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Friday, November 11, 2011

How to Use a HOSTS File to Proactively Defend Your Windows Computer against Most Known Malware Programs

Description: This article describes the processes of installing and updating a 3rd party HOSTS file to provide a strong layer of defense against most known forms of malware, immunizing your system from many malicious programs before they become a threat.

Background: The HOSTS file is a File used by the Windows operating system to map the location of computers or web addresses on its network. It is similar in function to the Domain Name System (DNS) which maps server Internet Protocol (IP) addresses to domain names, such as ‘google.com’ (Google’s Top-Level Domain [TLD]), which directs internet traffic to the IP address of one of Google’s servers, such as ‘’. As such, it is important to be very careful when making any changes to this system. Fortunately, there are several reputable groups which actively maintain and test custom HOSTS file configurations which are freely available on the internet today.

This guide will cover the installation process for two popular HOSTS files which are regularly tested and are considered safe to use. It is important to choose only one guide to follow, as attempting to install multiple HOSTS files can lead to conflicts.

Note: If you are attempting to follow this guide on a computer connected to a home or work network, please contact your Network Administrator before continuing, as making changes to the HOSTS file may affect network connectivity in certain situations.
    • Download ‘hosts.zip’ from the following web page: http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm


    • Extract the contents of the ‘hosts.zip’ file by Right Clicking on the file from within Windows Explorer and selecting the ‘Extract All’ option from the menu.

      extract all

    • Right click on ‘mvps.bat’ and select the ‘Run as Administrator’ option from the menu.
      • Click ‘Continue’ in the User Account Control (UAC) prompt, if one appears.
      • In Windows XP, or if the ‘Run as Administrator’ option is not available, you may simply Double-Click on ‘mvps.bat’ or Right Click on the file and select ‘Open’ from the menu.

        Run as admin

    • Press Any Key when prompted.
      • The window background should turn Blue and display a message stating "THE MVPS HOSTS FILE IS NOW UPDATED", signifying that the process has completed successfully.


    • Restart Your Computer to complete the installation.

  2. Spybot - Search & Destroy
    • Download Spybot-S&D from one of the Mirror Sites listed at this link: http://www.safer-networking.org/en/mirrors/index.html

      Download Spybot

    • Double-Click on the .exe file you just downloaded (the file should be named ‘spybotsd162.exe’ or something similar) and follow the Installation Wizard to install the program.

      Installation Wizard

    • Start Spybot-S&D by Double-Clicking on the Icon on your Desktop or from the Start Menu by Clicking on the Start Button in the Lower Left corner of your screen and going to ‘All Programs’ » ‘Spybot - Search & Destroy’ and Clicking on the ‘Spybot - Search & Destroy’ Link from the list.

      Search and Destroy

      • The First time you run the program, you may be presented with an Initial Setup Wizard window. Click ‘Next’ on this window and follow the steps to complete the initial setup and updating of the program.


    • On the Main ‘Spybot - Search & Destroy’ window, Click the ‘Immunize’ option from the Menu Bar on the Left.


      • The program will run a quick scan to check the current protection status of your computer.
    • Click the ‘Immunize’ button to begin the immunization process.
      • This may take some time depending on the specifications of your computer.


    • Restart Your Computer to complete the installation.
For more assistance contact Technical Support here.

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