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Hi! I need some guidelines about creating a hosts file to increase my surfing protection.
I run on Windows ME, Internet Explorer and need tips that are VERY easy to understand. Have been reading online about Hosts files, everything sounds very good but it is somewhat above my knowledge of computers. Still. . .I'm a fast learner and a faithful follower of well-given instructions (so don't get scared).
Thanks in advance!
P.S.
This forum has been wonderful for me, I've learned tons around here. Unfortunately, I'm not a computer genius. :o

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Last Post by goodtaste
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Using a hosts file is a very outdated form of protection. What problems are you having that you are trying to guard against?

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I have Ad-aware, Norton Antivirus (the latest), SpywareGuard, and all the other suggested defenses for my Win ME environment, including a firewall, but every now and then, a critter gets through (i do tons of work online), and lately I've been fighting one that I think I've dimembered but still makes my machine freeze at least once a day it's called Inqwire. I just thought I could block things like that from puncturing my defenses. Sorry i f I sound ignorant. . .I am! I come to Dani to learn, and I have been!
Thanks beforehand for any suggestions. :o

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A custom hosts file will not protect you from such things. Creating a custom hosts file can only guard against known threats, something that your antivirus software should already be doing. Since attacks can come from anywhere now, a custom hosts file will do nothing to guard your machine against the most danagerous malware out there. The only fullproof way to prevent yourself from coming into contact with malicious code is to disconnect the machine.

That being said, there are a number of things you can do to prevent almost any infection from hitting your machine. Notice that I said "things you can do" and not "programs you can install". The number one reason why most computer users get virus infections and spyware nightmares isn't because they aren't running enough protection software; rather, it is because they do one or more of the following on almost a daily basis.

  • Run programs of questionable origin. All those fun little games, freeware apps, and other web "trinkets" that people love installing on their machines are usually free because they install junk that you don't want when the program is installing itself.
  • See popups that say, "Your system is infected! Click here to remove the virus" and follow the instructions on the popup without even questioning the popup's origin.
  • Open up email attachments without even noticing who the email is from or what the attachment is called
  • Run peer-to-peer programs like Kazaa, K-Lite, Bearshare, etc. There are viruses out there that do nothing but attach themselves to files that are shared by these programs so that they spread to every person that downloads from that system. This is the electronic equivalent of an STD. Almost every file you can get off of those networks are infected with some kind of virus or spyware.

This may sound harsh, but the simple reality is that almost every virus and spyware program that gets installed on a machine is directly related to something that the computer user did rather than something that their software didn't prevent. Software cannot prevent you from clicking on links that are asking your permission to install software that you don't want. Software cannot prevent you from executing programs that you shouldn't execute. Software can prevent most of the bad software from installing, but it cannot prevent you from making mistakes that give that software the ability to run in the first place.

The first thing that you need to do to keep your machine clean is to keep your computer-using habits in check.

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A custom hosts file will not protect you from such things. Creating a custom hosts file can only guard against known threats, something that your antivirus software should already be doing. Since attacks can come from anywhere now, a custom hosts file will do nothing to guard your machine against the most danagerous malware out there. The only fullproof way to prevent yourself from coming into contact with malicious code is to disconnect the machine.

That being said, there are a number of things you can do to prevent almost any infection from hitting your machine. Notice that I said "things you can do" and not "programs you can install". The number one reason why most computer users get virus infections and spyware nightmares isn't because they aren't running enough protection software; rather, it is because they do one or more of the following on almost a daily basis.

  • Run programs of questionable origin. All those fun little games, freeware apps, and other web "trinkets" that people love installing on their machines are usually free because they install junk that you don't want when the program is installing itself.
  • See popups that say, "Your system is infected! Click here to remove the virus" and follow the instructions on the popup without even questioning the popup's origin.
  • Open up email attachments without even noticing who the email is from or what the attachment is called
  • Run peer-to-peer programs like Kazaa, K-Lite, Bearshare, etc. There are viruses out there that do nothing but attach themselves to files that are shared by these programs so that they spread to every person that downloads from that system. This is the electronic equivalent of an STD. Almost every file you can get off of those networks are infected with some kind of virus or spyware.

This may sound harsh, but the simple reality is that almost every virus and spyware program that gets installed on a machine is directly related to something that the computer user did rather than something that their software didn't prevent. Software cannot prevent you from clicking on links that are asking your permission to install software that you don't want. Software cannot prevent you from executing programs that you shouldn't execute. Software can prevent most of the bad software from installing, but it cannot prevent you from making mistakes that give that software the ability to run in the first place.

The first thing that you need to do to keep your machine clean is to keep your computer-using habits in check.

I don't do any of those things but I have been attacked as I redo stuff online (I do errands online and shop for my mom and aunt who are elderly and sick), and sometimes you are minding your own business and all of a sudden, the machine freezes! When that happens, after rebooting, I run Ad-aware and without failure I've caught a critter!
Reading around I ran into the hosts thing as a defense, but I guess it was an old, old piece of advice.
Thanks for taking the time to clear things up for me! :lol:

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