App stores, especially Apple’s, have a reputation regarding security. That reputation took a hit over the weekend with the revelation that some of the most popular Mac App Store apps were gathering ng up user data and remotely uploading them to the developer’s servers.
The apps which appeared to originate from Trend Micro (in hindsight, scummy unaffiliated developers), included apps like Unarcvhers and Cleaner, intended to help users unzip files or clean up their desktop ended up gathering browsing data and installed app data, collating it into a zip file and uploading to a remote server. At no point was user consent requested, nor where users alerted that this happening behind the scenes.
After this came to light, Apple pulled the apps from the store. It is unknown how many users downloaded these ‘tools’ and had their data scraped over the lifetime of the apps.
A similar situation happened in the then Windows-Store with Torrenty, an app which would install adware once downloaded, It slipped past app store verification but was struck down once media reports brought it under scrutiny.
Despite cases like this, however, App Stores are safer than the wild internet as curtain — even one that is many times perfunctory — can still screen dangerous apps more often than not.