Apple users have long enjoyed a more secure position in the digital world. Since Apple had a substantially smaller share of the personal computing market, hacks of its products had seemed less profitable. Not there haven’t been bugs, viruses, hacks, and other nasty elements that inflicted damage on Apple users; there just were not as many of them.
The iOS AppStore earned a reputation right out of the gate as a place that thoroughly scrutinized all apps before approving them for a spot in the store. In fact, the hurdles for acceptance are quite high and sometimes preclude legitimate developers from getting access to iOS users.
When Apple launched the Mac App Store, it earned the same level of trust just by association. Apple users assumed that the same rigorous standards used to vet iOS apps were applied to Mac apps. As recent developments now prove, that trust has been misplaced. It seems some Mac apps can be dangerous to your digital health.
According to an article by Digital Trends, a number of apps have been discovered covertly collecting user data and transmitting it to unidentified locations for unknown purposes. Although, the cynics out there no doubt believe the data is being sold and used for financial gain in some way.
The “poster child” example of this situation is the top rated (4th in paid apps) Adware Doctor. Users buy and install the app during which time, it asks for access to some “questionable functions,” according to ThreatPost. Given the trust users have in Apple, they permit access. With this access, the app captures browsing history from Firefox, Safari, and Chrome, creates a zip file, and sends it to an unidentified server in China.
The article goes on to point out that other apps have been caught stealing data without user consent or knowledge. It isn’t so much that the “breaches” occur, its that Apple is unbelievably slow to react. And that is the biggest issue from the article author’s perspective. Every software and hardware company experiences hacks and other issues. When they happen, it is the responsibility of the impacted company to act swiftly to correct the problem.
As a multiple OS household, my trust in Apple has taken a shot, and it's not likely any apps will hit the household Mac until Apple takes steps to restore my confidence. In the meantime, if you have Adware Doctor, consider removing it or changing its permissions.
The bad actors are everywhere, looking and listening for anything of even the smallest value. Unfortunately, you can’t be too safe, or too good-looking, or too rich for that matter. For the most secure communication solution available to people outside government, military, and intelligence agencies, check out our product page to see how we give people the freedom to communicate fearlessly.