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Open Any Files from Mac App Store review


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On the Spider-Mac Apple User Group (online community officially recognized by Apple) in Italy, I participated in a discussion about the app Open Any Files di Rocky Sand Studio Ltd. In the discussion it turned out that the app in question would no longer have the misbehavior of advertising other invalid software.
I would like to ask if with the released version updates (latest being 1.2.6 roughly 7 months ago), which according to the group manager would have eliminated the misbehavior the app in question should still be detected as OSX.FakeFileOpener.

@treed or other Malwarebytes for Mac staff members can you update me on this?

I state that I am not the developer of the app and I have no particular interest in removing the detection.

Thank you

Massimiliano

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The major problem with the Open Any File app is that it remaps over 2000 different file types to be intercepted by Open Any File instead of an app that you may have previously installed and specified to open such files. It does provide additional information about the file, most of which is of no interest to the user. It will usually recommend an app to download and use with the file, presumably with a kickback from that app developer for the recommendation. You may already have an app that you prefer to use, in which case it just requires an extra step to transfer the file to that app instead of what Open Any File recommends.

Originally it used to show a lot of advertising for sometime non-related things, which seems to be the feature which has been modified. Whether that is enough for Malwarebytes to no longer detect it or reclassify it as a PUP, will be up to the staff.

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  • Staff

As Al points out, these apps register as handlers for just about every existing file type. This is a form of illicit persistence, in that the app will open any time a document is opened that doesn't already have a default handler. This overrides the way macOS is designed to handle such cases, which means that these apps are attempting to divert the user away from Apple's guidance and towards whatever guidance they provide.

Further, such apps serve no real purpose. Some claim to be able to give you information about a file, but there are other ways to do that that do not require hijacking legit system functionality. For example, if you want to find out what kind of app will open a file, you can simply Google the extension. You can also use the file command in the Terminal if the extension is missing, invalid, or doesn't match the file type. If you want to see deeper information, there are apps or existing system functionality for those things as well.

The mere fact that an app co-opts how the system handles thousands file types in order to provide functionality that does not require that is sufficient for PUP detection at the very least.

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Yeah, in a world without the internet such a utility could have some use, but with the modern web such an app has little utility, at least in my opinion.  All such a tool is likely to do is try to steer their users towards their own and affiliated (i.e. partners who pay for promotion by the app) products/software for opening files.  It's basically like the old search hijackers like CoolWebSearch and MyWay search where the only results you would see were from sites that either paid them or they themselves operated (think of it like Google only showing you the ad results and results from their own sites/services and never showing you any useful/legitimate results).  It's a recipe for abuse.

Perhaps the concept is that they wanted to build an online database of files and the apps associated with them to provide that functionality to users, but given how rare it is these days for a system to either lack an installed application to open a common file type or to not be able to simply search the web and quickly find it, I don't see much value in it, especially when sites like FileInfo and FILExt already exist for that purpose.

But maybe that's just me.

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