Jump to content
sweidre

Security Tips - Hosts File

Recommended Posts

Hi,

Many computer users do not know, that there is an opportunity in Windows to stop you to get to malicious sites by using the HOSTS file properly.

In Win XP & in Windows 7 the HOSTS file is located here: C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\HOSTS

Note, that the file HOSTS is a sort of txt-file, but without the extension ".txt". It can be created in many ways.

Note, some softwares of yours stop you to edit the HOSTS file (eg. ZoneAlarm), some softwares warns you when editing (eg. WinPatrol).

Prior to editing the HOSTS file inactivate the control functions of these softwares. When the HOSTS file is ready, remember to activate those control functions again,

because some malwares might change the HOSTS file to lead you to malicious sites.

You can use a normal text-editor to create the file HOSTS.txt and finally delete the extension ".txt".

Many users are using Spybot SD, that can create and update the HOSTS file for you.

Another way is to use a suitable software for this purpose (eg. Hostsman - freeware)

By using a Google search: "HOSTS file", you can download a ready-made HOSTS file and place it with or without the Hostsman software in the path above.

Hostsman can combine many imported HOSTS files into a single big HOSTS file and then for example sort the items in the list in alphabetical order.

Of course, you can add your own known malicious sites into it.

Here is a good article from TechRepublic, explaining HOSTS file and proposing Notepad for editing: "Quick Tip: Block unwanted sites using the Windows hosts file":

http://www.techrepub...059?tag=nl.e042

Cheers,

sweidre

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As anyone conscious of internet security knows there are a lot of web sites just happy to install malware on your machine if you decide to visit that site. However installing lists of banned sites into your hosts.inf files can "significantly" reduce the speed of your browser since it has to scan that list or lists before connecting to a, good or bad, particular site. There's a lot of software that will do just that like some I use to use such as SpywareBlaster, Spybot, etc,etc that will modify your hosts files. I believe it's more prudent for a user to be more savvy as to which sites are visited rather than rely on a list and not slow down your browser and to keep your anti-virus, anti-spyware apps up to date. This was pointed out to me by someone very knowledgeable in the field of computer security, a friend of mine that has made his living for more that 20 years as an IT tec which also backs up Shane's view on the subject . There are reputable DNS services and the G-Data app for Firefox, that we've been testing, that can help people to keep out of trouble. Which has much less of an impact on your brower speed. So I agree to disagree with you my old friend Sweidre!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As anyone conscious of internet security knows there are a lot of web sites just happy to install malware on your machine if you decide to visit that site. However installing lists of banned sites into your hosts files can "significantly" reduce the speed of your browser since it has to scan that list or lists before connecting to a, good or bad, particular site. There's a lot of software that will do just that like some I use to use such as SpywareBlaster, Spybot, etc,etc that will modify your hosts files. I believe it's more prudent for a user to be more savvy as to which sites are visited rather than rely on a list and not slow down your browser and to keep your anti-virus, anti-spyware apps up to date. This was pointed out to me by someone very knowledgeable in the field of computer security, a friend of mine that has made his living for more that 20 years as an IT tec which also backs up Shane's view on the subject . So I agree to disagree with you my old friend Sweidre!

Hi Ritchie,

Yes, you are right, that it will take extra time to go thru the long list of the HOSTS file, but on the other hand the browsing time will be reduced by elimination of loading sites of ads. I have Spybot SD myself, and at every update once a week, Spybot will add some extra malicious sites into the bottom of the HOSTS file.

Cheers,

sweidre

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Then again, as a security prospective. Who uses your PC? Your wife? Your kids? Your neighbors? Your neighbor's kids? So maybe if you're not sure which sites are going to be accessed and don't mind losing browser speed then adding the black listed files might not be such a bad thing! lol!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Then again, as a security prospective. Who uses your PC? Your wife? Your kids? Your neighbors? Your neighbor's kids? So maybe if you're not sure which sites are going to be accessed and don't mind losing browser speed then adding the black listed files might not be such a bad thing! lol!

Hi Ritchie again,

It seems difficult to use one single browser only and stick to that one only! In my Win 95 & Win 97 SE eras I created & maintained websites. I had IE, Netscape, FF, & Opera to test how my websites looked like in the different major browsers. In my Win XP era I had many browsers, because I could not select which one I should eventually go for. (IE, FF, Avant Browser). Opera I skipped, because it had som peculiar widgets and lacked extensions at all (Its bookmarks could not be in sync with the Favorites in IE & FF3.) Now I have in my Win 7 IE, FF3, Slimbrowser, Google Chrome, & ChromePlus (Maybe I should now test Opera again also) In IE I have subscribed to Tracking Sites (eg. EasyList, Fanboy), in FF3, in Google Chrome, and in ChromePlus I have the extension Adblock with EasyList only. (If the new Opera Beta has extensions, I do not know!) My idea is now to create & maintain one HOSTS file only. The HOSTS file is a part of Win 7 OS, so it works for all browsers! Adblock and some other security extensions in the browsers can then be skipped. To reduce the number of extensions in a browser will increase the browsing speed a lot. Previously there was a problem with the HOSTS file: If it was too big the browsing speed in especially Opera was slowed down. My computer supplier at that time told me to install a software called eDexter.exe (produced by Pyrenean). eDexter really increased the browsing speed of all my browsers. When I installed Win 7 last summer, I intended to install eDexter again for my HOSTS file, so I visited the Pyrenean site, that informed me that eDexter is not supplied any longer, because computer development has gone so fast, that the HOSTS file does not need any assistance by eDexter any more (not even for Opera).

As a reply to your post above, I have no family any longer, so I am the only user of my computer.

Cheers,

sweidre

PS. It seems necessary to discuss other security issues outside Immunet & ClamAV. Maybe the forum of Immunet is for Immunet & Clam only, so other security isssues are not permitted to discuss in this forum!?. DS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello ritchie58 & sweidre.

 

Thanks for the information on HOSTS file, I had heard about it some where I don't remember(bad memory), I tries it and it works good but browsing speed takes a little hit after it with Opera, little more with IE and normal with Firefox.

 

Thanks for info again.

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello ritchie58 & sweidre.

 

Thanks for the information on HOSTS file, I had heard about it some where I don't remember(bad memory), I tries it and it works good but browsing speed takes a little hit after it with Opera, little more with IE and normal with Firefox.

 

Thanks for info again.

Hi dp_tuku,

Thanks for your opinion. I looked at Wilders Security Forum, and there was a poll regarding usage of HOSTS file or not:

http://www.wildersse...highlight=HOSTS

59.3% are not using HOSTS file.

27.3% used MVP for HOSTS file.

The poll was supplemented with some posts of pollers with their opinions.

I am using a huge HOSTS file, and I have not noticed any decrease in browsing speed (Slimbrowser, FF3, Google Chrome 11). Webpages with a lot of ads are loading very fast! On the other hand, they look strange with many empty (blank) spaces, where ads should have been! But so what!? I will in the future, search for an objective review of HOSTS file usage based upon objective testing. (For example with Adblocks in the browsers inactivated!)

Cheers,

sweidre

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello sweidre.

 

Thanks for the instant reply, the link to wilderssecurity was a good read.The reason I noticed slow down in browsing speed is because I have been using old versions of browsers like Opera 7.x, Firefox 2.x, IE the one Vista shipped with and a custom one I build with IE as base I mostly use it instead of IE and at times even Firefox.

 

I haven't changed much of the softwares that I use, as I don't like too many features but like customizations. Also if I sit, it shall take a more than a day for me as I work on a slow connection that too capped and downloading the softwares kind of not much to my liking always except few. And browsing with the browser inside sandboxie helps keep the computer safe from un-intended interferences, while I can say I have encountered less than 5 viruses(that's what I have logged in the record of having the main machine infected) since about 2-3 years(since I upgraded the computer), though I have suffered BSoD and other crashes many many times as I keep pondering windows to try and give me more flexibility like Slackware does.

 

In short am a little too lazy to work on that. Ha ha.... These days I am more in love with Slackware than Windows so I haven't used it hard way since sometime.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello sweidre.

 

Thanks for the instant reply, the link to wilderssecurity was a good read.The reason I noticed slow down in browsing speed is because I have been using old versions of browsers like Opera 7.x, Firefox 2.x, IE the one Vista shipped with and a custom one I build with IE as base I mostly use it instead of IE and at times even Firefox.

 

I haven't changed much of the softwares that I use, as I don't like too many features but like customizations. Also if I sit, it shall take a more than a day for me as I work on a slow connection that too capped and downloading the softwares kind of not much to my liking always except few. And browsing with the browser inside sandboxie helps keep the computer safe from un-intended interferences, while I can say I have encountered less than 5 viruses(that's what I have logged in the record of having the main machine infected) since about 2-3 years(since I upgraded the computer), though I have suffered BSoD and other crashes many many times as I keep pondering windows to try and give me more flexibility like Slackware does.

 

In short am a little too lazy to work on that. Ha ha.... These days I am more in love with Slackware than Windows so I haven't used it hard way since sometime.

Hi dp_tuku,

Thanks for your info. I purchased a new machine Win7 64-bit last August and has IE9, Google Chrome 11, Chrome Plus 6, and I intend to upgrade from FF3.6.16 to FF4, when almost all its necessary extensions are updated.

The link to Wilderssecurity Forum was to a poll only. So for the moment, we have only subjective opinions to start from. We must, in my mind, get hold of a review of HOSTS file based upon objective testing of similar hardwares and similar sets of browsers with similar sets of extensions. IE & Opera might work without extensions, but both FF and Chrome are almost naked without their 3rd party extensions. How the objective testing will be performed is a big question mark! (I saw on a CNET video, that nowadays Opera has changed a lot and with extensions. The quality of Opera extensions were not mentioned on CNET. Except for a few toolbars the extensions of IE9 are almost useless (like the widgets in the old Opera, that I used many years ago.)

Cheers,

sweidre

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello sir.

I mentioned the info as it shouldn't confuse the reader about the HOSTS point as I have mentioned it runs slower on the computer that I use.

I'd be very interested about reading about any such review, atleast it will increase my knowledge about HOSTS and pound with some more ways to experiment with it.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...