Malicious Tor Browser Persists in iOS App Store for Months Despite Protests

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Developers working on the Tor anonymity service asked Apple months ago to remove a malicious Tor browser that poses a threat to its users from the App Store (via Ars Technica). After receiving no action through official channels, Tor project members now are using more public means to get this app removed.

    A report ticket published three months ago by volunteer Phobos details the issue with rogue app.
    Tor officials confirmed they filed a complaint with Apple in December 2013 and received a response that the app developer was allowed to defend his app from these accusations.

    Several followup emails were sent to Apple, but there was no response from the Cupertino company. Twelve weeks later and the app remains in the App Store, prompting the team to step up their campaign to get the app removed.
    Apple's App Store is known for being a walled garden where apps are vetted before they are allowed entry into the App Store. The process is not flawless, though, with researchers from Georgia Tech last year showing how an innocuous app with hidden malware-type code could slip through Apple's app approval system.

    Once a malicious app is identified in the App Store, Apple has in the past taken steps to remove the app, but the exact process by which an app is removed is not known. In an earlier example, Apple quickly pulled a Russian SMS app that quietly scraped address book contacts and sent them to the developer's server.

    Update 8:26 PM: Tor Browser has been removed from the App Store.

    Article Link: Malicious Tor Browser Persists in iOS App Store for Months Despite Protests
  2. macrumors 68030


    Aug 10, 2010
    macrumors apparently
    self immolations should do the trick
  3. ouimetnick, Mar 20, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014

    macrumors 68020


    Aug 28, 2008
    Beverly, Massachusetts
    I'm surprised the NSA doesn't force Apple to remove and ban those type of applications.
  4. macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2009
    I am unable to find out what is so malicious about this fake Tor app. I don't see evidence of malware. All I see is people wanting this fake Tor app to be removed because the name and logo are the same.

    In other words, the original complaint "Tor Browser in the Apple App Store is fake. It's full of adware and spyware. Two users have called to complain. We should have it removed." appears to be false accusations.

    Since no evidence has been presented, Apple of course will not remove the app. "Two users have called to complain" is not evidence.
  5. macrumors 6502

    Feb 27, 2014
    Maybe they're leaving it up there to poison the name "Tor" so people think it's generally unsafe.
  6. macrumors 68040

    Feb 2, 2008
    Perhaps it's not so smart to license the logo and trademark under creative commons if you want to control it.
  7. macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2013
    IIRC the license requires you attribute their work and not claim or imply that you represent them in any way, making this somewhat of a null point.
  8. macrumors 68040

    Feb 2, 2008
    You don't need to recall, it's easy enough to google.

    I'm no lawyer, but the terms surrounding it apart from attribution seems pretty loose. On the other hand, allowing people to use your trademark seems like pretty obvious attack vector for a project like Tor, where trust is likely considered important. So why not use a strict license, or not allow sharing of the trademark at all. That way you would know if Tor=Tor so to speak.
  9. macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2013
    Did you read the license or just the summary? Because it seems pretty straight-forward (at least to me) with what is and isn't allowable under the license.

  10. macrumors 68040

    Feb 2, 2008
    Only the summary actually, which states nothing but the attribution as a condition. Which imho wouldn't make any difference to determine if it was real or not. Then they should have no problem having it removed. Still don't get the point of the license in this case, what's the purpose of letting someone except the official project use it. And how could it ever be used without even implicitly imply connection with the project?
  11. macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2013
    Derivative works. I can't imagine there would be much of a need for The Tor Project to make, for instance, a version for use on Symbian OS, but if someone was motivated enough they probably wouldn't mind allowing use of the terms or logo as long as there isn't any confusion as to who it comes from.

    A made up example of something they would have no problem with:

    To put it another way, they would gain nothing from getting the following removed:

    While in this case, there are several places implying it is part of the official project, and even links to as the official place to go for support:

  12. macrumors 68040

    Feb 2, 2008
    Derivative works of the logo and trademark is pretty much pointless in this case and shows that priorities are wrong, what is this, an art project? Most likely the license got added without much thinking behind it, because it only applies to the trademark and logo.

    The actual code is GNU licensed, it's stricter, it's where derivative work has any value in this case.

    They wouldn't need to because the Tor project is free software using the GNU license. We are talking strictly about the trademark and logo. How can you use an official logotype and trademark without even implicitly imply any connection with the project? It's pretty much the sole purpose of a logotype and trademark. My point is it leaves open an uneccessary wiggle room for what's implied and so on, when they could simply keep the trademark and logo for the official project only. That way there is never any doubt that the logo and trademark means the official project.
  13. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 12, 2010
    For tor browsers. I think the onion browser app is the best one?
  14. macrumors 6502

    Jun 20, 2013
    United States
    We don't need these third-party browsers in the first place.

    They're not needed, practically bad in every way possible, and can prevent things like this from happening.

    Time to put your foot down, Apple. There's no way people use third-party browsers in favor of Safari, or Google Chrome.

    And if Apple wasn't so picky, they could have allowed Flash and Java on iOS, something that would destroy these eyesores right in their place.
  15. macrumors P6

    Oct 17, 2011
    Flash and Java in the browser isn't safe or all that optimized on a full computer, you certainly don't want that in a mobile browser.

    As for third party browsers, well it seems Google Chrome is one that even you mentioned is fine, and there are some others that people use for one reason or another.
  16. macrumors 6502

    Jun 20, 2013
    United States
    I only included Java and Flash because the internet still doesn't want to rid them.

    I want to say people don't still use them, but that is far from the case. It's dying out, sure. But it won't be gone until at least 2016 if humans still retain the same stupidity level.
  17. macrumors 6502a


    Mar 15, 2012
    Traveling @ Warp Speed ...... USA
    No longer at App Store. Goodbye...
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 12, 2010
    Imo atomic, icab & mercury are all better than safari and chrome. Add browser changer and nitrous jailbreak tweaks and safari is the worst browser of the 4 mentioned.
  19. macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    could be why Apple didn't remove it at first. .
  20. macrumors 6502

    Dec 6, 2008
    Space: The Final Frontier
    I wish atomic browser would get an update.
  21. macrumors 6502

    Jul 13, 2011
    iCab still exists? Thought that disappeared years ago? Wow, where have I been? ::confused:

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