Micromat, Publishing Your Mac’s Serial Number

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 13th, 2006, 01:00
Category: Uncategorized

iconmagg5.gifEditor’s Note: This article was originally run without the long version after the jump due to a technical error. This is the entire article and the PowerPage regrets the error. – Ed.
Did you know that when you install TechToolPro 4 it is constantly running an anti-piracy service? Did you know that it was sending your serial number out to every other Mac on your network? I didn’t think so.
Micromat slipped some broad and sweeping anti-piracy measures into a TechToolPro update awhile back. TechToolProtection, the daemon that constantly runs on every Mac installed with TechToolPro, does much more than “protect” your Mac, as its name implies.
TechToolProtection starts a Bonjour service that is constantly broadcasting critical pieces of information about your Mac to other systems… information that anyone on a network subnet can read.
But, that’s the least of your worries. It also broadcasts your Mac’s serial number. This is something that even Microsoft refuses to do with their most stringent anti-piracy measures. Even Microsoft agrees that publishing your machine’s serial number can place it at-risk for security attacks, as well as accessing your personal information.
Gaining your Mac’s serial number can be used for pretexting with Apple, accessing insurance information about you, and places your identity at risk. Not to mention that should there be a recall on your Mac, anyone can claim parts for your Mac, and pocket the cash selling them.
There are known knows, and there are known unknowns about TTP’s anti-piracy measures. We don’t know what else is being broadcast, but Micromat has indicated to myself and others that it is not encrypted.
Finally, we do know that there is no need for this. Net Monitor uses the same Bonjour method of sniffing out piracy, and does not broadcast your Mac’s serial number. Also, it does not run 24/7, but only when the app itself is running, minimizing the chances of your serial number being pirated by someone else.
Want to see this in action? Download Bonjour Browser (don’t bother opening TechToolPro). If you see “_ttp4daemon.tcp.” running, congratulations, anyone can rip off info about you and your Mac.
Want to put a stop to this? Post in Micromat’s forum or send a note to them letting them know you care about your privacy. Or, don’t, and let someone more nefarious take care of you. A temporary workaround is barring TechToolProtection from starting up, or, close it after startup (and every startup) from Activity Monitor.
I approached Micromat with this issue in-depth, and their response was “you’re the only one complaining”. I tried to respond to them that this was simply because nobody knew about it yet… but that did not go too well. I also want to add that I own and use TechTool Pro on a weekly basis, and endorse its ability to repair and fix your sick Mac. I just wish Micromat would be as ardent about your privacy and system resources as they are about their feature set.
Contributed By: Christopher Price – PCS Intel


iconmagg5.gifDid you know that when you install TechToolPro 4 it is constantly running an anti-piracy service? Did you know that it was sending your serial number out to every other Mac on your network? I didn’t think so.
Micromat slipped some broad and sweeping anti-piracy measures into a TechToolPro update awhile back. TechToolProtection, the daemon that constantly runs on every Mac installed with TechToolPro, does much more than “protect” your Mac, as its name implies.
TechToolProtection starts a Bonjour service that is constantly broadcasting critical pieces of information about your Mac to other systems… information that anyone on a network subnet can read.
But, that’s the least of your worries. It also broadcasts your Mac’s serial number. This is something that even Microsoft refuses to do with their most stringent anti-piracy measures. Even Microsoft agrees that publishing your machine’s serial number can place it at-risk for security attacks, as well as accessing your personal information.
Gaining your Mac’s serial number can be used for pretexting with Apple, accessing insurance information about you, and places your identity at risk. Not to mention that should there be a recall on your Mac, anyone can claim parts for your Mac, and pocket the cash selling them.
There are known knows, and there are known unknowns about TTP’s anti-piracy measures. We don’t know what else is being broadcast, but Micromat has indicated to myself and others that it is not encrypted.
Finally, we do know that there is no need for this. Net Monitor uses the same Bonjour method of sniffing out piracy, and does not broadcast your Mac’s serial number. Also, it does not run 24/7, but only when the app itself is running, minimizing the chances of your serial number being pirated by someone else.
Want to see this in action? Download Bonjour Browser (don’t bother opening TechToolPro). If you see “_ttp4daemon.tcp.” running, congratulations, anyone can rip off info about you and your Mac.
Want to put a stop to this? Post in Micromat’s forum or send a note to them letting them know you care about your privacy. Or, don’t, and let someone more nefarious take care of you. A temporary workaround is barring TechToolProtection from starting up, or, close it after startup (and every startup) from Activity Monitor.
I approached Micromat with this issue in-depth, and their response was “you’re the only one complaining”. I tried to respond to them that this was simply because nobody knew about it yet… but that did not go too well. I also want to add that I own and use TechTool Pro on a weekly basis, and endorse its ability to repair and fix your sick Mac. I just wish Micromat would be as ardent about your privacy and system resources as they are about their feature set.
Contributed By: Christopher Price – PCS Intel

Recent Posts

Comments are closed.