"tor-" can't be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software

Starting with the two most recent updates to Brave for MacOS, I have been receiving an error message that begins with the the text in the subject line above. In order to open Brave’s “Private Window with Tor”, I now have to go into a complicated Settings process to override the built-in security in MacOS Big Sur. I never had to do this before about 2 weeks ago. I have been using Big Sur from the day it was first released, and I always update to the latest release as soon as it is available. I have been using the Brave Private Window with TOR daily for more than a year. This error message is new, and it indicates that Apple no longer trusts a part of Brave that used to be trusted. As an individual, I can’t raise a bug report with Apple. As a developer of software that is made for Apple systems, Brave will have to be the party to negotiate the fix with Apple.

Steps to Reproduce (add as many as necessary): 1. 2. 3.

  1. Install MacOS Big Sur.
  2. Install Brave.
  3. Launch Brave.
  4. Open a “New Private Window with Tor”

Actual Result (gifs and screenshots are welcome!):
see screenshot

Expected result:
a new private window with TOR should open

Reproduces how often:
as many times as you wish, until you go into the MacOS Settings Panel / Security & Privacy / General, and follow the procedure in these Apple support Articles:

  1. https://support.apple.com/en-ca/guide/mac-help/mchleab3a043/mac
  2. https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT202491

Operating System and Brave Version(See the About Brave page in the main menu):
macOS 11.2.3 (20D91)
Version 1.22.70 Chromium: 89.0.4389.105 (Official Build) (x86_64)

Additional Information:


Doesn’t anybody from the Brave support team respond to bug reports like this?

What do I have to do to get the attention of someone who can fix this bug?

Hi @CowBayBob, there seems to be an influx of help requests right now, but I’m sure Support will get to you as soon as they can. Some places have come off a holiday weekend, too, and that may account for the delay (we’re still on holiday where I am, in fact).
Just bump your thread every day or two to keep it visible.

Thank you saereV.
To Brave Support: Can you please attend to my original troubleshooting request? Thanks.

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Hi @CowBayBob, you’re great to be so patient :slight_smile:

I’m sure you’ve not been overlooked, Support just has their hands full at the moment, and more than usual I think.

I’ll try requesting a few whom I’ve seen help others with macos issues - sadly, I’m Apple-ignorant. I’m sure one is bound to appear soon :smiley:

@Mattches @eljuno @megaspaz @steeven

Edit: I have tried seeking out answers since my last post, but my lack of experience with Apple-anything kind of stunts me and I don’t want to throw something out there I’m not close to 100% on.

Apologies for the late reply.
First, can you please ensure you’re running the latest build of the browser, which would be v1.22.71 at the time of writing this?

This could either be on Brave’s end, if it’s a component issue or on the OS end if it’s a permissions issue. Are you launching Brave normally (by opening the application in /Applications or using a dock shortcut) or are you opening via terminal?

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Yes, I’m using Brave v1.22.71.
I launch Brave from a dock icon.
I think I had to go through the procedure in the Apple support articles that I linked to when I upgraded from v1.22.70 to 1.22.71, but I can’t be sure.

Is there a way you can find out if the Private Window with Tor “extension” has the proper approvals from Apple? The Apple support articles describe (at some level, at least) what developers (in this case, the developers of the Tor extension) are required to do to so that Apple does not deny access on first use.

If you need any more from me, just ask. I will do what I can to help you folks to make Brave the most secure, private, and user-friendly browser available.

Thank you for the kind words.
You shouldn’t have to manually allow any permissions – or at least, most users (myself included) have not have to. After seeing this alert, if you go to Settings --> System Preferences --> Privacy & Security, do you see any prompts to allow access to Brave and/or tor?

Sorry for the delay.

I have not had the problem in my original post for the past few Brave updates.

My guess is that this happened to me after an update that included a change to the version of the Tor “extension” that is included in Brave. I don’t imagine that there are a lot of Brave users on Mac who use Tor windows every day like I do. I also suspect that since Tor has been around for a long time and is quite stable, the Tor code in the Mac version of Brave doesn’t get updated very often.

Another possibility is that I have a MacOS setting that calls for a stricter kind of security for downloaded software than most users do. But I often download and install new apps on my Mac and none of them have ever given me this warning.

I really did encounter the error in my original post, and I have learned how to get my Mac to launch the Tor browser, by following the procedures in Settings / System Preferences / Privacy & Security as described in the two Apple support articles that I referenced in my original post.

So, strictly speaking, I don’t need any further help, and if this ever happens to me again, I can override Apple’s security warning as I did this last time, If the Brave Tor code isn’t updated often, that won’t be much of an inconvenience.

But if Brave’s developers have the time and priority to attend to this, in conjunction with whoever it is who maintains this piece of code called “tor-” (or whatever future updates are called), it would improve the quality, integrity, and user-friendliness of this great and complex system that is called Brave.


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