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Mac users: delete these apps – they’re riddled with malware

Thought Macs were safe from malware? Think again.

Apple app store logo with blurred background

You might think your Mac is immune from malware or computer viruses, but you’d be wrong. Your Mac can still get malicious apps, even from official sources.

A security researcher recently released their own experience with this, with seven malware-containing apps in the Mac App Store.

Alex Kleber, aka Privacy 1st, noticed a handful of apps in the macOS App Store that hid their true intentions. An encrypted database lurked inside, ready to activate once the app passed the App Store certification checks.

He found links between all seven apps, making him believe that they were all created by the same group, based in China. If you have any of these apps installed, delete them immediately.

If you have one of these malware-containing apps installed on your Mac – delete it

Here are the seven apps found with malicious code and their developer. It seems Apple has deleted all of the apps from the App Store.

If you were one of the thousands of downloaders, you should delete them from your device:

  • PDF Reader for Adobe PDF Files (Sunnet Technology Inc.)
  • Word Writer Pro (Netozo Limited)
  • Screen Recorder (Safeharbor Technology L Ltd.)
  • Webcam Expert (Wildfire Technology Inc.)
  • Streaming Browser Video Player (Boulevard Technology Ltd.)
  • PDF Editor for Adobe Files (Polarnet Limited)
  • PDF Reader (Xu Lu)

Some of these apps were ranking highly in their categories. PDF Reader for Adobe PDF Files by Sunnet Technology Inc. was ranked number 1 in the Education category.

All seven apps had the same type of malware inside, and all had four- or five-star reviews that were all fake.

Now, we don’t expect everyone to be able to deconstruct apps in this way. There are some things you can do to stay safe on your Mac so you don’t get similar malware, however.

Protect yourself and your Mac

Apple macbook pro 13 m2 on purple background
Image: KnowTechie

On unknown apps, read the one-star reviews. Those are likely to be from real people, and not faked. On top of that, check the app’s privacy policy pages for anything odd.

Kleber found that all seven were using free Google Sites for hosting, another red flag. Legitimate developers are more likely to have their own domain.

It’s hard to know who or what to trust online, even on a platform like the App Store which has tight controls over what is uploaded. Sticking to well-known apps from trusted publishers might be one of the only ways to stay safe.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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