem; they alone operate the Mac App Store.

Tell Apple

Ensure Apple knows you care about this problem and want a solution. Tell Apple directly through feedback and the Mac App Store contact pages.

Ask for a Refund

Ask Apple for a refund for all and any software that has been found to be violating the terms of sale. Apple sold you the software, not the developer. Apple is responsible for refunds.

Mac App Store and Incentives Not to Talk

The second option in your comment is closest to practical reality:

AppStore installs will sell you down the river, Apple will never tell you,and no one is able or allowed to tell you either, tough luck

There are three parties involved. You, Apple, and the developer. Two of the three are unlikely to acknowledge your concerns:

  • Apple is unlikely to publicly talk about malware that got into the App Store.
  • Developers are unlikely to talk about the malware they got into the App Store.

App store markets currently rely on researchers and curious users discovering problems and raising awareness.

  • Thx. But this is appropriate for when I already know there is something fishy. Is there not even a small selection – if not the one source – to watch out for so that we can learn that there is something fishy just discovered? – LangLangC Sep 11 '18 at 11:42
  • 1
    You are right. There is no single source; I will note this. – Graham Miln Sep 11 '18 at 11:43
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    Refunds stating when an app clearly misrepresents what it does seems like a very good signal to let Apple that the developer is shady and the app review process missed a chance to educate and protect you. – bmike Sep 11 '18 at 22:45

You need to treat software from the App Store equally to any other third party software, you might want to install on your Mac.

Yes, Apple did some kind of light testing of the apps - but they aren't handing out guarantees that no malware or errors passes through their process. This is not at all different to how App Store on other platforms work.

If you discover a problem with the software, notify the maker of the software. If the problem is malicious in nature, inform Apple through the Mac App Store contact:


Don't expect a fast turn-around or immediate take-down of apps from here. You need to proceed exactly like with any other third-party software - and manually uninstall/remove the offending software from your Mac.

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