RocketTab is spyware that is passing itself off as adware. It proxies your http and https connections to the internet and injects boatloads of garbage ads into legitimate websites. This is hijacking with a lousy excuse of making your search “better” by modify your top search results. It is buggy which causes errors in browsing and is dangerously similar to the Superfish software that Lenovo was placing on its PCs. This method of MITM attacking to push ADs must die a painful death.
I’m not sure I like the ad supported direction that media is going. I’m also not sure I like paying for things either… and yes I understand the contradiction. What I am sure about is we need to scale the ads and general invasion of privacy back a notch or three. This software is getting installed without users understanding of what is happening. It is spawned from greed and lousy, immoral business practices.
I pay for Netflix, I rent movies, I go to the theater, I watch adds and I am ok with the collection of my viewing history for the sites that I intend to go to BY the sites that I go to like YouTube and Hulu. But I have recently had a first hand experience with this garbage called RocketTab.
That Dirty, Disgusted Feeling
I went for a trip to visit my mom and hopped on her computer because I forgot to set my out-of-office responses. I opened an incognito window and logged into my personal email and then was about to log into my work email when I noticed something strange.
That is definitely not the issuer of my work’s public webmail certificate. Fiddler is actually perfectly legitimate web debugging software. So am I correct in thinking that these lazy sloth developers of crapware reused the Fiddler certificate?
Normally, if the HTTPS part is green I don’t bother checking the certificate. For some reason we were just talking at dinner about Lenovo and their missteps so I got curious and checked. I consider myself security consious and I have already sent my personal email information to a man-in-the-middle attacker. I had almost sent over my work credentials too.
I started looking at netstat. I saw that when I would open the browser it was connecting to a proxy in the staus bar. I took a look at resource monitor and saw a boatload of public internet address that this “Client.exe” was connected to. Netstat showed Client.exe has a port 49181 listener. Chrome is supposed to be connecting to the public internet, not Client.exe.
The first thing I did was go into “Manage Computer Certificates” and delete the two Fiddler certificates from the root store. This was successful in changing the green chrome lock to a proper red error.
The next thing I did was remove the proxy from lan settings.
After that I removed “RocketTab” from programs via the control panel. As soon as this was done all the “Client.exe” connections went to TIMER_WAIT status because they were reset. RocketTab was the culprit.
The last thing I did was change all my passwords.
This man-in-the-middle attack on client machines needs to stop. This is a sneaky activity that is not something normal users understand. They generally don’t want the junk applications that these type of ad services support anyway. Users have been socially engineered to install this stuff and it is not clear how to get rid of it or that it is even running in the background. It is a poor business model that needs destroyed.