TIP: Blocking Potentially Hazardous Websites with Hosts File

Security has taken top ranks in the news lately -- terrorism in a different form. Hackers taking sensitive top secret information, even breaching topnotch security systems put in place. While hackers may not waste time hacking our desktops they could use our systems as zombies to launch or spread their attacks. So it is best to protect yourself from potentially contributing to the hack.

The sad part is that most of the security threats out in the open target Microsoft's Windows Operating System. The very OS that most desktops run with. Since this security threat is serious and our operating systems are very vulnerable, let us "harden" the OS by putting up a few defenses.

One way of putting up a wall is by host redirection. Protect yourself from potentially stumbling to a suspicious site and getting infected by malware or root-kits. How is this possible? Host redirection is a form of naming service inherent on your local system. It is how your machine knows another by name (which internally translates to its IP address). You can use the same to protect yourself from stumbling into potential danger.

A site that has dedicated itself to this purpose is MVPs. They have a well maintained and updated list of malicious sites that you can download and easily slipstream to the Windows hosts file.

Just download it from the link above. The file to download is hosts.zip. Once downloaded, extract the files. You will be seeing a list similar to the screenshot below.


How do you install the hosts file when there is no executable? I asked this same question as I have been asked the same by friends I have helped set-up a similar system. You will notice that in the archive just extracted is a batch file (extension: .bat). That is the executable. So all that is needed is to run that batch file.


Note that you will have to run mvps.bat as Administrator to accomplish this. Once successful, the hosts file has been modified with the latest list from MVPs. You just took a necessary step to securing your machine from potentially stumbling to malicious content.

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