vocabla popup in os x 10.8.5

blakdragon

Registered
I have recently started to notice an annoying application popup at the top left corner of my screen from an app I don't own called vocabla. I have never heard of it before it started popping up on my desktop. Is this some sort of advertising? Is it expected behavior for 10.8.5? If this is advertising from the mac app store, can I turn it off? If not, is it an indication of some sort of malware or security breach? This is a work laptop and I can't really have any data leaks, even for something as seemingly inconsequential as an ad for an app I don't want. Any insight or instruction would be much appreciated.
Screenshot:
Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 9.24.09 AM.png
 

DeltaMac

Tech
Vocabla (after a quick search) is an app that is used for adding new English words to a non-English speaker's vocabulary.
I think it is targeted to educational use in a language learning lab, etc. - and also has a nice-looking mobile app for iPhone or Android phones.
Do you see that popup only when you launch your internet browser?
You get the popup then, because using Vocabla requires you to sign in to Vocabla to use it.
It's quick and easy to add to Google Chrome browser - so if you use Chrome as your browser, you could check in Chrome, then the Window menu, and click on Extensions, which will show you the installed extensions.
If Vocabla appears in that list, you can click on the trash icon to remove that extension from your Chrome browser.
 

blakdragon

Registered
I know what the app is. I also know I've never used, downloaded, or added it to chrome, firefox, etc. I always have the internet open at work, so I don't know if that's the cause. Why would anything loaded in the browser have permissions to throw OS notifications? The timing is very intermittent for when it shows up (to the best of my knowledge, I haven't been paying very much attention to it) and doesn't appear to have anything to do with browsing habits or visiting a particular page. Its annoying as shit, but my main concern right now isn't my comfort, its figuring out what is making these notifications and remove it if it is or has the capacity to be malicious. I don't like when things I don't expect happen on my laptop, especially when they offer no obvious path to trace them to their source.
 

blakdragon

Registered
ran a find / | grep -i vocabla just as a sanity check, not really expecting to find anything, and got 2 hits:
/Users/<myUsername>/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default/Local Storage/http_vocabla.com_0.localstorage
/Users/<myUsername>/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default/Local Storage/http_vocabla.com_0.localstorage-journal
What I'd like to know is what this location corresponds to. Is it related to plug-ins, add-ons, extension, etc. or is it something a "malicious" page was able to deliver into my filesystem independent of the browser functions?
 

blakdragon

Registered
uggh ok I wasn't looking very hard at the chrome add ons. I feel dumb. Its on there, but I don't know why. I don't remember if I installed it myself or not, and I don't have an account on vocabla which is something I feel like I would have done if I downloaded the app. Is there a way for chrome apps to be installed to chrome remotely?
 

DeltaMac

Tech
Remove it.
Vocabula would be installed by someone who wants to add to their command of the English language.
If you, or "someone else with local access to your laptop" have connection to language sites, or school support sites, then it may have only been an inadvertent click on one of those sites. I find myself occasionally swiping across a site, and get an accidental click somewhere on the page - accidental clicks happen, particularly with a Magic Mouse, or Magic Trackpad (not so much with the built-in trackpad, but still... )

If you are certain that no one else ever uses your laptop (to the best of your knowledge), and you don't browse to any type of educational site, nor any foreign language translation or support sites, then delete the plugin (do it from the extensions manager in Chrome)
If it does not return after a few days, then you're done...
I suspect the popups were simply triggered by the extension, as you browsed to a variety of sites - and it expected that you wanted to use it, and the login would be needed in that event.
If the extension was bogus (and I don't know that), then NOT logging in was probably a good thing.

Finally (my opinion), as you found the extension in Chrome folders, in the normal location for Chrome add-ons - then it's just an unknown install. Get rid of it, and life returns to normal - unless the same popup returns after a few days on its own :D
 

blakdragon

Registered
Thanks for the replies DeltaMac. I'm a pretty new to Mac OS X and I don't really know what permissions different apps have to do things within the OS.
 

rockyounger

Registered
Thanks for the replies DeltaMac. I'm a pretty new to Mac OS X and I don't really know what permissions different apps have to do things within the OS.
hey blakdragon,you can check your chrome apps list . on your chrome top left , apps . if has vocabla ,delete it~
 
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