7 versions of the RocketTab adware are known in 2021

Rocket Tab Removal Guide

What is Rocket Tab?

RocketTab powered by advertise – the latest version of the potentially unwanted program

Rocket Tab privacy policy

RocketTab ads powered by Advertise is yet another variant of virus which was first introduced in 2015 as a legitimate browser add-on. Nevertheless, security experts consider this extension to be a potentially unwanted program[1] as it usually enters users' machines without their permission. The success of the first campaign motivated its developers to create new versions, so RocketTab Powered by xt-2 version was soon released. Recently, that new form, of virus returned to the headlines.

Name Rocket Tab
Type Adware
Main issues caused An excessive amount of pop-up ads, in-text links, banner ads and similar content on user's favorite websites
Main dangers Ads are misleading; there is a chance to be redirected to a malicious website which is used to spread malware or swindle people's personal information
Additional problems System slow downs; changes in default search engine and homepage
Fixing the problem For Rocket Tab removal, use the steps below. To get rid of virus-related issues, try ReimageIntego.

This virus is closely related to the infamous DNS Unlocker virus and the following threats that have already been mentioned by 2spyware experts:

  • BrowserSafeGuard;
  • Counterflix;
  • YTD Toolbar by Spigot;
  • Ad Show;
  • AdProtect.

Cyber security experts found out that all these PUPs are frequently distributed in one pack, so there is no doubt that it should be treated with carefulness. Using a computer compromised by the adware can become a nightmare. Such programs promise to enhance users' browsing experience, but, in reality, they diminish it.

As soon as this virus hijacks the system, web browser may start to function in a suspicious way. Users complain about the generous amount of ads that appear on their screens at random times. Typically, these ads are marked with the label. Besides, as it becomes obvious after reading the following comment on the Internet, these previously mentioned ads can also push down the search results listed by the search provider:

I'm on a Chromebook using Chrome OS, haven't made any risky downloads nor extensions. Starting 2 weeks ago however, every time I search something on Google, the results are pushed down behind a wall of random websites with the top saying “RocketTab Powered By Advertise”.

In-depth analysis of this browser hijacker-type program revealed that it is capable of multiplying the amount of ads when the user browses through online shops or sites that sell various services. Besides, some users complain that these pesky parasites even manage to increase the number of ads served through legitimate sites like Spotify[2].

In general, the aim of Rocket Tab virus is to flood web browser's screen with third-party ads, so that you would click on them (with or without intention to do it), and visit sponsors' websites. Each unique visit generates pay-per-click revenue for authors of these objectionable ad-supported programs.

Although, technically, this particular application does not belong to malware category, you should do everything in your power to protect your PC against it. After attempting to download the virus to our test computer, we were redirected to hxxp://dx0f2a229w0d1.cloudfront.net/release/rt-installer-c.exe, and at this point we were stopped by Google Safe Browsing,[3] which notified us that site contains harmful programs.

In our opinion, such notification is a good reason to remove adware from the computer in case it has compromised it already. To get rid of this program for good, you should download ReimageIntego, update it and then run a full system scan.

RocketTab virus in search resultsVirus modifies search results and fills them with sponsored entries.

Virus keeps multiplying since 2015. New versions added each year

The adware is a relatively old ad-supported program that was discovered in 2015. Nevertheless, it keeps appearing with new alerts from different advertising agencies. Below you can find main variants of this PUP:

RocketTab powered by DNS Unlocker

It is another version of this PUP. An adware program called DNS Unlocker initiates them. This program promises to allow users to access online content (such as Netflix, BBC, Hulu, iPlayer and similar) without geo restrictions. However, users are then spammed with pop-ups, banners, deals, offers, coupons, in-text links and similar. The publishers of the software generate revenue for every click made, even if it is accidental (pay-per-click scheme).

RocketTab powered by Advertise

This version is distributed via software bundles or malicious websites. In some of the cases, it may be disguised under suspicious pop-up ads that open as a new tab URL. The most important thing that you have to remember is that adware is as dangerous as other versions and you should immediately remove it from the system.

RocketTab powered by Counterflix

An adware program modifies your DNS settings and spams your browser with advertisements. You may also encounter similar versions too, for example, “Ads by Counterflix,” “Powered by Counterflix,” and similar. They may appear anywhere on your screen and in various forms, including video, audio, pop-ups, flash files, etc.

RocketTab powered by Call Builder

THis adware has mostly been seen above users' search results. Typically, it shows up out of nowhere and redirects its victim to a sponsored site after being clicked. The biggest issue related to this type of ads is that you cannot be able of locating the virus on your computer. In this case, only a full system scan with updated anti-spyware can help.

RocketTab Powered by xt-2 virus

RocketTab Powered by xt-2 virus claims to be capable of improving users' search sessions. However, all what this browser add-on seeks to do is to earn the money from advertising. Just like its predecessor, this PUP causes unwanted ads on victim's computer. Next, it tries to change its settings and make its victim to use a related search engine. Do NOT agree with such offer! All you have to do is remove this version.

Find.rockettab.com

It is one of related search engines that have been actively spread with the help of this browser add-on. However, you can also download this browser hijacker together with free downloads, such as PDF creators, download managers or software converters. You should not use this search engine because it provides fake search results.

Search.rockettab.com

It has been spreading together with this suspicious browser add-on or its second version. What you need to remember is that, if it happens to hijack your system, you can find it on every web browser that you have on your computer. Do NOT ignore such unauthorised changes because you can run to additional problems caused by fake links in your search results.

RocketTab adware

Additional problems caused by this PUP

When on board, the main and the most visible issue caused by this virus is different pop-up ads. However, you can also find out that the virus added new home page and the default search engine to each of your web browsers. Our research shows that it seeks to convince victims to use the following search engines:

  • search.rockettab.com;
  • find.rockettab.com.

Keep in mind that results, which are provided by this search engine, might be filled with sponsored links pointing you to possibly dangerous sites. In most of the cases, websites that promote themselves in this way seek to increase their page rank or sales, but there is no guarantee that they won't trick you into installing suspicious software on your computer.

The clearest sign showing that this PUP is hiding in your computer is continuous redirects that will interrupt you during each of your search sessions. However, some part of people who have been affected by this hijacker have also warned us about browser slowdowns and unwanted pop-up ads that have also been interrupting them.

If you want to avoid them, you should carry out the removal without wasting your time. However, we want to notify you in advance and tell you that an unsuccessful attempt to remove this vague ad-supported program can lead to bad consequences. According to victims who already had a chance to encounter this program, it is hard to remove it because the software does not leave any of its components in Control Panel nor adds extensions to user's browsers.

Users also complain that resetting the browser works only a temporary fix to the problem. It means that the software might be using more advanced techniques when attacking computer users, and it might target Windows Registry. Making several modifications to the Registry can make your web browsers obey commands of a browser hijacker program, for example, initiate redirects and launch ads in new tabs or windows.

If you want to take things under control, you should remove the culprit from the system immediately, but please, resist the temptation to do it manually. Modifying Windows Registry keys wrongly can badly influence the computer's performance.

RocketTab powered by DNS Unlocker

Free programs – the most frequent distributor of Rocket Tab

You might be convinced to download components of this ad-supported software on your computer directly from the developer's website, because it presents it as a tool that ostensibly can enhance your search experience. However, in most of the cases this suspicious hijacker is distributed in a bundle with freeware[4] and shareware[5] and is reportedly spread along with DNS Unlocker adware.

Of course, you can avoid its infiltration, you just need to know some things. First of all, you should pay more attention to the installation process of the freeware (choosing a Custom or Advanced installation process helps). In addition, you should find the checkmark that agrees to install this add-on on the system. If you missed it, you can expect discovering this search engine instead of your start page and default search engine.

Besides, in order to make money from advertising, this potentially unwanted program may track your online activities. Keep your computer protected; use a reliable security tool, avoid downloading unfamiliar programs and eliminate such intruders if they manage to end up on your computer system. In order to remove it from there, follow the instructions we provided bellow.

RocketTab virus

Adware removal from the system can be related to several problems. Avoid them

Here are some signs that show your PC is infected with this potentially unwanted program (or even a few of them):

  • Your browser acts sluggish;
  • Your browser's homepage was changed;
  • You see annoying advertisements;

To get rid of the virus from there, follow the instructions placed down below. However, we must inform you about several things before you start the removal procedure. This PUP is one of the most aggressive spyware variants, and it adds certain Registry values to Windows OS. These should be removed with extra caution. In general, it is safer to clean your system using anti-malware tools than try to delete hazardous entries manually.

However, if you are willing to take care of manual removal, look for these names: BrowserSafeGuard, DNS Unlocker, Counterflix, YTD Toolbar by Spigot, Ad Show, AdProtect.

You may remove virus damage with a help of ReimageIntego. SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner and Malwarebytes are recommended to detect potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.

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Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Reimage, try running SpyHunter 5.
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Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.

Getting rid of Rocket Tab. Follow these steps

Uninstall from Windows

To eliminate Rocket Tab virus from Windows OS, use instructions provided below. Remove all suspicious programs from your PC, including these names:

  • DNS Unlocker;
  • YTD Toolbar by Spigot.

Uninstalling RocketTab

Do not forget to reset your web browsers and remove similarly titled add-ons or extensions from them! If you cannot solve the problem using these instructions, you need to find and delete files stored in these folders: C:\Program Files (x86)\Search Extensions (delete certmanager.exe, client.exe, config.data, makecert.exe and TrustedRoot.cer, as well as Resources directory); In C:\windows\systems32\tasks folder, delete files associated with the described virus (the filenames should contain the word “rock.”)

Instructions for Windows 10/8  machines:

  1. Enter Control Panel into Windows search box and hit Enter or click on the search result.
  2. Under Programs, select Uninstall a program. Uninstall from Windows 1
  3. From the list, find the entry of the suspicious program.
  4. Right-click on the application and select Uninstall.
  5. If User Account Control shows up, click Yes.
  6. Wait till uninstallation process is complete and click OK. Uninstall from Windows 2

If you are Windows 7/XP user, proceed with the following instructions:

  1. Click on Windows Start > Control Panel located on the right pane (if you are Windows XP user, click on Add/Remove Programs).
  2. In Control Panel, select Programs > Uninstall a program. Uninstall from Windows 7/XP
  3. Pick the unwanted application by clicking on it once.
  4. At the top, click Uninstall/Change.
  5. In the confirmation prompt, pick Yes.
  6. Click OK once the removal process is finished.

Delete from macOS

To fix Mac OS X, remove apps that have such or similar names:

  • DNS Unlocker;
  • YTD Toolbar by Spigot;

Clean your browsers from related extensions and revert modified homepage, new tab page and search engine settings then.

Remove items from Applications folder:

  1. From the menu bar, select Go > Applications.
  2. In the Applications folder, look for all related entries.
  3. Click on the app and drag it to Trash (or right-click and pick Move to Trash) Uninstall from Mac 1

To fully remove an unwanted app, you need to access Application Support, LaunchAgents, and LaunchDaemons folders and delete relevant files:

  1. Select Go > Go to Folder.
  2. Enter /Library/Application Support and click Go or press Enter.
  3. In the Application Support folder, look for any dubious entries and then delete them.
  4. Now enter /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchDaemons folders the same way and terminate all the related .plist files. Uninstall from Mac 2

Remove from Microsoft Edge

Delete unwanted extensions from MS Edge:

  1. Select Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and pick Extensions.
  2. From the list, pick the extension and click on the Gear icon.
  3. Click on Uninstall at the bottom. Remove extensions from Edge

Clear cookies and other browser data:

  1. Click on the Menu (three horizontal dots at the top-right of the browser window) and select Privacy & security.
  2. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  3. Select everything (apart from passwords, although you might want to include Media licenses as well, if applicable) and click on Clear. Clear Edge browsing data

Restore new tab and homepage settings:

  1. Click the menu icon and choose Settings.
  2. Then find On startup section.
  3. Click Disable if you found any suspicious domain.

Reset MS Edge if the above steps did not work:

  1. Press on Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
  2. Click on More details arrow at the bottom of the window.
  3. Select Details tab.
  4. Now scroll down and locate every entry with Microsoft Edge name in it. Right-click on each of them and select End Task to stop MS Edge from running. Reset MS Edge

If this solution failed to help you, you need to use an advanced Edge reset method. Note that you need to backup your data before proceeding.

  1. Find the following folder on your computer: C:\\Users\\%username%\\AppData\\Local\\Packages\\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe.
  2. Press Ctrl + A on your keyboard to select all folders.
  3. Right-click on them and pick Delete Advanced MS Edge reset 1
  4. Now right-click on the Start button and pick Windows PowerShell (Admin).
  5. When the new window opens, copy and paste the following command, and then press Enter:

    Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers -Name Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\\AppXManifest.xml” -Verbose Advanced MS Edge reset 2

Instructions for Chromium-based Edge

Delete extensions from MS Edge (Chromium):

  1. Open Edge and click select Settings > Extensions.
  2. Delete unwanted extensions by clicking Remove. Remove extensions from Chromium Edge

Clear cache and site data:

  1. Click on Menu and go to Settings.
  2. Select Privacy and services.
  3. Under Clear browsing data, pick Choose what to clear.
  4. Under Time range, pick All time.
  5. Select Clear now. Clear browser data from Chroum Edge

Reset Chromium-based MS Edge:

  1. Click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. On the left side, pick Reset settings.
  3. Select Restore settings to their default values.
  4. Confirm with Reset. Reset Chromium Edge

Remove from Mozilla Firefox (FF)

To remove from Firefox, you should get rid of these extensions: YTD Toolbar by Spigot, DNS Unlocker, BrowserSafeGuard and, of course, the extension named identically as the hijacker described in this post. 

Remove dangerous extensions:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click on the Menu (three horizontal lines at the top-right of the window).
  2. Select Add-ons.
  3. In here, select unwanted plugin and click Remove. Remove extensions from Firefox

Reset the homepage:

  1. Click three horizontal lines at the top right corner to open the menu.
  2. Choose Options.
  3. Under Home options, enter your preferred site that will open every time you newly open the Mozilla Firefox.

Clear cookies and site data:

  1. Click Menu and pick Options.
  2. Go to Privacy & Security section.
  3. Scroll down to locate Cookies and Site Data.
  4. Click on Clear Data…
  5. Select Cookies and Site Data, as well as Cached Web Content and press Clear. Clear cookies and site data from Firefox

Reset Mozilla Firefox

If clearing the browser as explained above did not help, reset Mozilla Firefox:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser and click the Menu.
  2. Go to Help and then choose Troubleshooting Information. Reset Firefox 1
  3. Under Give Firefox a tune up section, click on Refresh Firefox…
  4. Once the pop-up shows up, confirm the action by pressing on Refresh Firefox. Reset Firefox 2

Remove from Google Chrome

Delete adware, YTD Toolbar by Spigot, BrowserSafeGuard and DNS Unlocker extensions from Chrome to stop the activity of this browser hijacker.

Delete malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

  1. Open Google Chrome, click on the Menu (three vertical dots at the top-right corner) and select More tools > Extensions.
  2. In the newly opened window, you will see all the installed extensions. Uninstall all the suspicious plugins that might be related to the unwanted program by clicking Remove. Remove extensions from Chrome

Clear cache and web data from Chrome:

  1. Click on Menu and pick Settings.
  2. Under Privacy and security, select Clear browsing data.
  3. Select Browsing history, Cookies and other site data, as well as Cached images and files.
  4. Click Clear data. Clear cache and web data from Chrome

Change your homepage:

  1. Click menu and choose Settings.
  2. Look for a suspicious site in the On startup section.
  3. Click on Open a specific or set of pages and click on three dots to find the Remove option.

Reset Google Chrome:

If the previous methods did not help you, reset Google Chrome to eliminate all the unwanted components:

  1. Click on Menu and select Settings.
  2. In the Settings, scroll down and click Advanced.
  3. Scroll down and locate Reset and clean up section.
  4. Now click Restore settings to their original defaults.
  5. Confirm with Reset settings. Reset Chrome 2

Delete from Safari

Remove unwanted extensions from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. In the new window, pick Extensions.
  3. Select the unwanted extension and select Uninstall. Remove extensions from Safari

Clear cookies and other website data from Safari:

  1. Click Safari > Clear History…
  2. From the drop-down menu under Clear, pick all history.
  3. Confirm with Clear History. Clear cookies and website data from Safari

Reset Safari if the above-mentioned steps did not help you:

  1. Click Safari > Preferences…
  2. Go to Advanced tab.
  3. Tick the Show Develop menu in menu bar.
  4. From the menu bar, click Develop, and then select Empty Caches. Reset Safari

After uninstalling this potentially unwanted program (PUP) and fixing each of your web browsers, we recommend you to scan your PC system with a reputable anti-spyware. This will help you to get rid of Rocket Tab registry traces and will also identify related parasites or possible malware infections on your computer. For that you can use our top-rated malware remover: ReimageIntego, SpyHunter 5Combo Cleaner or Malwarebytes.

How to prevent from getting browser hijacker

Stream videos without limitations, no matter where you are

There are multiple parties that could find out almost anything about you by checking your online activity. While this is highly unlikely, advertisers and tech companies are constantly tracking you online. The first step to privacy should be a secure browser that focuses on tracker reduction to a minimum.

Even if you employ a secure browser, you will not be able to access websites that are restricted due to local government laws or other reasons. In other words, you may not be able to stream Disney+ or US-based Netflix in some countries. To bypass these restrictions, you can employ a powerful Private Internet Access VPN, which provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, not slowing you down in the process.

Data backups are important – recover your lost files

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to personal data. Once it is executed on a machine, it launches a sophisticated encryption algorithm that locks all your files, although it does not destroy them. The most common misconception is that anti-malware software can return files to their previous states. This is not true, however, and data remains locked after the malicious payload is deleted.

While regular data backups are the only secure method to recover your files after a ransomware attack, tools such as Data Recovery Pro can also be effective and restore at least some of your lost data.

About the author
Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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References
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