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Microsoft Writes Off $6.2 Billion From aQuantive Acquisition

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the money-for-nothin' dept.

Microsoft 115

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft had high hopes for aQuantive when it paid $6.3 billion to acquire the combo online marketing services vendor/advertising agency in 2007, evidently in response to Google's acquisition of DoubleClick. 'Microsoft is intensely committed to creating a thriving advertising business and to partnering closely with all key constituencies in this industry to help maximize the digital advertising opportunity for all,' declared CEO Steve Ballmer. Yesterday Microsoft wrote off $6.2 billion of its investment in aQuantive, as its online division continues to struggle. MS-watcher Mary Jo Foley points out this is one in a list of bad purchases from Microsoft. On the bright side, Microsoft managed to recover an estimated $500 million three years ago from the deal when it sold off the Razorfish ad agency (not sure why this amount wasn't subtracted from today's writedown)."

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115 comments

All these big companies write off everything! (4, Funny)

rehabdoll (221029) | about 2 years ago | (#40532071)

Re:All these big companies write off everything! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40534695)

I was thinking more along the lines of this [youtube.com] .

Re:All these big companies write off everything! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40538011)

and sometimes those big companies have losses in other areas they don't want you to see so they move money around so they can write off everything and not scare investors.

Accounting terminology (4, Interesting)

Compaqt (1758360) | about 2 years ago | (#40532073)

Any accountant want to explain exactly what "wrote off" means?

Granted a unit might not be making as much profit as desired, but does this mean they gutted the whole thing, sold the desks, and gave the chairs to Steve Ballmer?

Re:Accounting terminology (3, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#40532189)

As I understand it, it means that MS effectively says they now have $6.2 billion less in assets. When they bought aQuantive, they spent $6.3 billion, but got an asset that they valued at the same level, meaning their assets stayed more or less the same. Now they recognize that it isn't worth that, so they "write it off" (most of it anyways) in recognition of that fact.

Re:Accounting terminology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40532389)

Exactly, you may recall RIM did this as well. It allows you to show what your business is actually doing more accurately (e.g., growing vs stagnating). No sense keeping losses on the books for no reason. For example, a 1% growth in a stock viewed before a writeoff vs after a writeoff is a much different picture (e.g., the 1% is a lot bigger gain before the writeoff than after) but after gives you a better idea of what the actual company is doing and is more open to investors and the like.

Re:Accounting terminology (5, Informative)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40532929)

No sense keeping losses on the books for no reason. For example, a 1% growth in a stock viewed before a writeoff vs after a writeoff is a much different picture (e.g., the 1% is a lot bigger gain before the writeoff than after)

I believe you have that backwards.

If you have a $200M balance sheet and earn $1M then your numbers look like 0.5% rate of return. Lets say the execs want to boost that rate of return (why is a whole nother topic). If the assets are really only worth maybe $100M then you write off the "fake" $100M and suddenly you're earning the same $1M on a $100M balance sheet which is double the previous rate, a stellar 1% rate of return.

There are other reasons to write off. Lets say you're a small company (obviously not MS) trying to get acquired. For ego reasons or whatever your balance sheet is a little inflated. BigCorp and you want to make a deal but they aren't paying the inflated balance sheet amount. So you write off to "correct" your net worth to something BigCorp is willing to pay.

Another strategy for writing off is that writing off $400M is not really more of a career or market issue than writing off $300M, its seen as a one time isolated "event" as long as you don't make a habit of it. So you write off more than its actually lost, so as to make every quarter for the next ten years look better than reality. Kick it down worse than it really is, let it float back up to reality slowly making it look like you're doing amazing management things rather than merely financial trickery. Usually you can see this strategy if they refuse to sell the "worthless" asset later... That becomes an interesting strategic issue because you might be brought up on criminal charges for false accounting if you sell the "worthless" asset next month for half price rather than zero, so the strategic issue is MS cannot get out of that business or sell the remains of the asset for ... awhile.

Another write off strategy (probably not in this case) is to make it a very non-traditional poison pill. Suddenly your balance sheet looks ickier, making you less of a takeover target (not an issue for MS). But nothing has really changed in business operations. So you're not gonna get financially raided, probably, if you write down your balance sheet to an icky level. Not relevant for MS, but a reasonable strategy in a non-monopoly industry thats undergoing merger-fever.

Re:Accounting terminology (1)

zlives (2009072) | about 2 years ago | (#40534179)

+1 insightful

Re:Accounting terminology (1)

Raenex (947668) | about 2 years ago | (#40536023)

+1 Depressing, and an example of why I don't invest in stocks.

Re:Accounting terminology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40534649)

Also, do losses like this also offset profits, and therefore affect taxes? Could expected losses be regarded as an investment in lower tax rates in the future? ;-)

Re:Accounting terminology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40532193)

It just means they don't expect it to make any money.

A Reduction of Taxable Income (2)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#40532197)

I'm not an accountant but from the wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] :

In income tax statements, it refers to a reduction of taxable income as recognition of certain expenses required to produce the income.

I'm guessing that on Microsoft's assets and liabilities balance sheets, they have finally realized (meaning evaluated currently) that the "investment" of $6.3 billion dollars is no longer worth more than a hundred thousand. So perhaps they knew this for a while but have now finally acknowledged it as an opportune time. Say they expect to bring in huge revenue this year and now this loss will counteract that. When you hear "it's a tax write off" it is usually referring to you reducing your taxes by counterbalancing your incoming revenue with a realized loss. Examples: You give a car away, you are paying off pure interest on your home, etc. In Microsoft's case, they made a bad investment and now their books are reflecting that. I'd imagine SEC regulates this kind of thing pretty tightly to stop manipulation of stocks and whatnot but I don't know those regulations.

Re:Accounting terminology (1)

MikeMo (521697) | about 2 years ago | (#40532203)

It means it moves to the bottom line as a loss, and is no longer an asset.

Re:Accounting terminology (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#40534805)

Bingo, they lost 6.2 BILLION on the deal. So can we ALL agree now that Forbes had it nailed when it called out Ballmer as being the worst CEO? i mean how many billions has he blown now on shit deals since he took over? 15 billion? 20? More? He makes the Pepsi guy at Apple look like Jobs for the love of pete!

Hopefully the abortion that is Win 8 will be the final nail in Ballmer's coffin and the board will force him to "pursue other interests" and bring back someone like Ozzie or Allchin to right the ship because they only have two cash cows, Windows and Office, and Ballmer is gonna take a steaming dump on one in Oct just so he can yet again try to rip off Apple and pretend people want a WinTab like an iPad. I mean look at this video folks [youtube.com] which is a typical reaction to windows 8 from what I've watched here at the shop with a Win 8 CP set up for anybody who walks in to play with. its not intuitive, its not discoverable, hell it doesn't even follow cell phone conventions, instead acting like some sort of bad hybrid of Windows and some Smartphone.

I agree with Foley, this is just one of a loooong line of bad moves made since Ballmer became CEO. His "strategy" seems to be 1.-Buy or build a half assed product based on something Apple or Google already does better, 2.-Fail miserably. Yeah, great corporate direction you got there Steve, really setting the world on fire with THAT one.

Re:Accounting terminology (2)

drkstr1 (2072368) | about 2 years ago | (#40536757)

That was almost identicall to my mums experience. I'm no MSFT hater, but bad design is bad design. Had one of my designers presented something this unintuitive, I would have sent them out on their ass.

Re:Accounting terminology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40538093)

The secret plan behind Win8 is to make it look bad enough that people will rush to upgrade from XP to 7 now while it's still available, so that they can keep using it for years to come.

Re:Accounting terminology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40532215)

"writeoff" means to transfer a "receivable" (money/value you're expecting) to an "expense" (money/value you've spent).

By "writing" it into the current fiscal period's expenses, you get it "off" the books so that it does not distort future reports.

Re:Accounting terminology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40532221)

It means that they made aQuantive worth $0 in their books.

Since we all love analogies, assume you inventoried the contents of your basement and valued your XBox 360 at $200. Then you got the Red Ring of Death, which caused the thing to become worthless. You'd open up your inventory and change the value to $0. That'd be a write off. (similar to MS here, if you subtract that write off from your income and not be taxed on it)

Re:Accounting terminology (1)

bman49er (2518184) | about 2 years ago | (#40532337)

Good analogy. But can they then sell it for a profit untaxed?

Re:Accounting terminology (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 years ago | (#40532401)

Not legally. No.

Re:Accounting terminology (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 2 years ago | (#40532485)

I am not sure what "profit untaxed" means.

When they sell it they move it from a unrealized capital loss (a.k.a. write down) to a realized loss. They can use the realized loss to offset other profits (lots of exceptions) lowering their tax bill.

Re:Accounting terminology (1)

garyebickford (222422) | about 2 years ago | (#40532521)

No. They can sell it but the revenue would be taxable income. Broadly similarly if you own a computer for your consulting business you can 'depreciate' it (mark down the value) a certain amount each year as its value in the real world declines, and take that amount off your income for the year. Then if you sell it, the income from selling it, minus the remaining un-depreciated value, is income that you have to pay taxes on. If you sell it for less than the depreciated value then you can take the difference off your income for tax purposes.

Re:Accounting terminology (1)

sander (7831) | about 2 years ago | (#40534613)

No, they made it worth 100 million usd. Fail at simple math much?

Re:Accounting terminology (5, Informative)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 2 years ago | (#40532265)

I have not read the article but

If you look at the annual reports you will find “book value of assets” which is the cost of the asset minus any depreciation.

Then take a look at MSFT’s “Goodwill”, which will be a subcatagory of book value. This is the difference between the book value of a company (ifor example aQuantive) being bought vs. the purchase price.

However, sometimes the asset you have purchased is not worth anything, It’s been burnt to the ground or some such thing. You can’t hold onto this defunct asset at book cost if there is a “permanent material” event . So one makes a accounting judgment and write down the asset to correct level.

Book and Goodwill are are “hard” numbers – in the sense that there is little accounting judgment involved. You can only write these down - Unlike financial institutions you can’t “mark to mark” these assets to a higher level during a bubble to generate fathom profits.

Which answers the OP question about Razorfish. An accountant had made an accounting judgment that Razorfish was dead. It affects the balance sheet (assets / debits), is reported to the shareholders but does not trigger any tax questions. This year they were able to find a little value. It affects the Income (Revenue / Expenses) and triggers taxes.

Re:Accounting terminology (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#40532287)

It is an accounting term. It means to essentially zero the value of an investment or debt; a credit to assets (reducing the company's worth) and a debit to some sort of expense account (thus reducing the company's net income). A good example is customer debts you may be carrying (Accounts Receivable). At some point, particularly if the debts are small, or attempts at collection have failed, you're not going to want to keep that asset on the books (seeing as you never actually were able to convert the customer debt into cash, and have been paying income tax on it), so you write it off as a bad debt (a credit to Accounts Receivable and a debit to Bad Debts Expense).

Now, obviously in the case of a very large corporation, where individual units may operate as autonomous or semi-autonomous interests in their own right, the accounting becomes much more complicated, but at the end of the day, a write off of an investment means to remove it from the books by reducing to zero whatever is left in the Balance Sheet.

Any physical assets like buildings, equipment and so forth, would be another set of accounting operations, depending on their value. Either they'll be sold off, disposed of or absorbed by the larger operating unit.

Re:Accounting terminology (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 2 years ago | (#40536809)

So, is it analogous to writing $6.2B purchase price, $100K sale price on your Schedule D?

(That would take a long time at $3K/year maximum writeoff!)

Re:Accounting terminology (4, Informative)

Fnkmaster (89084) | about 2 years ago | (#40532311)

When a company acquires another company, that acquisition becomes a part of the balance sheet of the acquirer. Essentially, the value of the assets they purchased are recorded as if they are worth what they paid for them.

Much of this value, especially with software companies, is carried in the form of "goodwill" on the balance sheet. This is the excess payment over and above the book value of the acquired company (i.e. the value of its assets). If a company gets bought out for $6.3 billion dollars and had $100M in book value assets recorded on their own balance sheet (computers, chairs, buildings, machinery, etc.), then the acquirer records $6.2B in goodwill on their balance sheet,

If the assets that were acquired generate fewer profits than expected, the company may have to record what's called a "goodwill impairment" - the stuff they bought has been demonstrated to be worth less than $6.2B, so they have to record a paper loss in their annual profit and loss statement, which comes out of the goodwill asset on their balance sheet. In theory, the accountants are supposed to look at the business unit every year to see if there is any impairment of value that would require the reporting of a loss associated with the goodwill impairment of that unit. In practice, these things often seem to just sit around for a few years then get pulled out of a hat when the CFO decides fuck it, we're losing money this year anyway, time to write off all that dumb shit we've been carrying on our books that we bought before the economy went kerplop.

Even worse the a goodwill impairment, the entirety of that goodwill can be written off, creating a paper loss equal to almost the amount they originally spent on the company. Which is apparently what happened here.

It's like Microsoft took $6.2B and lit it on fire. They just didn't realize it had all burned up until now, even though the actual cash was gone several years ago.

Re:Accounting terminology (0)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#40532737)

It's like Microsoft took $6.2B and lit it on fire. They just didn't realize it had all burned up until now, even though the actual cash was gone several years ago.

Of course they realized it. But it is always in the Microsoft nature to cheat, even to the extent of breaking the law, which they may well have done in this case. (Yes, GAAP is law in the sense that not following it is fraud.) Now it is fair to ask, what game are they playing by loading the entire loss into a single quarter?

Re:Accounting terminology (1)

Kalriath (849904) | about 2 years ago | (#40534129)

What the hell are you talking about? It's expected to write the loss from a single event into a single quarter - hell I don't even think you can legally spread losses. The reality is exactly as they claim - they bought something with hope of making it successful, and it failed so they wrote the loss down. I don't see how you can see that as some sort of conspiracy (unless you're a tinfoil-hat wearing schizophrenic) since it makes them look bad. Very bad.

Re:Accounting terminology (0)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#40534625)

It wasn't a single event. Microsoft knew years ago that the value of Aquantative was seriously declining. But did Microsoft's shareholders?

Re:Accounting terminology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40537569)

Considering that MSFT shares went up today after hearing the news yesterday, the evidence is that shareholders either knew or didn't care to know.

Re:Accounting terminology (1)

Kalriath (849904) | about 2 years ago | (#40538009)

Yeah, it was a single event. They bought it. That's the value of the company, and they only just realised that purchase was a gigantic unrecoverable fuckup (as opposed to a recoverable one, where you might refrain from writing it down because you think it might actually gain the value you attributed to it eventually).

Of course, this is a complete waste of time - you will refuse to believe anything about Microsoft that doesn't involve them being evil (as opposed to fiscally irresponsible, which is this case).

Re:Accounting terminology (1)

the_humeister (922869) | about 2 years ago | (#40532781)

Well, it's more like a wealth shift. There's always at least two sides to a transaction (exception being destruction of currency which can be a one side transaction). The other side got the $6.3 billion, and hopefully ran away with it and never looked back.

Re:Accounting terminology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40532435)

It usually means they placed a value of $XXX on an asset (perhaps by purchasing it, sometimes by just making it up), and are now admitting that the asset isn't worth that much. During the dot com boom a lot of companies claimed an asset called "good will", which meant they thought the company's brand/reputation/customer base/whatever was worth something. After a while they quit kidding themselves (if no fool like Ballmer has purchased them) and write it off. My favorite was when AOL "lost" $99 Billion [pbs.org] by writing it off. Even though they never made that much and were never worth that much. But it looked cool on their balance sheet for a while.

Re:Accounting terminology (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#40532615)

Any accountant want to explain exactly what "wrote off" means?

I'm not an accountant and I don't need to be to know that it means "recognized a loss".

Re:Accounting terminology (2)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40532693)

Any accountant want to explain exactly what "wrote off" means?

As an experienced investor dude, not a licensed CPA, heres how writeoffs for purchased companies work. I'm taking a step back from the "what" answers to attempt to answer "why". As in why does it happen and why is it being posted today, as opposed to last week or next year.

The traditional way to do R+D was to pay cash up front in salaries and parts, and maybe something cool and profitable fell out, or maybe not. See Bell Labs, HP in the glory days, etc.

The modern way to do R+D is to let a startup do the real R+D on their own and get it started up, then the failed ideas die and the good ideas are bought for big money. Sometimes BIG companies are bought as "new wave R+D" instead of little startups. Maybe for as much as 6 billion bucks. The advantage for the big company is they invest later when its "more obvious" if a tech is any good, and if it bombs after purchase like this story, then the big corp gets to pick when to accept and post the losses, based on coordinating with other mysterious financial activities, etc. There is a certain limit to the BS allowed and eventually you have to report losses even if you don't want to. I have not been following MS enough to tell if this loss is being posted on their schedule or someone elses.

Re:Accounting terminology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40532913)

Assuming MSFT incurred debts, the journal entry of this $6.2 billion that has not been paid by its customers would be:
Bad Debt Expense 6.2b
                    Allowance for Uncollectible Accounts 6.2b

Now because due to some event, usually after a certain period expires, the company decides that they would be not be able to collect that debt. Therefore, MSFT would remove that amount of books. Similarly, when credit companies do not have expect someone to pay back after a certain time elapsed, they would remove that amount.

Allowance for Uncollectible Accounts 6.2b
                Accounts Receivable 6.2b

This effectively remove the amounts off their books. If the debt was later repaid after this removal, they would simply reverse these entries. Now the overall affect is a reduction in asset since the Accounts Receivable account has been reduced.

Re:Accounting terminology (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | about 2 years ago | (#40532971)

In addition to what everyone else has said, a company will sometimes take an opportunity like this to write off a lot of other unproductive junk that's been sitting around on its balance sheets, along with the (former) asset that dominates the writeoff. I've seen this referred to as "taking the big bath."

When a company writes off several billion dollars' worth of assets and their stock doesn't go straight to hell, that's because the market understands that it's just a periodic house-cleaning event, and that future quarters will look stronger as a result.

Re:Accounting terminology (0)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#40533973)

When a company writes off several billion dollars' worth of assets and their stock doesn't go straight to hell, that's because the market understands that it's just a periodic house-cleaning event, and that future quarters will look stronger as a result.

Or it is because investors are asleep at the wheel. Of course that never happens so we must reject it as a possibility.

Next question: how long before Ballmer drives Skype to zero?

Re:Accounting terminology (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 2 years ago | (#40534011)

I don't think MSFT is doing a "Big Bath" - just a normal sized one.

Taking a "big bath” happens when new management is installed or some other type of structural change

When new management is installed they will look for every dubious investment and declare it worthless. They want the biggest write offs and ascribe all of the loss & blame to the prior management. If any of junk comes back to life it is because of current management’s brilliance and they grab the credit.

One could make the argument that MSFT is setting us up for next year. Nothing much happened this year but Windows 8 comes out next. Make this year look trashy so next year really pops?

Re:Accounting terminology (1)

breeze95 (880714) | about 2 years ago | (#40536849)

In addition to what everyone else has said, a company will sometimes take an opportunity like this to write off a lot of other unproductive junk that's been sitting around on its balance sheets, along with the (former) asset that dominates the writeoff. I've seen this referred to as "taking the big bath."

When a company writes off several billion dollars' worth of assets and their stock doesn't go straight to hell, that's because the market understands that it's just a periodic house-cleaning event, and that future quarters will look stronger as a result.

Or the market expected it and the stock price is already reflecting that fact.

Re:Accounting terminology (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#40533225)

Slashdot: News for accountants, stuff that doesn't matter.

Re:Accounting terminology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40533253)

My understanding is when you buy a company, you take cash, factories, buildings, equipment, etc and add them to your balance sheet (basically, the balance sheet of the other company). Then you subtract the amount added from the amount you paid and create another entry for that called "Goodwill". Then you slowly shrink Goodwill as you make future profits. If you lose hope for making profits, then you write off your goodwill. This would imply that virtually all the purchase price went into goodwill or that the bulk of the rest were some assets that became worthless at the same time that the company was written off.

It is not clear to me how legal this is if the employees are re-orged into a related line of business that includes substantially similar services.

Re:Accounting terminology (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#40534397)

Any accountant want to explain exactly what "wrote off" means?

Granted a unit might not be making as much profit as desired, but does this mean they gutted the whole thing, sold the desks, and gave the chairs to Steve Ballmer?

They're devaluing their initial investment .. as a result of, once again, not having a clue what they are doing.

If Microsoft hadn't a near monopoly (at one time) their repeated failures would harbinge writing down their core business and eventually failing.

Re:Accounting terminology (1)

PedroDeAlvarado (626756) | about 2 years ago | (#40535235)

In double-entry accounting (which is the only proper way to do accounting), one entry reduces assets, and the other increases expenses. So they simultaneously "write off" the asset, and "take a hit" to earnings.

Re:Accounting terminology (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 2 years ago | (#40537955)

They spent $6.3 billion, but claim that what they got was only worth $100 million (which is probably the book value of the desks and chairs and such). So when tax day rolls around, they'll pay taxes on $100 million instead of the full $6.3 billion.

Kill advertising! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40532093)

I really wish these software companies would focus on making software products, and forget about advertising. Advertising is killing privacy. A company that focuses on enterprise applications should do just that, and kill the advertising business.

Re:Kill advertising! (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 2 years ago | (#40532269)

With all the free software around, advertising is one of the few remaining ways to make money.

I do (+ malware, botnets & more) (-1)

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6.) Protection vs. online trackers

7.) Better security vs. the DNS system being "dns poisoned/redirected" (a known problem for recursive DNS servers via port 51/53 misdirection)

8.) Write protecting the hosts file every 1/2 second (supplementing UAC) - even if/when you move it from the default location via this registry entry (which if done, can function ALMOST like *NIX shadow passwords because of this program):

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\Tcpip\Parameters

And changing the "DataBasePath" parameter there (I do this moving it to a faster media, a "true SSD" using DDR-2 RAM, in the 4gb Gigabyte IRAM I have).

9.) Automatic downloading & Alphabetic sorting of hosts files' records entries (for easier end user mgt. manually) from 15 reliable sources (of 17 I actually use).

10.) Manual editing of all files used (hosts to import list, hosts itself in its default location of %windir%\system32\drivers\etc, the hosts files to import/download & process, & favorite sites to reverse dns ping to avoid DNS (noted above why)).

11.) Removal scanners (if the users decide to remove hosts entries from imported data they can check if the site is indeed known as bad or not (sometimes 'false positives' happen, or just bad entries, or sites clean themselves up after infestation due to vulnerable coding etc./et al)).

12.) Removal of bloating material in many hosts files like Comments (useless bulk in a hosts file that's "all business")

13.) Removal of bloating material in many hosts files like Trailing comments after records (produces duplicates)

14.) Removal of bloating material in many hosts files like Invalid TLD entries (program checks this in a BETTER method than the API call "PathIsURL")

15.) Removal of bloating material in many hosts files like Trims entries (vs. trailing blanks bloat on record entries)

16.) Removal of bloating material in many hosts files like the conversion of the larger & SLOWER 127.0.0.1 blocking "loopback adapter" address (slower due to larger size bytes wise to parse, & slower if loopback happens) to the smaller/faster to parse & load 0.0.0.0

17.) Uniformity of ALL entries in hosts (as to records inserted & format they use - reducing bloat AND repeated bloating entries).

18.) Filtration-Removal of sites that IF in a hosts file are KNOWN to cause problems on larger portals that use CDN etc.

19.) Custom hosts files protect ALL webbound programs, not just webbrowsers (like AdBlock addons, & it doesn't even block ALL adbanners by default anymore) & it does so @ a more efficient faster level (Ring 0/RPL 0/Kernelmode) acting merely as a filter for the PnP design IP stack, vs. the slower level webbrowser programs & their addons operate in (Ring 3/RPL 3/Usermode), which addons slow them even more by "layering on" parsing & processing that browser addons layer on.

20.) Custom hosts files also offer the speedup to favorite sites noted above, & even firewalls + browser addons do NOT offer that...

---

& MORE, in roughly 15 minutes runtime (on an Intel Core I7 920 Quad/4 core cpu @ 2.67ghz) & faster on faster CPU's (e.g. - Intel Core I7 3960 "extreme" 6-7 core CPUs = 7 minute runtime) & slower on slower CPU's (Intel 1.5ghz Celeron single core = 45 minutes).

* The malwarebytes/hpHosts site admin another person/site hosting it (Mr. Steven Burn, a competent coder in his own right), said it's "excellent" in fact and has seen its code too...

(Write him yourselves should anyone doubt any of this -> services@it-mate.co.uk , or see his site @ http://hosts-file.net/?s=Download [hosts-file.net] )

A Mr. Henry Hertz Hobbitt of securemecca.org &/or hostsfile.org can also verify that this program is safe - write him @ -> hhhobbit@securemecca.com

It'll be releasing soon to sites that host 64-bit programs (even though it also has a 32-bit model, line for line the same code except for 32 in place of 64 in its help file & user interface)!

I told myself (since i built it in late 2003 in version 1.0++ & have rebuilt it 5x since in Borland Delphi 3.0/5.0/7.0 32-bit & currently into 64-bit using Delphi XE2) IF things didn't get better on the "malware front", out it would go for the general public to get the above enumerated multiple & versatile benefits custom hosts yield for end users (mainly saving them money on speed + bandwidth they pay for each month as well as added "layered-security"/"defense-in-depth" AND reliability all noted above)

APK

P.S.=> Details of the above synopsis/short summary are as follows below:

21++ ADVANTAGES OF HOSTS FILES (over browser plugins for security, &/or DNS servers):

(Over AdBlock & DNS Servers ALONE 4 Security, Speed, Reliability, & Anonymity (to an extent vs. DNSBL's + DNS request logs)).

1.) HOSTS files are useable for all these purposes because they are present on all Operating Systems that have a BSD based IP stack (even ANDROID) and do adblocking for ANY webbrowser, email program, etc. (any webbound program). A truly "multi-platform" UNIVERSAL solution for added speed, security, reliability, & even anonymity to an extent (vs. DNS request logs + DNSBL's you feel are unjust hosts get you past/around).

2.) Adblock blocks ads? Well, not anymore & certainly not as well by default, apparently, lol - see below:

Adblock Plus To Offer 'Acceptable Ads' Option

http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/12/12/2213233/adblock-plus-to-offer-acceptable-ads-option [slashdot.org] )

AND, in only browsers & their subprogram families (ala email like Thunderbird for FireFox/Mozilla products (use same gecko & xulrunner engines)), but not all, or, all independent email clients, like Outlook, Outlook Express, OR Window "LIVE" mail (for example(s)) - there's many more like EUDORA & others I've used over time that AdBlock just DOES NOT COVER... period.

Disclaimer: Opera now also has an AdBlock addon (now that Opera has addons above widgets), but I am not certain the same people make it as they do for FF or Chrome etc..

3.) Adblock doesn't protect email programs external to FF (non-mozilla/gecko engine based) family based wares, So AdBlock doesn't protect email programs like Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows "LIVE" mail & others like them (EUDORA etc./et al), Hosts files do. THIS IS GOOD VS. SPAM MAIL or MAILS THAT BEAR MALICIOUS SCRIPT, or, THAT POINT TO MALICIOUS SCRIPT VIA URLS etc.

4.) Adblock won't get you to your favorite sites if a DNS server goes down or is DNS-poisoned, hosts will (this leads to points 5-7 next below, & especially vs. the July 12th 2012 "DNSChanger" trojan purge that's coming soon (those folks won't get to sites if infested - I will, due to hardcodes in my hosts file of my fav. 20 sites + using BETTER filtering DNS servers (see list below))...

5.) Adblock doesn't allow you to hardcode in your favorite websites into it so you don't make DNS server calls and so you can avoid tracking by DNS request logs, OR make you reach them faster since you resolve host-domain names LOCALLY w/ hosts out of cached memory, hosts do ALL of those things (DNS servers are also being abused by the Chinese lately and by the Kaminsky flaw -> http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/082908-kaminsky-flaw-prompts-dns-server.html [networkworld.com] for years now). Hosts protect against those problems via hardcodes of your fav sites (you should verify against the TLD that does nothing but cache IPAddress-to-domainname/hostname resolutions (in-addr.arpa) via NSLOOKUP, PINGS (ping -a in Windows - functions for "reverse DNS lookups"), &/or WHOIS though, regularly, so you have the correct IP & it's current)).

* NOW - Some folks MAY think that putting an IP address alone into your browser's address bar will be enough, so why bother with HOSTS, right? WRONG - Putting IP address in your browser won't always work IS WHY. Some IP adresses host several domains & need the site name to give you the right page you're after is why. So for some sites only the HOSTS file option will work!

6.) Hosts files don't eat up CPU cycles (or ELECTRICITY) like AdBlock does while it parses a webpages' content, nor as much as a DNS server does while it runs. HOSTS file are merely a FILTER for the kernel mode/PnP TCP/IP subsystem, which runs FAR FASTER & MORE EFFICIENTLY than any ring 3/rpl3/usermode app can since hosts files run in MORE EFFICIENT & FASTER Ring 0/RPL 0/Kernelmode operations acting merely as a filter for the IP stack (via the "Plug-N-Play" designed IP stack in Windows) vs. SLOWER & LESS EFFICIENT Ring 3/RPL 3/Usermode operations (which webbrowsers run in + their addons like AdBlock slow down even MORESO due to their parsing operations).

7.) HOSTS files will allow you to get to sites you like, via hardcoding your favs into a HOSTS file, FAR faster than remote DNS servers can by FAR (by saving the roundtrip inquiry time to a DNS server, typically 30-100's of ms, vs. 7-10ms HardDisk speed of access/seek + SSD seek in ns, & back to you - hosts resolutions of IP address for host-domain names is FAR faster...). Hosts are only a filter for an already fast & efficient IP stack, no more layered b.s. (remote OR local). Hosts eat less CPU, RAM, I/O in other forms, + electricity than a locally running DNS server easily, and less than a local DNS program on a single PC. Fact. Hosts are easier to setup & maintain too.

8.) AdBlock doesn't let you block out known bad sites or servers that are known to be maliciously scripted, hosts can and many reputable lists for this exist:

GOOD INFORMATION ON MALWARE BEHAVIOR LISTING BOTNET C&C SERVERS + MORE (AS WELL AS REMOVAL LISTS FOR HOSTS):

http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org]
http://someonewhocares.org/hosts/ [someonewhocares.org]
http://hostsfile.org/hosts.html [hostsfile.org]
http://hostsfile.mine.nu/downloads/ [hostsfile.mine.nu]
http://hosts-file.net/?s=Download [hosts-file.net]
https://zeustracker.abuse.ch/monitor.php?filter=online [abuse.ch]
https://spyeyetracker.abuse.ch/monitor.php [abuse.ch]
http://ddanchev.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]
http://www.malware.com.br/lists.shtml [malware.com.br]
http://www.stopbadware.org/ [stopbadware.org]
Spybot "Search & Destroy" IMMUNIZE feature (fortifies HOSTS files with KNOWN bad servers blocked)

And yes: Even SLASHDOT &/or The Register help!

(Via articles on security (when the source articles they use are "detailed" that is, & list the servers/sites involved in attempting to bushwhack others online that is... not ALL do!)).

2 examples thereof in the past I have used, & noted it there, are/were:

http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1898692&cid=34473398 [slashdot.org]
http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1896216&cid=34458500 [slashdot.org]

9.) AdBlock & DNS servers are programs, and subject to bugs programs can get. Hosts files are merely a filter and not a program, thus not subject to bugs of the nature just discussed.

10.) HOSTS files protect you vs. DNS-poisoning &/or the Kaminsky flaw in DNS servers, and allow you to get to sites reliably vs. things like the Chinese are doing to DNS -> http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/11/29/1755230/Chinese-DNS-Tampering-a-Real-Threat-To-Outsiders [slashdot.org]

11.) HOSTS files are EASILY user controlled, obtained (for reliable ones -> http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org] ) & edited too, via texteditors like Windows notepad.exe or Linux nano (etc.)

12.) With Adblock you had better be able to code javascript to play with its code (to customize it better than the GUI front does @ least). With hosts you don't even need source to control it (edit, update, delete, insert of new entries via a text editor).

13.) Hosts files are easily secured via using MAC/ACL (even moreso "automagically" for Vista, 7/Server 2008 + beyond by UAC by default) &/or Read-Only attributes applied.

14.) Custom HOSTS files also speed you up, unlike anonymous proxy servers systems variations (like TOR, or other "highly anonymous" proxy server list servers typically do, in the severe speed hit they often have a cost in) either via "hardcoding" your fav. sites into your hosts file (avoids DNS servers, totally) OR blocking out adbanners - see this below for evidence of that:

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US Military Blocks Websites To Free Up Bandwidth:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/03/16/0416238/US-Military-Blocks-Websites-To-Free-Up-Bandwidth [slashdot.org]

(Yes, even the US Military used this type of technique... because IT WORKS! Most of what they blocked? Ad banners ala doubleclick etc.)

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Adbanners slow you down & consume your bandwidth YOU pay for:

ADBANNERS SLOW DOWN THE WEB: -> http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/11/30/166218 [slashdot.org]

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And people do NOT LIKE ads on the web:

PEOPLE DISLIKE ADBANNERS: http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/08/04/02/0058247.shtml [slashdot.org]

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As well as this:

Users Know Advertisers Watch Them, and Hate It:

http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/08/04/02/0058247.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

Even WORSE still, is this:

Advertising Network Caught History Stealing:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/07/22/156225/Advertising-Network-Caught-History-Stealing [slashdot.org]

---

15.) HOSTS files usage lets you avoid being charged on some ISP/BSP's (OR phone providers) "pay as you use" policy http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/12/08/2012243/FCC-Approving-Pay-As-You-Go-Internet-Plans [slashdot.org] , because you are using less bandwidth (& go faster doing so no less) by NOT hauling in adbanner content and processing it (which can lead to infestation by malware/malicious script, in & of itself -> http://apcmag.com/microsoft_apologises_for_serving_malware.htm [apcmag.com] ).

16.) If/when ISP/BSP's decide to go to -> FCC Approving Pay-As-You-Go Internet Plans: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/12/08/2012243/FCC-Approving-Pay-As-You-Go-Internet-Plans [slashdot.org] your internet bill will go DOWN if you use a HOSTS file for blocking adbanners as well as maliciously scripted hacker/cracker malware maker sites too (after all - it's your money & time online downloading adbanner content & processing it)

Plus, your adbanner content? Well, it may also be hijacked with malicious code too mind you:

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Yahoo, Microsoft's Bing display toxic ads:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/09/16/bing_yahoo_malware_ads/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Malware torrent delivered over Google, Yahoo! ad services:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/24/malware_ads_google_yahoo/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Google's DoubleClick spreads malicious ads (again):

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/24/doubleclick_distributes_malware/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Rogue ads infiltrate Expedia and Rhapsody:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/30/excite_and_rhapsody_rogue_ads/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Google sponsored links caught punting malware:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12/16/google_sponsored_links/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

DoubleClick caught supplying malware-tainted ads:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/13/doubleclick_distributes_malware/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Yahoo feeds Trojan-laced ads to MySpace and PhotoBucket users:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/09/11/yahoo_serves_12million_malware_ads/ [theregister.co.uk]

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Real Media attacks real people via RealPlayer:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/23/real_media_serves_malware/ [theregister.co.uk]

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Ad networks owned by Google, Microsoft serve malware:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/13/doubleclick_msn_malware_attacks/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Attacks Targeting Classified Ad Sites Surge:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/02/02/1433210/Attacks-Targeting-Classified-Ad-Sites-Surge [slashdot.org]

---

Hackers Respond To Help Wanted Ads With Malware:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/01/20/0228258/Hackers-Respond-To-Help-Wanted-Ads-With-Malware [slashdot.org]

---

Hackers Use Banner Ads on Major Sites to Hijack Your PC:

http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/news/2007/11/doubleclick [wired.com]

---

Ruskie gang hijacks Microsoft network to push penis pills:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/12/microsoft_ips_hijacked/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Major ISPs Injecting Ads, Vulnerabilities Into Web:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/08/04/19/2148215.shtml [slashdot.org]

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Two Major Ad Networks Found Serving Malware:

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/10/12/13/0128249/Two-Major-Ad-Networks-Found-Serving-Malware [slashdot.org]

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THE NEXT AD YOU CLICK MAY BE A VIRUS:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/09/06/15/2056219/The-Next-Ad-You-Click-May-Be-a-Virus [slashdot.org]

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NY TIMES INFECTED WITH MALWARE ADBANNER:

http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/09/13/2346229 [slashdot.org]

---

MICROSOFT HIT BY MALWARES IN ADBANNERS:

http://apcmag.com/microsoft_apologises_for_serving_malware.htm [apcmag.com]

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ISP's INJECTING ADS AND ERRORS INTO THE WEB: -> http://it.slashdot.org/it/08/04/19/2148215.shtml [slashdot.org]

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ADOBE FLASH ADS INJECTING MALWARE INTO THE NET: http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/08/20/0029220&from=rss [slashdot.org]

---

London Stock Exchange Web Site Serving Malware:

http://www.securityweek.com/london-stock-exchange-web-site-serving-malware [securityweek.com]

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Spotify splattered with malware-tainted ads:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/25/spotify_malvertisement_attack/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

As my list "multiple evidences thereof" as to adbanners & viruses + the fact they slow you down & cost you more (from reputable & reliable sources no less)).

17.) Per point #16, a way to save some money: ANDROID phones can also use the HOSTS FILE TO KEEP DOWN BILLABLE TIME ONLINE, vs. adbanners or malware such as this:

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Infected Androids Run Up Big Texting Bills:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/03/01/0041203/Infected-Androids-Run-Up-Big-Texting-Bills [slashdot.org]

---

AND, for protection vs. other "botnets" migrating from the PC world, to "smartphones" such as ZITMO (a ZEUS botnet variant):

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=ZITMO&btnG=Google+Search [google.com]

---

It's easily done too, via the ADB dev. tool, & mounting ANDROID OS' system mountpoint for system/etc as READ + WRITE/ADMIN-ROOT PERMISSIONS, then copying your new custom HOSTS over the old one using ADB PULL/ADB PUSH to do so (otherwise ANDROID complains of "this file cannot be overwritten on production models of this Operating System", or something very along those lines - this way gets you around that annoyance along with you possibly having to clear some space there yourself if you packed it with things!).

18.) Bad news: ADBLOCK CAN BE DETECTED FOR: See here on that note -> http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/03/why-ad-blocking-is-devastating-to-the-sites-you-love.ars [arstechnica.com]

HOSTS files are NOT THAT EASILY "webbug" BLOCKABLE by websites, as was tried on users by ARSTECHNICA (and it worked on AdBlock in that manner), to that websites' users' dismay:

PERTINENT QUOTE/EXCERPT FROM ARSTECHNICA THEMSELVES:

----

An experiment gone wrong - By Ken Fisher | Last updated March 6, 2010 11:11 AM

http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/03/why-ad-blocking-is-devastating-to-the-sites-you-love.ars [arstechnica.com]

"Starting late Friday afternoon we conducted a 12 hour experiment to see if it would be possible to simply make content disappear for visitors who were using a very popular ad blocking tool. Technologically, it was a success in that it worked. Ad blockers, and only ad blockers, couldn't see our content."

and

"Our experiment is over, and we're glad we did it because it led to us learning that we needed to communicate our point of view every once in a while. Sure, some people told us we deserved to die in a fire. But that's the Internet!"

Thus, as you can see? Well - THAT all "went over like a lead balloon" with their users in other words, because Arstechnica was forced to change it back to the old way where ADBLOCK still could work to do its job (REDDIT however, has not, for example). However/Again - this is proof that HOSTS files can still do the job, blocking potentially malscripted ads (or ads in general because they slow you down) vs. adblockers like ADBLOCK!

----

19.) Even WIKILEAKS "favors" blacklists (because they work, and HOSTS can be a blacklist vs. known BAD sites/servers/domain-host names):

---

PERTINENT QUOTE/EXCERPT (from -> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/16/wikileaks_mirror_malware_warning_row/ [theregister.co.uk] )

"we are in favour of 'Blacklists', be it for mail servers or websites, they have to be compiled with care... Fortunately, more responsible blacklists, like stopbadware.org (which protects the Firefox browser)...

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20.) AND, LASTLY? SINCE MALWARE GENERALLY HAS TO OPERATE ON WHAT YOU YOURSELF CAN DO (running as limited class/least privlege user, hopefully, OR even as ADMIN/ROOT/SUPERUSER)? HOSTS "LOCK IN" malware too, vs. communicating "back to mama" for orders (provided they have name servers + C&C botnet servers listed in them, blocked off in your HOSTS that is) - you might think they use a hardcoded IP, which IS possible, but generally they do not & RECYCLE domain/host names they own (such as has been seen with the RBN (Russian Business Network) lately though it was considered "dead", other malwares are using its domains/hostnames now, & this? This stops that cold, too - Bonus!)...

21.) Custom HOSTS files gain users back more "screen real estate" by blocking out banner ads... it's great on PC's for speed along with MORE of what I want to see/read (not ads), & efficiency too, but EVEN BETTER ON SMARTPHONES - by far. It matters MOST there imo @ least, in regards to extra screen real-estate.

Still - It's a GOOD idea to layer in the usage of BOTH browser addons for security like adblock ( http://adblockplus.org/en/ [adblockplus.org] ), IE 9's new TPL's ( http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Browser/TrackingProtectionLists/ [microsoft.com] ), &/or NoScript ( http://noscript.net/ [noscript.net] especially this one, as it covers what HOSTS files can't in javascript which is the main deliverer of MOST attacks online & SECUNIA.COM can verify this for anyone really by looking @ the past few years of attacks nowadays), for the concept of "layered security"....

It's just that HOSTS files offer you a LOT MORE gains than Adblock ( http://adblockplus.org/en/ [adblockplus.org] ) does alone (as hosts do things adblock just plain cannot & on more programs, for more speed, security, and "stealth" to a degree even), and it corrects problems in DNS (as shown above via hardcodes of your favorite sites into your HOSTS file, and more (such as avoiding DNS request logs)).

ALSO - Some more notes on DNS servers & their problems, very recent + ongoing ones:

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DNS flaw reanimates slain evil sites as ghost domains:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/16/ghost_domains_dns_vuln/ [theregister.co.uk]

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BIND vs. what the Chinese are doing to DNS lately? See here:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/11/29/1755230/Chinese-DNS-Tampering-a-Real-Threat-To-Outsiders [slashdot.org]

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SECUNIA HIT BY DNS REDIRECTION HACK THIS WEEK:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/26/secunia_back_from_dns_hack/ [theregister.co.uk]

(Yes, even "security pros" are helpless vs. DNS problems in code bugs OR redirect DNS poisoning issues, & they can only try to "set the DNS record straight" & then, they still have to wait for corrected DNS info. to propogate across all subordinate DNS servers too - lagtime in which folks DO get "abused" in mind you!)

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DNS vs. the "Kaminsky DNS flaw", here (and even MORE problems in DNS than just that):

http://www.scmagazineus.com/new-bind-9-dns-flaw-is-worse-than-kaminskys/article/140872/ [scmagazineus.com]

(Seems others are saying that some NEW "Bind9 flaw" is worse than the Kaminsky flaw ALONE, up there, mind you... probably corrected (hopefully), but it shows yet again, DNS hassles (DNS redirect/DNS poisoning) being exploited!)

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Moxie Marlinspike's found others (0 hack) as well...

Nope... "layered security" truly IS the "way to go" - hacker/cracker types know it, & they do NOT want the rest of us knowing it too!...

(So until DNSSEC takes "widespread adoption"? HOSTS are your answer vs. such types of attack, because the 1st thing your system refers to, by default, IS your HOSTS file (over say, DNS server usage). There are decent DNS servers though, such as OpenDNS, ScrubIT, or even NORTON DNS (more on each specifically below), & because I cannot "cache the entire internet" in a HOSTS file? I opt to use those, because I have to (& OpenDNS has been noted to "fix immediately", per the Kaminsky flaw, in fact... just as a sort of reference to how WELL they are maintained really!)

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DNS Hijacks Now Being Used to Serve Black Hole Exploit Kit:

https://threatpost.com/en_us/blogs/dns-hijacks-now-being-used-serve-black-hole-exploit-kit-121211 [threatpost.com]

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DNS experts admit some of the underlying foundations of the DNS protocol are inherently weak:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/12/08/1353203/opendns-releases-dns-encryption-tool [slashdot.org]

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Potential 0-Day Vulnerability For BIND 9:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/11/17/1429259/potential-0-day-vulnerability-for-bind-9 [slashdot.org]

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Five DNS Threats You Should Protect Against:

http://www.securityweek.com/five-dns-threats-you-should-protect-against [securityweek.com]

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DNS provider decked by DDoS dastards:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/16/ddos_on_dns_firm/ [theregister.co.uk]

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Ten Percent of DNS Servers Still Vulnerable: (so much for "conscientious patching", eh? Many DNS providers weren't patching when they had to!)

http://it.slashdot.org/it/05/08/04/1525235.shtml?tid=172&tid=95&tid=218 [slashdot.org]

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DNS ROOT SERVERS ATTACKED:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/07/02/06/2238225.shtml [slashdot.org]

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TimeWarner DNS Hijacking:

http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/23/2140208 [slashdot.org]

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DNS Re-Binding Attacks:

http://crypto.stanford.edu/dns/ [stanford.edu]

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DNS Server Survey Reveals Mixed Security Picture:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/07/11/21/0315239.shtml [slashdot.org]

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Halvar figured out super-secret DNS vulnerability:

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/has-halvar-figured-out-super-secret-dns-vulnerability/1520 [zdnet.com]

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BIND Still Susceptible To DNS Cache Poisoning:

http://tech.slashdot.org/tech/08/08/09/123222.shtml [slashdot.org]

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DNS Poisoning Hits One of China's Biggest ISPs:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/08/08/21/2343250.shtml [slashdot.org]

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DDoS Attacks Via DNS Recursion:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/06/03/16/1658209.shtml [slashdot.org]

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High Severity BIND DNS Vulnerability Advisory Issued:

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/02/23/156212/High-Severity-BIND-Vulnerability-Advisory-Issued [slashdot.org]

---

Photobucket's DNS Records Hijacked:

http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=1285 [zdnet.com]

---

Protecting Browsers from DNS Rebinding Attacks:

http://crypto.stanford.edu/dns/ [stanford.edu]

---

DNS Problem Linked To DDoS Attacks Gets Worse:

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/09/11/15/1238210/DNS-Problem-Linked-To-DDoS-Attacks-Gets-Worse [slashdot.org]

---

HOWEVER - Some DNS servers are "really good stuff" vs. phishing, known bad sites/servers/hosts-domains that serve up malware-in-general & malicious scripting, botnet C&C servers, & more, such as:

Norton DNS -> http://nortondns.com/ [nortondns.com]
ScrubIT DNS -> http://www.scrubit.com/ [scrubit.com]
OpenDNS -> http://www.opendns.com/ [opendns.com]

(Norton DNS in particular, is exclusively for blocking out malware, for those of you that are security-conscious. ScrubIT filters pr0n material too, but does the same, & OpenDNS does phishing protection. Each page lists how & why they work, & why they do so. Norton DNS can even show you its exceptions lists, plus user reviews & removal procedures requests, AND growth stats (every 1/2 hour or so) here -> http://safeweb.norton.com/buzz [norton.com] so, that ought to "take care of the naysayers" on removal requests, &/or methods used plus updates frequency etc./et al...)

HOWEVER - There's ONLY 1 WEAKNESS TO ANY network defense, including HOSTS files (vs. host-domain name based threats) & firewalls (hardware router type OR software type, vs. IP address based threats): Human beings, & they not being 'disciplined' about the indiscriminate usage of javascript (the main "harbinger of doom" out there today online), OR, what they download for example... & there is NOTHING I can do about that! (Per Dr. Manhattan of "The Watchmen", ala -> "I can change almost anything, but I can't change human nature")

HOWEVER AGAIN - That's where NORTON DNS, OpenDNS, &/or ScrubIT DNS help!

(Especially for noob/grandma level users who are unaware of how to secure themselves in fact, per a guide like mine noted above that uses "layered-security" principles!)

ScrubIT DNS, &/or OpenDNS are others alongside Norton DNS (adding on phishing protection too) as well!

( & it's possible to use ALL THREE in your hardware NAT routers, and, in your Local Area Connection DNS properties in Windows, for again, "Layered Security" too)...

---

24++ SLASHDOT USERS EXPERIENCING SUCCESS USING HOSTS FILES QUOTED VERBATIM:

---

"Ever since I've installed a host file (http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm) to redirect advertisers to my loopback, I haven't had any malware, spyware, or adware issues. I first started using the host file 5 years ago." - by TestedDoughnut (1324447) on Monday December 13, @12:18AM (#34532122)

"I use a custom /etc/hosts to block ads... my file gets parsed basically instantly ... So basically, for any modern computer, it has zero visible impact. And even if it took, say, a second to parse, that would be more than offset by the MANY seconds saved by not downloading and rendering ads. I have noticed NO ill effects from running a custom /etc/hosts file for the last several years. And as a matter of fact I DO run http servers on my computers and I've never had an /etc/hosts-related problem... it FUCKING WORKS and makes my life better overall." - by sootman (158191) on Monday July 13 2009, @11:47AM (#28677363) Homepage Journal

"I actually went and downloaded a 16k line hosts file and started using that after seeing that post, you know just for trying it out. some sites load up faster." - by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday November 17, @11:20AM (#38086752) Homepage Journal

"Better than an ad blocker, imo. Hosts file entries: http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org] " - by TempestRose (1187397) on Tuesday March 15, @12:53PM (#35493274)

"^^ One of the many reasons why I like the user-friendliness of the /etc/hosts file." - by lennier1 (264730) on Saturday March 05, @09:26PM (#35393448)

"They've been on my HOSTS block for years" - by ScottCooperDotNet (929575) on Thursday August 05 2010, @01:52AM (#33147212)

"I'm currently only using my hosts file to block pheedo ads from showing up in my RSS feeds and causing them to take forever to load. Regardless of its original intent, it's still a valid tool, when used judiciously." - by Bill Dog (726542) on Monday April 25, @02:16AM (#35927050) Homepage Journal

"you're right about hosts files" - by drinkypoo (153816) on Thursday May 26, @01:21PM (#36252958) Homepage

"APK's monolithic hosts file is looking pretty good at the moment." - by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday November 17, @10:08AM (#38085666)

"I also use the MVPS ad blocking hosts file." - by Rick17JJ (744063) on Wednesday January 19, @03:04PM (#34931482)

"I use ad-Block and a hostfile" - by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Tuesday March 01, @10:11AM (#35346902)

"I do use Hosts, for a couple fake domains I use." - by icebraining (1313345) on Saturday December 11, @09:34AM (#34523012) Homepage

"It's a good write up on something everybody should use, why you were modded down is beyond me. Using a HOSTS file, ADblock is of no concern and they can do what they want." - by Trax3001BBS (2368736) on Monday December 12, @10:07PM (#38351398) Homepage Journal

"I want my surfing speed back so I block EVERY fucking ad. i.e. http://someonewhocares.org/hosts/ [someonewhocares.org] and http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm [mvps.org] FTW" - by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Tuesday December 13, @12:04PM (#38356782)

"Let me introduce you to the file: /etc/hosts" - by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Monday December 19, @05:03PM (#38427432)

"I use a hosts file" - by EdIII (1114411) on Tuesday December 13, @01:17PM (#38357816)

"I'm tempted to go for a hacked hosts file that simply resolves most advert sites to 127.0.0.1" - by bLanark (123342) on Tuesday December 13, @01:13PM (#38357760)

"this is not a troll, which hosts file source you recommend nowadays? it's a really handy method for speeding up web and it works." - by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday March 22, @08:07PM (#39446525) Homepage Journal

"A hosts file certainly does not require "a lot of work" to maintain, and it quite effectively kills a LOT of advertising and tracking schemes. . In fact, I never would have considered trying to use it for ddefending against viruses or malware." - by RocketRabbit (830691) on Thursday December 30 2010, @05:48PM (#34715060)

"That is, do the things you would normally do to secure your own machine from malware, intrusive advertising, and vulnerabilities. Use the hosts file to block certain domains from being accessible." - by wickerprints (1094741) on Friday June 22, @12:57AM (#40407865)

"Ad blocking hosts file, I use it as an adult ;-) http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm [mvps.org] " - by RJFerret (1279530) on Friday June 22, @01:15AM (#40407983) Homepage

"There is probably a decent list of domains out there that you can put in your hosts file so that lookups for these fail. I assume you're more concerned about accidental adverts and such, which is a fair concern considering how many sites have em" - by ieatcookies (1490517) on Friday June 22, @01:21AM (#40408005)

"I find mapping hosts to 0.0.0.0 is faster, because it's not a valid IP address, so the DNS subsystem of your OS will ignore it without trying to connect. There are several hostfile collections out there. I merged three of them several years ago just for my own freedom from ads and other junk. I currently have 131572 host names zero'd out." - by Dracos (107777) on Friday June 22, @01:34AM (#40408085)

"I also use linux a lot more now and, beyond a custom hosts file, don't have any active antivirus software beyond what comes with Ubuntu" - by sneakyimp (1161443) on Friday June 22, @04:26PM (#40416169)

---

Then, there is also the words of respected security expert, Mr. Oliver Day, from SECURITYFOCUS.COM to "top that all off" as well:

A RETURN TO THE KILLFILE:

http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/491 [securityfocus.com]

Some "PERTINENT QUOTES/EXCERPTS" to back up my points with (for starters):

---

"The host file on my day-to-day laptop is now over 16,000 lines long. Accessing the Internet -- particularly browsing the Web -- is actually faster now."

Speed, and security, is the gain... others like Mr. Day note it as well!

---

"From what I have seen in my research, major efforts to share lists of unwanted hosts began gaining serious momentum earlier this decade. The most popular appear to have started as a means to block advertising and as a way to avoid being tracked by sites that use cookies to gather data on the user across Web properties. More recently, projects like Spybot Search and Destroy offer lists of known malicious servers to add a layer of defense against trojans and other forms of malware."

Per my points exactly, no less... & guess who was posting about HOSTS files a 14++ yrs. or more back & Mr. Day was reading & now using? Yours truly (& this is one of the later ones, from 2001 http://www.furtherleft.net/computer.htm [furtherleft.net] (but the example HOSTS file with my initials in it is FAR older, circa 1998 or so) or thereabouts, and referred to later by a pal of mine who moderates NTCompatible.com (where I posted on HOSTS for YEARS (1997 onwards)) -> http://www.ntcompatible.com/thread28597-1.html [ntcompatible.com] !

---

"Shared host files could be beneficial for other groups as well. Human rights groups have sought after block resistant technologies for quite some time. The GoDaddy debacle with NMap creator Fyodor (corrected) showed a particularly vicious blocking mechanism using DNS registrars. Once a registrar pulls a website from its records, the world ceases to have an effective way to find it. Shared host files could provide a DNS-proof method of reaching sites, not to mention removing an additional vector of detection if anyone were trying to monitor the use of subversive sites. One of the known weaknesses of the Tor system, for example, is direct DNS requests by applications not configured to route such requests through Tor's network."

There you go: AND, it also works vs. the "KAMINSKY DNS FLAW" & DNS poisoning/redirect attacks, for redirectable weaknesses in DNS servers (non DNSSEC type, & set into recursive mode especially) and also in the TOR system as well (that lends itself to anonymous proxy usage weaknesses I noted above also) and, you'll get to sites you want to, even IF a DNS registrar drops said websites from its tables as shown here Beating Censorship By Routing Around DNS -> http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/12/09/1840246/Beating-Censorship-By-Routing-Around-DNS [slashdot.org] & even DNSBL also (DNS Block Lists) -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNSBL [wikipedia.org] as well - DOUBLE-BONUS!

---

* THE HOSTS FILE GROUP 34++ THUSFAR (from +5 -> +1 RATINGS, usually "informative" or "interesting" etc./et al):

BANNER ADS & BANDWIDTH:2011 -> http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2139088&cid=36077722 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1907266&cid=34529608 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1490078&cid=30555632 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1869638&cid=34237268 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1461288&threshold=-1&commentsort=0&mode=thread&cid=30272074 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1255487&cid=28197285 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1206409&cid=27661983 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1725068&cid=32960808 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1743902&cid=33147274 [slashdot.org]
APK 20++ POINTS ON HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1913212&cid=34576182 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1862260&cid=34186256 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 (w/ facebook known bad sites blocked) -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1924892&cid=34670128 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS FILE MOD UP FOR ANDROID MALWARE:2010 -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1930156&cid=34713952 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP ZEUSTRACKER:2011 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2059420&cid=35654066 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP vs AT&T BANDWIDTH CAP:2011 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2116504&cid=35985584 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP CAN DO SAME AS THE "CloudFlare" Server-Side service:2011 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2220314&cid=36372850 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS and BGP +5 RATED (BEING HONEST):2010 http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1901826&cid=34490450 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS & PROTECT IP ACT:2011 http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2368832&cid=37021700 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2011 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2457766&cid=37592458 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP & OPERA HAUTE SECURE:2011 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2457274&cid=37589596 [slashdot.org]
0.0.0.0 in HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1197039&cid=27556999 [slashdot.org]
0.0.0.0 IN HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1143349&cid=27012231 [slashdot.org]
0.0.0.0 in HOSTS:2009 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1198841&cid=27580299 [slashdot.org]
0.0.0.0 in HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1139705&cid=26977225 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1319261&cid=28872833 [slashdot.org] (still says INSIGHTFUL)
HOSTS MOD UP vs. botnet: 2012 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2603836&cid=38586216 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP vs. SOPA act: 2012 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2611414&cid=38639460 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP vs. FaceBook b.s.: 2012 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2614186&cid=38658078 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP "how to secure smartphones": 2012 -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2644205&cid=38860239 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP "Free Apps Eat your Battery via ad displays": 2012 -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2734503&cid=39408607 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP "How I only hardcode in 50 of my fav. sites": 2012 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2857487&cid=40034765 [slashdot.org]
APPLYING HOSTS TO DIFF. PLATFORM W/ TCP-IP STACK BASED ON BSD: 2008 -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1944892&cid=34831038 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS vs. TRACKING ONLINE BY ADVERTISERS & BETTER THAN GHOSTERY: 2012 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2926641&cid=40383743 [slashdot.org]

---

* "Here endeth the lesson..." and, if you REALLY want to secure your system? Please refer to this:

http://www.bing.com/search?q=%22HOW+TO+SECURE+Windows+2000%2FXP%22&go=&form=QBRE [bing.com]

APK

P.S.=> SOME MINOR "CAVEATS/CATCH-22's" - things to be aware of for "layered security" + HOSTS file performance - easily overcome, or not a problem at all:

A.) HOSTS files don't function under PROXY SERVERS (except for Proximitron, which has a filter that allows it) - Which is *the "WHY"* of why I state in my "P.S." section below to use both AdBlock type browser addon methods (or even built-in block lists browsers have such as Opera's URLFILTER.INI file, & FireFox has such as list as does IE also in the form of TPL (tracking protection lists -> http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Browser/TrackingProtectionLists/ [microsoft.com] , good stuff )) in combination with HOSTS, for the best in "layered security" (alongside .pac files + custom cascading style sheets that can filter off various tags such as scripts or ads etc.) - but proxies, especially "HIGHLY ANONYMOUS" types, generally slow you down to a CRAWL online (& personally, I cannot see using proxies "for the good" typically - as they allow "truly anonymous posting" & have bugs (such as TOR has been shown to have & be "bypassable/traceable" via its "onion routing" methods)).

B.) HOSTS files do NOT protect you vs. javascript (this only holds true IF you don't already have a bad site blocked out in your HOSTS file though, & the list of sites where you can obtain such lists to add to your HOSTS are above (& updated daily in many of them)).

C.) HOSTS files (relatively "largish ones") require you to turn off Windows' native "DNS local client cache service" (which has a problem in that it's designed with a non-redimensionable/resizeable list, array, or queue (DNS data loads into a C/C++ structure actually/afaik, which IS a form of array)) - mvps.org covers that in detail and how to easily do this in Windows (this is NOT a problem in Linux, & it's 1 thing I will give Linux over Windows, hands-down). Relatively "smallish" HOSTS files don't have this problem (mvps.org offers 2 types for this).

D.) HOSTS files, once read/loaded, once? GET CACHED! Right into the kernelmode diskcaching subsystem (fast & efficient RAM speed), for speed of access/re-access (@ system startup in older MS OS' like 2000, or, upon a users' 1st request that's "Webbound" via say, a webbrowser) gets read into either the DNS local caching client service (noted above), OR, if that's turned off? Into your local diskcache (like ANY file is), so it reads F A S T upon re-reads/subsequent reads (until it's changed in %WinDir%\system32\drivers\etc on Windows, which marks it "Dirty" & then it gets re-read + reloaded into the local diskcache again). This may cause a SMALL initial load 1 time lag upon reload though, depending on the size of your HOSTS file.

E.) HOSTS files don't protect vs. BGP exploits - Sorry, once it's out of your hands/machine + past any interior network + routers you have, the packets you send are out there into the ISP/BSP's hands - they're "the Agents

Re:I do (+ malware, botnets & more) (2)

Trashcan Romeo (2675341) | about 2 years ago | (#40532355)

Doesn't your Time Cube take care of all that?

Re:I do (+ malware, botnets & more) (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | about 2 years ago | (#40532433)

Does a Time Cube come with MyCleanPC?

"Rinse, Lather, & Repeat", off-topic troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40532523)

http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2955165&cid=40532477 [slashdot.org]

APK

P.S.=> I love you trolling off-topic worms... why? Well, easy:

b>You make me LOOK GOOD, everytime, running from a challenge I put to you (because when I challenge you to disprove the points in my posts on hosts files?? LOL, not a SINGLE ONE of you ever has)... I love it!

... apk

Ah yes, another OFF-TOPIC TROLL, lol! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40532477)

The day you disprove this point-by-point -> http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2955165&cid=40532317 [slashdot.org] , is the day you've actually made any "headway" against me. Until then? Get this straight: I AM LMAO @ U!

Why? Nobody here ever has disproven a single point to date from that writeup...

* Yes, it's THAT simple... & thus, good luck disproving my points in the link above - you'll NEED it!

APK

P.S.=> You off-topic /. trolls TRULY do make me laugh - is the "Best You've Got" vs. my post (link above) only trolling? Please...

... apk

All the trolls have is a bogus downmod vs. apk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40532967)

Trolls challenged to disprove his points on hosts files ran here http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2955165&cid=40532477 [slashdot.org] and here when challenged to disprove those points of his on hosts files yet again here http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2955165&cid=40532523 [slashdot.org] and I expect he's just laughing all the more at them. APK wins again since my post will drag his back into view.

Re:Kill advertising! (2)

camperslo (704715) | about 2 years ago | (#40532563)

How would the potential customers know about those enterprise apps?

An advertising model that is effective sticks around, even if offensive in various ways. Part of the measure of effectiveness is the cost. Traditional non-net advertising is generally expensive to distribute.

You can avoid looking at ads and filter them, but using search engines to find things you'll buy is also part of the picture. Although largely free services like craigslist have eaten into classified ads, there doesn't seem to be any popular non-commercial alternative for search engines. Perhaps some would be willing to contribute code or operating costs to such an effort? I'm not sure how many would work very hard to produce that for free (to users). Alternatives to Facebook and other services would also need to be built, but even they they'd be data mined externally.

If MS has focused on what USERS wanted, not the paid-ad exploitation side of things, they might have been able to offer a search product that made their OSes or hardware significantly more appealing because it DIDN'T do nasty things to users. That, along with domains that banned external ads and scripts from sites, could make the net experience much different.

I do (+ malware, botnets, & more) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40533013)

I use hosts for "HBO Internet" (ad free) in the following ways (see my 'p.s.' below, in detail, for your reference) to COMPLIMENT & OVERCOME PROBLEMS IN DNS & OTHER MECHANISMS LARGELY!

Custom hosts files gain me the following benefits (A short summary of where custom hosts files can be extremely useful):

---

1.) Blocking out malware/malscripted sites
2.) Blocking out Known sites-servers/hosts-domains that are known to serve up malware
3.) Blocking out Bogus DNS servers malware makers use
4.) Blocking out Botnet C&C servers
5.) Blocking out Bogus adbanners that are full of malicious script content
6.) Getting you back speed/bandwidth you paid for by blocking out adbanners + hardcoding in your favorite sites (faster than remote DNS server resolution)
7.) Added reliability (vs. downed or misdirect/poisoned DNS servers).
8.) Added "anonymity" (to an extent, vs. DNS request logs)
9.) The ability to bypass DNSBL's (DNS block lists you may not agree with).
10.) More screen "real estate" (since no more adbanners appear onscreen eating up CPU, Memory, & other forms of I/O too - bonus!)
11.) Truly UNIVERSAL PROTECTION (since any OS, even on smartphones, usually has a BSD drived IP stack).
12.) Faster & MORE EFFICIENT operation vs. browser plugins (which "layer on" ontop of Ring 3/RPL 3/usermode browsers - whereas the hosts file operates @ the Ring 0/RPL 0/Kernelmode of operation (far faster) as a filter for the IP stack itself...)
13.) Blocking out TRACKERS
14.) Custom hosts files work on ANY & ALL webbound apps (browser plugins do not).
15.) Custom hosts files offer a better, faster, more efficient way, & safer way to surf the web & are COMPLETELY controlled by the end-user of them.

---

* & FAR more... read on below IF you are interested (for detail).

AND, for those of you that run Microsoft Windows 32 or 64 bit? An automated hosts file creation & mgt. program:

http://securemecca.com/public/APKHostsFileInstaller/2012_06_01/APKHostsFileEngineInstaller32_64bit.exe.zip [securemecca.com]

(You simply extract its files to ANY folder you like (usually one you create for it, doesn't matter where, but you MUST run it as administrator (simple & the "read me" tab shows how easy THAT is to do))

What's it do for you?

It's a custom hosts file mgt. program that does the following for end users (Calling it "APK Hosts File Engine 5.0++") after it obtains custom hosts file data from 12 of the reputable & reliable sources listed below:

---

1.) Offers massively noticeable increased speed for websurfing via blocking adbanners

2.) Offers increased speed for users fav. sites by hardcoding them into the hosts file for faster IP address-to-host/domain name resolutions (which sites RARELY change their hosting providers, e.g.-> of 250 I do, only 6 have changed since 2006 - & when sites do because they found a less costly hosting provider? Then, they either email notify members, put up warnings on their pages, & do IP warnings & redirectors onto the former IP address range to protect vs. the unscrupulous criminal bidding on that range to buy it to steal from users of say, online banking or shopping sites).

3.) Better "Layered-Security"/"Defense-In-Depth" via blocking host-domain based attacks by KNOWN bad sites-servers that are known to do so (which IS, by far, the majority of what's used by both users (hence the existence of the faulty but for most part working DNS system), AND even by malware makers (since host-domain names are recyclable by they, & the RBN (Russian Business Network & others)) were doing it like mad with "less than scrupulous", or uncaring, hosting providers)

4.) Better 'anonymity' to an extent vs. DNS request logs (not vs. DPI ("deep packet inspection"))

5.) The ability to circumvent unjust DNSBL (DNS Block Lists) if unjust or inconveniences a user.

6.) Protection vs. online trackers

7.) Better security vs. the DNS system being "dns poisoned/redirected" (a known problem for recursive DNS servers via port 51/53 misdirection)

8.) Write protecting the hosts file every 1/2 second (supplementing UAC) - even if/when you move it from the default location via this registry entry (which if done, can function ALMOST like *NIX shadow passwords because of this program):

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\Tcpip\Parameters

And changing the "DataBasePath" parameter there (I do this moving it to a faster media, a "true SSD" using DDR-2 RAM, in the 4gb Gigabyte IRAM I have).

9.) Automatic downloading & Alphabetic sorting of hosts files' records entries (for easier end user mgt. manually) from 15 reliable sources (of 17 I actually use).

10.) Manual editing of all files used (hosts to import list, hosts itself in its default location of %windir%\system32\drivers\etc, the hosts files to import/download & process, & favorite sites to reverse dns ping to avoid DNS (noted above why)).

11.) Removal scanners (if the users decide to remove hosts entries from imported data they can check if the site is indeed known as bad or not (sometimes 'false positives' happen, or just bad entries, or sites clean themselves up after infestation due to vulnerable coding etc./et al)).

12.) Removal of bloating material in many hosts files like Comments (useless bulk in a hosts file that's "all business")

13.) Removal of bloating material in many hosts files like Trailing comments after records (produces duplicates)

14.) Removal of bloating material in many hosts files like Invalid TLD entries (program checks this in a BETTER method than the API call "PathIsURL")

15.) Removal of bloating material in many hosts files like Trims entries (vs. trailing blanks bloat on record entries)

16.) Removal of bloating material in many hosts files like the conversion of the larger & SLOWER 127.0.0.1 blocking "loopback adapter" address (slower due to larger size bytes wise to parse, & slower if loopback happens) to the smaller/faster to parse & load 0.0.0.0

17.) Uniformity of ALL entries in hosts (as to records inserted & format they use - reducing bloat AND repeated bloating entries).

18.) Filtration-Removal of sites that IF in a hosts file are KNOWN to cause problems on larger portals that use CDN etc.

19.) Custom hosts files protect ALL webbound programs, not just webbrowsers (like AdBlock addons, & it doesn't even block ALL adbanners by default anymore) & it does so @ a more efficient faster level (Ring 0/RPL 0/Kernelmode) acting merely as a filter for the PnP design IP stack, vs. the slower level webbrowser programs & their addons operate in (Ring 3/RPL 3/Usermode), which addons slow them even more by "layering on" parsing & processing that browser addons layer on.

20.) Custom hosts files also offer the speedup to favorite sites noted above, & even firewalls + browser addons do NOT offer that...

---

& MORE, in roughly 15 minutes runtime (on an Intel Core I7 920 Quad/4 core cpu @ 2.67ghz) & faster on faster CPU's (e.g. - Intel Core I7 3960 "extreme" 6-7 core CPUs = 7 minute runtime) & slower on slower CPU's (Intel 1.5ghz Celeron single core = 45 minutes).

* The malwarebytes/hpHosts site admin another person/site hosting it (Mr. Steven Burn, a competent coder in his own right), said it's "excellent" in fact and has seen its code too...

(Write him yourselves should anyone doubt any of this -> services@it-mate.co.uk , or see his site @ http://hosts-file.net/?s=Download [hosts-file.net] )

A Mr. Henry Hertz Hobbitt of securemecca.org &/or hostsfile.org can also verify that this program is safe - write him @ -> hhhobbit@securemecca.com

It'll be releasing soon to sites that host 64-bit programs (even though it also has a 32-bit model, line for line the same code except for 32 in place of 64 in its help file & user interface)!

I told myself (since i built it in late 2003 in version 1.0++ & have rebuilt it 5x since in Borland Delphi 3.0/5.0/7.0 32-bit & currently into 64-bit using Delphi XE2) IF things didn't get better on the "malware front", out it would go for the general public to get the above enumerated multiple & versatile benefits custom hosts yield for end users (mainly saving them money on speed + bandwidth they pay for each month as well as added "layered-security"/"defense-in-depth" AND reliability all noted above)

APK

P.S.=> Details of the above synopsis/short summary are as follows below:

21++ ADVANTAGES OF HOSTS FILES (over browser plugins for security, &/or DNS servers):

(Over AdBlock & DNS Servers ALONE 4 Security, Speed, Reliability, & Anonymity (to an extent vs. DNSBL's + DNS request logs)).

1.) HOSTS files are useable for all these purposes because they are present on all Operating Systems that have a BSD based IP stack (even ANDROID) and do adblocking for ANY webbrowser, email program, etc. (any webbound program). A truly "multi-platform" UNIVERSAL solution for added speed, security, reliability, & even anonymity to an extent (vs. DNS request logs + DNSBL's you feel are unjust hosts get you past/around).

2.) Adblock blocks ads? Well, not anymore & certainly not as well by default, apparently, lol - see below:

Adblock Plus To Offer 'Acceptable Ads' Option

http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/12/12/2213233/adblock-plus-to-offer-acceptable-ads-option [slashdot.org] )

AND, in only browsers & their subprogram families (ala email like Thunderbird for FireFox/Mozilla products (use same gecko & xulrunner engines)), but not all, or, all independent email clients, like Outlook, Outlook Express, OR Window "LIVE" mail (for example(s)) - there's many more like EUDORA & others I've used over time that AdBlock just DOES NOT COVER... period.

Disclaimer: Opera now also has an AdBlock addon (now that Opera has addons above widgets), but I am not certain the same people make it as they do for FF or Chrome etc..

3.) Adblock doesn't protect email programs external to FF (non-mozilla/gecko engine based) family based wares, So AdBlock doesn't protect email programs like Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows "LIVE" mail & others like them (EUDORA etc./et al), Hosts files do. THIS IS GOOD VS. SPAM MAIL or MAILS THAT BEAR MALICIOUS SCRIPT, or, THAT POINT TO MALICIOUS SCRIPT VIA URLS etc.

4.) Adblock won't get you to your favorite sites if a DNS server goes down or is DNS-poisoned, hosts will (this leads to points 5-7 next below, & especially vs. the July 12th 2012 "DNSChanger" trojan purge that's coming soon (those folks won't get to sites if infested - I will, due to hardcodes in my hosts file of my fav. 20 sites + using BETTER filtering DNS servers (see list below))...

5.) Adblock doesn't allow you to hardcode in your favorite websites into it so you don't make DNS server calls and so you can avoid tracking by DNS request logs, OR make you reach them faster since you resolve host-domain names LOCALLY w/ hosts out of cached memory, hosts do ALL of those things (DNS servers are also being abused by the Chinese lately and by the Kaminsky flaw -> http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/082908-kaminsky-flaw-prompts-dns-server.html [networkworld.com] for years now). Hosts protect against those problems via hardcodes of your fav sites (you should verify against the TLD that does nothing but cache IPAddress-to-domainname/hostname resolutions (in-addr.arpa) via NSLOOKUP, PINGS (ping -a in Windows - functions for "reverse DNS lookups"), &/or WHOIS though, regularly, so you have the correct IP & it's current)).

* NOW - Some folks MAY think that putting an IP address alone into your browser's address bar will be enough, so why bother with HOSTS, right? WRONG - Putting IP address in your browser won't always work IS WHY. Some IP adresses host several domains & need the site name to give you the right page you're after is why. So for some sites only the HOSTS file option will work!

6.) Hosts files don't eat up CPU cycles (or ELECTRICITY) like AdBlock does while it parses a webpages' content, nor as much as a DNS server does while it runs. HOSTS file are merely a FILTER for the kernel mode/PnP TCP/IP subsystem, which runs FAR FASTER & MORE EFFICIENTLY than any ring 3/rpl3/usermode app can since hosts files run in MORE EFFICIENT & FASTER Ring 0/RPL 0/Kernelmode operations acting merely as a filter for the IP stack (via the "Plug-N-Play" designed IP stack in Windows) vs. SLOWER & LESS EFFICIENT Ring 3/RPL 3/Usermode operations (which webbrowsers run in + their addons like AdBlock slow down even MORESO due to their parsing operations).

7.) HOSTS files will allow you to get to sites you like, via hardcoding your favs into a HOSTS file, FAR faster than remote DNS servers can by FAR (by saving the roundtrip inquiry time to a DNS server, typically 30-100's of ms, vs. 7-10ms HardDisk speed of access/seek + SSD seek in ns, & back to you - hosts resolutions of IP address for host-domain names is FAR faster...). Hosts are only a filter for an already fast & efficient IP stack, no more layered b.s. (remote OR local). Hosts eat less CPU, RAM, I/O in other forms, + electricity than a locally running DNS server easily, and less than a local DNS program on a single PC. Fact. Hosts are easier to setup & maintain too.

8.) AdBlock doesn't let you block out known bad sites or servers that are known to be maliciously scripted, hosts can and many reputable lists for this exist:

GOOD INFORMATION ON MALWARE BEHAVIOR LISTING BOTNET C&C SERVERS + MORE (AS WELL AS REMOVAL LISTS FOR HOSTS):

http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org]
http://someonewhocares.org/hosts/ [someonewhocares.org]
http://hostsfile.org/hosts.html [hostsfile.org]
http://hostsfile.mine.nu/downloads/ [hostsfile.mine.nu]
http://hosts-file.net/?s=Download [hosts-file.net]
https://zeustracker.abuse.ch/monitor.php?filter=online [abuse.ch]
https://spyeyetracker.abuse.ch/monitor.php [abuse.ch]
http://ddanchev.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]
http://www.malware.com.br/lists.shtml [malware.com.br]
http://www.stopbadware.org/ [stopbadware.org]
Spybot "Search & Destroy" IMMUNIZE feature (fortifies HOSTS files with KNOWN bad servers blocked)

And yes: Even SLASHDOT &/or The Register help!

(Via articles on security (when the source articles they use are "detailed" that is, & list the servers/sites involved in attempting to bushwhack others online that is... not ALL do!)).

2 examples thereof in the past I have used, & noted it there, are/were:

http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1898692&cid=34473398 [slashdot.org]
http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1896216&cid=34458500 [slashdot.org]

9.) AdBlock & DNS servers are programs, and subject to bugs programs can get. Hosts files are merely a filter and not a program, thus not subject to bugs of the nature just discussed.

10.) HOSTS files protect you vs. DNS-poisoning &/or the Kaminsky flaw in DNS servers, and allow you to get to sites reliably vs. things like the Chinese are doing to DNS -> http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/11/29/1755230/Chinese-DNS-Tampering-a-Real-Threat-To-Outsiders [slashdot.org]

11.) HOSTS files are EASILY user controlled, obtained (for reliable ones -> http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org] ) & edited too, via texteditors like Windows notepad.exe or Linux nano (etc.)

12.) With Adblock you had better be able to code javascript to play with its code (to customize it better than the GUI front does @ least). With hosts you don't even need source to control it (edit, update, delete, insert of new entries via a text editor).

13.) Hosts files are easily secured via using MAC/ACL (even moreso "automagically" for Vista, 7/Server 2008 + beyond by UAC by default) &/or Read-Only attributes applied.

14.) Custom HOSTS files also speed you up, unlike anonymous proxy servers systems variations (like TOR, or other "highly anonymous" proxy server list servers typically do, in the severe speed hit they often have a cost in) either via "hardcoding" your fav. sites into your hosts file (avoids DNS servers, totally) OR blocking out adbanners - see this below for evidence of that:

---

US Military Blocks Websites To Free Up Bandwidth:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/03/16/0416238/US-Military-Blocks-Websites-To-Free-Up-Bandwidth [slashdot.org]

(Yes, even the US Military used this type of technique... because IT WORKS! Most of what they blocked? Ad banners ala doubleclick etc.)

---

Adbanners slow you down & consume your bandwidth YOU pay for:

ADBANNERS SLOW DOWN THE WEB: -> http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/11/30/166218 [slashdot.org]

---

And people do NOT LIKE ads on the web:

PEOPLE DISLIKE ADBANNERS: http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/08/04/02/0058247.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

As well as this:

Users Know Advertisers Watch Them, and Hate It:

http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/08/04/02/0058247.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

Even WORSE still, is this:

Advertising Network Caught History Stealing:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/07/22/156225/Advertising-Network-Caught-History-Stealing [slashdot.org]

---

15.) HOSTS files usage lets you avoid being charged on some ISP/BSP's (OR phone providers) "pay as you use" policy http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/12/08/2012243/FCC-Approving-Pay-As-You-Go-Internet-Plans [slashdot.org] , because you are using less bandwidth (& go faster doing so no less) by NOT hauling in adbanner content and processing it (which can lead to infestation by malware/malicious script, in & of itself -> http://apcmag.com/microsoft_apologises_for_serving_malware.htm [apcmag.com] ).

16.) If/when ISP/BSP's decide to go to -> FCC Approving Pay-As-You-Go Internet Plans: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/12/08/2012243/FCC-Approving-Pay-As-You-Go-Internet-Plans [slashdot.org] your internet bill will go DOWN if you use a HOSTS file for blocking adbanners as well as maliciously scripted hacker/cracker malware maker sites too (after all - it's your money & time online downloading adbanner content & processing it)

Plus, your adbanner content? Well, it may also be hijacked with malicious code too mind you:

---

Yahoo, Microsoft's Bing display toxic ads:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/09/16/bing_yahoo_malware_ads/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Malware torrent delivered over Google, Yahoo! ad services:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/24/malware_ads_google_yahoo/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Google's DoubleClick spreads malicious ads (again):

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/24/doubleclick_distributes_malware/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Rogue ads infiltrate Expedia and Rhapsody:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/30/excite_and_rhapsody_rogue_ads/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Google sponsored links caught punting malware:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12/16/google_sponsored_links/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

DoubleClick caught supplying malware-tainted ads:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/13/doubleclick_distributes_malware/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Yahoo feeds Trojan-laced ads to MySpace and PhotoBucket users:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/09/11/yahoo_serves_12million_malware_ads/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Real Media attacks real people via RealPlayer:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/23/real_media_serves_malware/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Ad networks owned by Google, Microsoft serve malware:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/13/doubleclick_msn_malware_attacks/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Attacks Targeting Classified Ad Sites Surge:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/02/02/1433210/Attacks-Targeting-Classified-Ad-Sites-Surge [slashdot.org]

---

Hackers Respond To Help Wanted Ads With Malware:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/01/20/0228258/Hackers-Respond-To-Help-Wanted-Ads-With-Malware [slashdot.org]

---

Hackers Use Banner Ads on Major Sites to Hijack Your PC:

http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/news/2007/11/doubleclick [wired.com]

---

Ruskie gang hijacks Microsoft network to push penis pills:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/12/microsoft_ips_hijacked/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Major ISPs Injecting Ads, Vulnerabilities Into Web:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/08/04/19/2148215.shtml [slashdot.org]

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Two Major Ad Networks Found Serving Malware:

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/10/12/13/0128249/Two-Major-Ad-Networks-Found-Serving-Malware [slashdot.org]

---

THE NEXT AD YOU CLICK MAY BE A VIRUS:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/09/06/15/2056219/The-Next-Ad-You-Click-May-Be-a-Virus [slashdot.org]

---

NY TIMES INFECTED WITH MALWARE ADBANNER:

http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/09/13/2346229 [slashdot.org]

---

MICROSOFT HIT BY MALWARES IN ADBANNERS:

http://apcmag.com/microsoft_apologises_for_serving_malware.htm [apcmag.com]

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ISP's INJECTING ADS AND ERRORS INTO THE WEB: -> http://it.slashdot.org/it/08/04/19/2148215.shtml [slashdot.org]

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ADOBE FLASH ADS INJECTING MALWARE INTO THE NET: http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/08/20/0029220&from=rss [slashdot.org]

---

London Stock Exchange Web Site Serving Malware:

http://www.securityweek.com/london-stock-exchange-web-site-serving-malware [securityweek.com]

---

Spotify splattered with malware-tainted ads:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/25/spotify_malvertisement_attack/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

As my list "multiple evidences thereof" as to adbanners & viruses + the fact they slow you down & cost you more (from reputable & reliable sources no less)).

17.) Per point #16, a way to save some money: ANDROID phones can also use the HOSTS FILE TO KEEP DOWN BILLABLE TIME ONLINE, vs. adbanners or malware such as this:

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Infected Androids Run Up Big Texting Bills:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/03/01/0041203/Infected-Androids-Run-Up-Big-Texting-Bills [slashdot.org]

---

AND, for protection vs. other "botnets" migrating from the PC world, to "smartphones" such as ZITMO (a ZEUS botnet variant):

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=ZITMO&btnG=Google+Search [google.com]

---

It's easily done too, via the ADB dev. tool, & mounting ANDROID OS' system mountpoint for system/etc as READ + WRITE/ADMIN-ROOT PERMISSIONS, then copying your new custom HOSTS over the old one using ADB PULL/ADB PUSH to do so (otherwise ANDROID complains of "this file cannot be overwritten on production models of this Operating System", or something very along those lines - this way gets you around that annoyance along with you possibly having to clear some space there yourself if you packed it with things!).

18.) Bad news: ADBLOCK CAN BE DETECTED FOR: See here on that note -> http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/03/why-ad-blocking-is-devastating-to-the-sites-you-love.ars [arstechnica.com]

HOSTS files are NOT THAT EASILY "webbug" BLOCKABLE by websites, as was tried on users by ARSTECHNICA (and it worked on AdBlock in that manner), to that websites' users' dismay:

PERTINENT QUOTE/EXCERPT FROM ARSTECHNICA THEMSELVES:

----

An experiment gone wrong - By Ken Fisher | Last updated March 6, 2010 11:11 AM

http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/03/why-ad-blocking-is-devastating-to-the-sites-you-love.ars [arstechnica.com]

"Starting late Friday afternoon we conducted a 12 hour experiment to see if it would be possible to simply make content disappear for visitors who were using a very popular ad blocking tool. Technologically, it was a success in that it worked. Ad blockers, and only ad blockers, couldn't see our content."

and

"Our experiment is over, and we're glad we did it because it led to us learning that we needed to communicate our point of view every once in a while. Sure, some people told us we deserved to die in a fire. But that's the Internet!"

Thus, as you can see? Well - THAT all "went over like a lead balloon" with their users in other words, because Arstechnica was forced to change it back to the old way where ADBLOCK still could work to do its job (REDDIT however, has not, for example). However/Again - this is proof that HOSTS files can still do the job, blocking potentially malscripted ads (or ads in general because they slow you down) vs. adblockers like ADBLOCK!

----

19.) Even WIKILEAKS "favors" blacklists (because they work, and HOSTS can be a blacklist vs. known BAD sites/servers/domain-host names):

---

PERTINENT QUOTE/EXCERPT (from -> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/16/wikileaks_mirror_malware_warning_row/ [theregister.co.uk] )

"we are in favour of 'Blacklists', be it for mail servers or websites, they have to be compiled with care... Fortunately, more responsible blacklists, like stopbadware.org (which protects the Firefox browser)...

---

20.) AND, LASTLY? SINCE MALWARE GENERALLY HAS TO OPERATE ON WHAT YOU YOURSELF CAN DO (running as limited class/least privlege user, hopefully, OR even as ADMIN/ROOT/SUPERUSER)? HOSTS "LOCK IN" malware too, vs. communicating "back to mama" for orders (provided they have name servers + C&C botnet servers listed in them, blocked off in your HOSTS that is) - you might think they use a hardcoded IP, which IS possible, but generally they do not & RECYCLE domain/host names they own (such as has been seen with the RBN (Russian Business Network) lately though it was considered "dead", other malwares are using its domains/hostnames now, & this? This stops that cold, too - Bonus!)...

21.) Custom HOSTS files gain users back more "screen real estate" by blocking out banner ads... it's great on PC's for speed along with MORE of what I want to see/read (not ads), & efficiency too, but EVEN BETTER ON SMARTPHONES - by far. It matters MOST there imo @ least, in regards to extra screen real-estate.

Still - It's a GOOD idea to layer in the usage of BOTH browser addons for security like adblock ( http://adblockplus.org/en/ [adblockplus.org] ), IE 9's new TPL's ( http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Browser/TrackingProtectionLists/ [microsoft.com] ), &/or NoScript ( http://noscript.net/ [noscript.net] especially this one, as it covers what HOSTS files can't in javascript which is the main deliverer of MOST attacks online & SECUNIA.COM can verify this for anyone really by looking @ the past few years of attacks nowadays), for the concept of "layered security"....

It's just that HOSTS files offer you a LOT MORE gains than Adblock ( http://adblockplus.org/en/ [adblockplus.org] ) does alone (as hosts do things adblock just plain cannot & on more programs, for more speed, security, and "stealth" to a degree even), and it corrects problems in DNS (as shown above via hardcodes of your favorite sites into your HOSTS file, and more (such as avoiding DNS request logs)).

ALSO - Some more notes on DNS servers & their problems, very recent + ongoing ones:

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DNS flaw reanimates slain evil sites as ghost domains:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/16/ghost_domains_dns_vuln/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

BIND vs. what the Chinese are doing to DNS lately? See here:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/11/29/1755230/Chinese-DNS-Tampering-a-Real-Threat-To-Outsiders [slashdot.org]

---

SECUNIA HIT BY DNS REDIRECTION HACK THIS WEEK:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/26/secunia_back_from_dns_hack/ [theregister.co.uk]

(Yes, even "security pros" are helpless vs. DNS problems in code bugs OR redirect DNS poisoning issues, & they can only try to "set the DNS record straight" & then, they still have to wait for corrected DNS info. to propogate across all subordinate DNS servers too - lagtime in which folks DO get "abused" in mind you!)

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DNS vs. the "Kaminsky DNS flaw", here (and even MORE problems in DNS than just that):

http://www.scmagazineus.com/new-bind-9-dns-flaw-is-worse-than-kaminskys/article/140872/ [scmagazineus.com]

(Seems others are saying that some NEW "Bind9 flaw" is worse than the Kaminsky flaw ALONE, up there, mind you... probably corrected (hopefully), but it shows yet again, DNS hassles (DNS redirect/DNS poisoning) being exploited!)

---

Moxie Marlinspike's found others (0 hack) as well...

Nope... "layered security" truly IS the "way to go" - hacker/cracker types know it, & they do NOT want the rest of us knowing it too!...

(So until DNSSEC takes "widespread adoption"? HOSTS are your answer vs. such types of attack, because the 1st thing your system refers to, by default, IS your HOSTS file (over say, DNS server usage). There are decent DNS servers though, such as OpenDNS, ScrubIT, or even NORTON DNS (more on each specifically below), & because I cannot "cache the entire internet" in a HOSTS file? I opt to use those, because I have to (& OpenDNS has been noted to "fix immediately", per the Kaminsky flaw, in fact... just as a sort of reference to how WELL they are maintained really!)

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DNS Hijacks Now Being Used to Serve Black Hole Exploit Kit:

https://threatpost.com/en_us/blogs/dns-hijacks-now-being-used-serve-black-hole-exploit-kit-121211 [threatpost.com]

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DNS experts admit some of the underlying foundations of the DNS protocol are inherently weak:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/12/08/1353203/opendns-releases-dns-encryption-tool [slashdot.org]

---

Potential 0-Day Vulnerability For BIND 9:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/11/17/1429259/potential-0-day-vulnerability-for-bind-9 [slashdot.org]

---

Five DNS Threats You Should Protect Against:

http://www.securityweek.com/five-dns-threats-you-should-protect-against [securityweek.com]

---

DNS provider decked by DDoS dastards:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/16/ddos_on_dns_firm/ [theregister.co.uk]

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Ten Percent of DNS Servers Still Vulnerable: (so much for "conscientious patching", eh? Many DNS providers weren't patching when they had to!)

http://it.slashdot.org/it/05/08/04/1525235.shtml?tid=172&tid=95&tid=218 [slashdot.org]

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DNS ROOT SERVERS ATTACKED:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/07/02/06/2238225.shtml [slashdot.org]

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TimeWarner DNS Hijacking:

http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/23/2140208 [slashdot.org]

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DNS Re-Binding Attacks:

http://crypto.stanford.edu/dns/ [stanford.edu]

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DNS Server Survey Reveals Mixed Security Picture:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/07/11/21/0315239.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

Halvar figured out super-secret DNS vulnerability:

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/has-halvar-figured-out-super-secret-dns-vulnerability/1520 [zdnet.com]

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BIND Still Susceptible To DNS Cache Poisoning:

http://tech.slashdot.org/tech/08/08/09/123222.shtml [slashdot.org]

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DNS Poisoning Hits One of China's Biggest ISPs:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/08/08/21/2343250.shtml [slashdot.org]

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DDoS Attacks Via DNS Recursion:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/06/03/16/1658209.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

High Severity BIND DNS Vulnerability Advisory Issued:

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/02/23/156212/High-Severity-BIND-Vulnerability-Advisory-Issued [slashdot.org]

---

Photobucket's DNS Records Hijacked:

http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=1285 [zdnet.com]

---

Protecting Browsers from DNS Rebinding Attacks:

http://crypto.stanford.edu/dns/ [stanford.edu]

---

DNS Problem Linked To DDoS Attacks Gets Worse:

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/09/11/15/1238210/DNS-Problem-Linked-To-DDoS-Attacks-Gets-Worse [slashdot.org]

---

HOWEVER - Some DNS servers are "really good stuff" vs. phishing, known bad sites/servers/hosts-domains that serve up malware-in-general & malicious scripting, botnet C&C servers, & more, such as:

Norton DNS -> http://nortondns.com/ [nortondns.com]
ScrubIT DNS -> http://www.scrubit.com/ [scrubit.com]
OpenDNS -> http://www.opendns.com/ [opendns.com]

(Norton DNS in particular, is exclusively for blocking out malware, for those of you that are security-conscious. ScrubIT filters pr0n material too, but does the same, & OpenDNS does phishing protection. Each page lists how & why they work, & why they do so. Norton DNS can even show you its exceptions lists, plus user reviews & removal procedures requests, AND growth stats (every 1/2 hour or so) here -> http://safeweb.norton.com/buzz [norton.com] so, that ought to "take care of the naysayers" on removal requests, &/or methods used plus updates frequency etc./et al...)

HOWEVER - There's ONLY 1 WEAKNESS TO ANY network defense, including HOSTS files (vs. host-domain name based threats) & firewalls (hardware router type OR software type, vs. IP address based threats): Human beings, & they not being 'disciplined' about the indiscriminate usage of javascript (the main "harbinger of doom" out there today online), OR, what they download for example... & there is NOTHING I can do about that! (Per Dr. Manhattan of "The Watchmen", ala -> "I can change almost anything, but I can't change human nature")

HOWEVER AGAIN - That's where NORTON DNS, OpenDNS, &/or ScrubIT DNS help!

(Especially for noob/grandma level users who are unaware of how to secure themselves in fact, per a guide like mine noted above that uses "layered-security" principles!)

ScrubIT DNS, &/or OpenDNS are others alongside Norton DNS (adding on phishing protection too) as well!

( & it's possible to use ALL THREE in your hardware NAT routers, and, in your Local Area Connection DNS properties in Windows, for again, "Layered Security" too)...

---

24++ SLASHDOT USERS EXPERIENCING SUCCESS USING HOSTS FILES QUOTED VERBATIM:

---

"Ever since I've installed a host file (http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm) to redirect advertisers to my loopback, I haven't had any malware, spyware, or adware issues. I first started using the host file 5 years ago." - by TestedDoughnut (1324447) on Monday December 13, @12:18AM (#34532122)

"I use a custom /etc/hosts to block ads... my file gets parsed basically instantly ... So basically, for any modern computer, it has zero visible impact. And even if it took, say, a second to parse, that would be more than offset by the MANY seconds saved by not downloading and rendering ads. I have noticed NO ill effects from running a custom /etc/hosts file for the last several years. And as a matter of fact I DO run http servers on my computers and I've never had an /etc/hosts-related problem... it FUCKING WORKS and makes my life better overall." - by sootman (158191) on Monday July 13 2009, @11:47AM (#28677363) Homepage Journal

"I actually went and downloaded a 16k line hosts file and started using that after seeing that post, you know just for trying it out. some sites load up faster." - by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday November 17, @11:20AM (#38086752) Homepage Journal

"Better than an ad blocker, imo. Hosts file entries: http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org] " - by TempestRose (1187397) on Tuesday March 15, @12:53PM (#35493274)

"^^ One of the many reasons why I like the user-friendliness of the /etc/hosts file." - by lennier1 (264730) on Saturday March 05, @09:26PM (#35393448)

"They've been on my HOSTS block for years" - by ScottCooperDotNet (929575) on Thursday August 05 2010, @01:52AM (#33147212)

"I'm currently only using my hosts file to block pheedo ads from showing up in my RSS feeds and causing them to take forever to load. Regardless of its original intent, it's still a valid tool, when used judiciously." - by Bill Dog (726542) on Monday April 25, @02:16AM (#35927050) Homepage Journal

"you're right about hosts files" - by drinkypoo (153816) on Thursday May 26, @01:21PM (#36252958) Homepage

"APK's monolithic hosts file is looking pretty good at the moment." - by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday November 17, @10:08AM (#38085666)

"I also use the MVPS ad blocking hosts file." - by Rick17JJ (744063) on Wednesday January 19, @03:04PM (#34931482)

"I use ad-Block and a hostfile" - by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Tuesday March 01, @10:11AM (#35346902)

"I do use Hosts, for a couple fake domains I use." - by icebraining (1313345) on Saturday December 11, @09:34AM (#34523012) Homepage

"It's a good write up on something everybody should use, why you were modded down is beyond me. Using a HOSTS file, ADblock is of no concern and they can do what they want." - by Trax3001BBS (2368736) on Monday December 12, @10:07PM (#38351398) Homepage Journal

"I want my surfing speed back so I block EVERY fucking ad. i.e. http://someonewhocares.org/hosts/ [someonewhocares.org] and http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm [mvps.org] FTW" - by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Tuesday December 13, @12:04PM (#38356782)

"Let me introduce you to the file: /etc/hosts" - by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Monday December 19, @05:03PM (#38427432)

"I use a hosts file" - by EdIII (1114411) on Tuesday December 13, @01:17PM (#38357816)

"I'm tempted to go for a hacked hosts file that simply resolves most advert sites to 127.0.0.1" - by bLanark (123342) on Tuesday December 13, @01:13PM (#38357760)

"this is not a troll, which hosts file source you recommend nowadays? it's a really handy method for speeding up web and it works." - by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday March 22, @08:07PM (#39446525) Homepage Journal

"A hosts file certainly does not require "a lot of work" to maintain, and it quite effectively kills a LOT of advertising and tracking schemes. . In fact, I never would have considered trying to use it for ddefending against viruses or malware." - by RocketRabbit (830691) on Thursday December 30 2010, @05:48PM (#34715060)

"That is, do the things you would normally do to secure your own machine from malware, intrusive advertising, and vulnerabilities. Use the hosts file to block certain domains from being accessible." - by wickerprints (1094741) on Friday June 22, @12:57AM (#40407865)

"Ad blocking hosts file, I use it as an adult ;-) http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm [mvps.org] " - by RJFerret (1279530) on Friday June 22, @01:15AM (#40407983) Homepage

"There is probably a decent list of domains out there that you can put in your hosts file so that lookups for these fail. I assume you're more concerned about accidental adverts and such, which is a fair concern considering how many sites have em" - by ieatcookies (1490517) on Friday June 22, @01:21AM (#40408005)

"I find mapping hosts to 0.0.0.0 is faster, because it's not a valid IP address, so the DNS subsystem of your OS will ignore it without trying to connect. There are several hostfile collections out there. I merged three of them several years ago just for my own freedom from ads and other junk. I currently have 131572 host names zero'd out." - by Dracos (107777) on Friday June 22, @01:34AM (#40408085)

"I also use linux a lot more now and, beyond a custom hosts file, don't have any active antivirus software beyond what comes with Ubuntu" - by sneakyimp (1161443) on Friday June 22, @04:26PM (#40416169)

---

Then, there is also the words of respected security expert, Mr. Oliver Day, from SECURITYFOCUS.COM to "top that all off" as well:

A RETURN TO THE KILLFILE:

http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/491 [securityfocus.com]

Some "PERTINENT QUOTES/EXCERPTS" to back up my points with (for starters):

---

"The host file on my day-to-day laptop is now over 16,000 lines long. Accessing the Internet -- particularly browsing the Web -- is actually faster now."

Speed, and security, is the gain... others like Mr. Day note it as well!

---

"From what I have seen in my research, major efforts to share lists of unwanted hosts began gaining serious momentum earlier this decade. The most popular appear to have started as a means to block advertising and as a way to avoid being tracked by sites that use cookies to gather data on the user across Web properties. More recently, projects like Spybot Search and Destroy offer lists of known malicious servers to add a layer of defense against trojans and other forms of malware."

Per my points exactly, no less... & guess who was posting about HOSTS files a 14++ yrs. or more back & Mr. Day was reading & now using? Yours truly (& this is one of the later ones, from 2001 http://www.furtherleft.net/computer.htm [furtherleft.net] (but the example HOSTS file with my initials in it is FAR older, circa 1998 or so) or thereabouts, and referred to later by a pal of mine who moderates NTCompatible.com (where I posted on HOSTS for YEARS (1997 onwards)) -> http://www.ntcompatible.com/thread28597-1.html [ntcompatible.com] !

---

"Shared host files could be beneficial for other groups as well. Human rights groups have sought after block resistant technologies for quite some time. The GoDaddy debacle with NMap creator Fyodor (corrected) showed a particularly vicious blocking mechanism using DNS registrars. Once a registrar pulls a website from its records, the world ceases to have an effective way to find it. Shared host files could provide a DNS-proof method of reaching sites, not to mention removing an additional vector of detection if anyone were trying to monitor the use of subversive sites. One of the known weaknesses of the Tor system, for example, is direct DNS requests by applications not configured to route such requests through Tor's network."

There you go: AND, it also works vs. the "KAMINSKY DNS FLAW" & DNS poisoning/redirect attacks, for redirectable weaknesses in DNS servers (non DNSSEC type, & set into recursive mode especially) and also in the TOR system as well (that lends itself to anonymous proxy usage weaknesses I noted above also) and, you'll get to sites you want to, even IF a DNS registrar drops said websites from its tables as shown here Beating Censorship By Routing Around DNS -> http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/12/09/1840246/Beating-Censorship-By-Routing-Around-DNS [slashdot.org] & even DNSBL also (DNS Block Lists) -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNSBL [wikipedia.org] as well - DOUBLE-BONUS!

---

* THE HOSTS FILE GROUP 34++ THUSFAR (from +5 -> +1 RATINGS, usually "informative" or "interesting" etc./et al):

BANNER ADS & BANDWIDTH:2011 -> http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2139088&cid=36077722 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1907266&cid=34529608 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1490078&cid=30555632 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1869638&cid=34237268 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1461288&threshold=-1&commentsort=0&mode=thread&cid=30272074 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1255487&cid=28197285 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1206409&cid=27661983 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1725068&cid=32960808 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1743902&cid=33147274 [slashdot.org]
APK 20++ POINTS ON HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1913212&cid=34576182 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1862260&cid=34186256 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 (w/ facebook known bad sites blocked) -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1924892&cid=34670128 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS FILE MOD UP FOR ANDROID MALWARE:2010 -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1930156&cid=34713952 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP ZEUSTRACKER:2011 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2059420&cid=35654066 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP vs AT&T BANDWIDTH CAP:2011 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2116504&cid=35985584 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP CAN DO SAME AS THE "CloudFlare" Server-Side service:2011 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2220314&cid=36372850 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS and BGP +5 RATED (BEING HONEST):2010 http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1901826&cid=34490450 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS & PROTECT IP ACT:2011 http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2368832&cid=37021700 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2011 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2457766&cid=37592458 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP & OPERA HAUTE SECURE:2011 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2457274&cid=37589596 [slashdot.org]
0.0.0.0 in HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1197039&cid=27556999 [slashdot.org]
0.0.0.0 IN HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1143349&cid=27012231 [slashdot.org]
0.0.0.0 in HOSTS:2009 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1198841&cid=27580299 [slashdot.org]
0.0.0.0 in HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1139705&cid=26977225 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1319261&cid=28872833 [slashdot.org] (still says INSIGHTFUL)
HOSTS MOD UP vs. botnet: 2012 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2603836&cid=38586216 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP vs. SOPA act: 2012 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2611414&cid=38639460 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP vs. FaceBook b.s.: 2012 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2614186&cid=38658078 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP "how to secure smartphones": 2012 -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2644205&cid=38860239 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP "Free Apps Eat your Battery via ad displays": 2012 -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2734503&cid=39408607 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP "How I only hardcode in 50 of my fav. sites": 2012 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2857487&cid=40034765 [slashdot.org]
APPLYING HOSTS TO DIFF. PLATFORM W/ TCP-IP STACK BASED ON BSD: 2008 -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1944892&cid=34831038 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS vs. TRACKING ONLINE BY ADVERTISERS & BETTER THAN GHOSTERY: 2012 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2926641&cid=40383743 [slashdot.org]

---

* "Here endeth the lesson..." and, if you REALLY want to secure your system? Please refer to this:

http://www.bing.com/search?q=%22HOW+TO+SECURE+Windows+2000%2FXP%22&go=&form=QBRE [bing.com]

APK

P.S.=> SOME MINOR "CAVEATS/CATCH-22's" - things to be aware of for "layered security" + HOSTS file performance - easily overcome, or not a problem at all:

A.) HOSTS files don't function under PROXY SERVERS (except for Proximitron, which has a filter that allows it) - Which is *the "WHY"* of why I state in my "P.S." section below to use both AdBlock type browser addon methods (or even built-in block lists browsers have such as Opera's URLFILTER.INI file, & FireFox has such as list as does IE also in the form of TPL (tracking protection lists -> http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Browser/TrackingProtectionLists/ [microsoft.com] , good stuff )) in combination with HOSTS, for the best in "layered security" (alongside .pac files + custom cascading style sheets that can filter off various tags such as scripts or ads etc.) - but proxies, especially "HIGHLY ANONYMOUS" types, generally slow you down to a CRAWL online (& personally, I cannot see using proxies "for the good" typically - as they allow "truly anonymous posting" & have bugs (such as TOR has been shown to have & be "bypassable/traceable" via its "onion routing" methods)).

B.) HOSTS files do NOT protect you vs. javascript (this only holds true IF you don't already have a bad site blocked out in your HOSTS file though, & the list of sites where you can obtain such lists to add to your HOSTS are above (& updated daily in many of them)).

C.) HOSTS files (relatively "largish ones") require you to turn off Windows' native "DNS local client cache service" (which has a problem in that it's designed with a non-redimensionable/resizeable list, array, or queue (DNS data loads into a C/C++ structure actually/afaik, which IS a form of array)) - mvps.org covers that in detail and how to easily do this in Windows (this is NOT a problem in Linux, & it's 1 thing I will give Linux over Windows, hands-down). Relatively "smallish" HOSTS files don't have this problem (mvps.org offers 2 types for this).

D.) HOSTS files, once read/loaded, once? GET CACHED! Right into the kernelmode diskcaching subsystem (fast & efficient RAM speed), for speed of access/re-access (@ system startup in older MS OS' like 2000, or, upon a users' 1st request that's "Webbound" via say, a webbrowser) gets read into either the DNS local caching client service (noted above), OR, if that's turned off? Into your local diskcache (like ANY file is), so it reads F A S T upon re-reads/subsequent reads (until it's changed in %WinDir%\system32\drivers\etc on Windows, which marks it "Dirty" & then it gets re-read + reloaded into the local diskcache again). This may cause a SMALL initial load 1 time lag upon reload though, depending on the size of your HOSTS file.

E.) HOSTS files don't protect vs. BGP exploits - Sorry, once it's out of your hands/machine + past any interior network + routers you have, the packets you send are out there into the ISP/BSP's hands - they're "the Agents" holding all the keys to the doorways at that point (h

Re:I do (+ malware, botnets, & more) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40533367)

Advertisers, botnet herders, malware makers, n' webmasters fear apk and downmod his post on hosts for no reasons and ran from his challenges to disprove his points on them point by point as he put them out. They ought to! How else would they make any money to buy women with, and you know they're in that sad situation in this life stuck with 2" penises.

I do (+ malware, botnets, & more) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40533305)

I use hosts files for "HBO Internet" here, no ads (see my 'p.s.' below, in detail, for your reference) to COMPLIMENT & OVERCOME PROBLEMS IN DNS & OTHER MECHANISMS LARGELY!

Custom hosts files gain me the following benefits (A short summary of where custom hosts files can be extremely useful):

---

1.) Blocking out malware/malscripted sites
2.) Blocking out Known sites-servers/hosts-domains that are known to serve up malware
3.) Blocking out Bogus DNS servers malware makers use
4.) Blocking out Botnet C&C servers
5.) Blocking out Bogus adbanners that are full of malicious script content
6.) Getting you back speed/bandwidth you paid for by blocking out adbanners + hardcoding in your favorite sites (faster than remote DNS server resolution)
7.) Added reliability (vs. downed or misdirect/poisoned DNS servers).
8.) Added "anonymity" (to an extent, vs. DNS request logs)
9.) The ability to bypass DNSBL's (DNS block lists you may not agree with).
10.) More screen "real estate" (since no more adbanners appear onscreen eating up CPU, Memory, & other forms of I/O too - bonus!)
11.) Truly UNIVERSAL PROTECTION (since any OS, even on smartphones, usually has a BSD drived IP stack).
12.) Faster & MORE EFFICIENT operation vs. browser plugins (which "layer on" ontop of Ring 3/RPL 3/usermode browsers - whereas the hosts file operates @ the Ring 0/RPL 0/Kernelmode of operation (far faster) as a filter for the IP stack itself...)
13.) Blocking out TRACKERS
14.) Custom hosts files work on ANY & ALL webbound apps (browser plugins do not).
15.) Custom hosts files offer a better, faster, more efficient way, & safer way to surf the web & are COMPLETELY controlled by the end-user of them.

---

* & FAR more... read on below IF you are interested (for detail).

AND, for those of you that run Microsoft Windows 32 or 64 bit? An automated hosts file creation & mgt. program:

http://securemecca.com/public/APKHostsFileInstaller/2012_06_01/APKHostsFileEngineInstaller32_64bit.exe.zip [securemecca.com]

(You simply extract its files to ANY folder you like (usually one you create for it, doesn't matter where, but you MUST run it as administrator (simple & the "read me" tab shows how easy THAT is to do))

What's it do for you?

It's a custom hosts file mgt. program that does the following for end users (Calling it "APK Hosts File Engine 5.0++") after it obtains custom hosts file data from 12 of the reputable & reliable sources listed below:

---

1.) Offers massively noticeable increased speed for websurfing via blocking adbanners

2.) Offers increased speed for users fav. sites by hardcoding them into the hosts file for faster IP address-to-host/domain name resolutions (which sites RARELY change their hosting providers, e.g.-> of 250 I do, only 6 have changed since 2006 - & when sites do because they found a less costly hosting provider? Then, they either email notify members, put up warnings on their pages, & do IP warnings & redirectors onto the former IP address range to protect vs. the unscrupulous criminal bidding on that range to buy it to steal from users of say, online banking or shopping sites).

3.) Better "Layered-Security"/"Defense-In-Depth" via blocking host-domain based attacks by KNOWN bad sites-servers that are known to do so (which IS, by far, the majority of what's used by both users (hence the existence of the faulty but for most part working DNS system), AND even by malware makers (since host-domain names are recyclable by they, & the RBN (Russian Business Network & others)) were doing it like mad with "less than scrupulous", or uncaring, hosting providers)

4.) Better 'anonymity' to an extent vs. DNS request logs (not vs. DPI ("deep packet inspection"))

5.) The ability to circumvent unjust DNSBL (DNS Block Lists) if unjust or inconveniences a user.

6.) Protection vs. online trackers

7.) Better security vs. the DNS system being "dns poisoned/redirected" (a known problem for recursive DNS servers via port 51/53 misdirection)

8.) Write protecting the hosts file every 1/2 second (supplementing UAC) - even if/when you move it from the default location via this registry entry (which if done, can function ALMOST like *NIX shadow passwords because of this program):

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\Tcpip\Parameters

And changing the "DataBasePath" parameter there (I do this moving it to a faster media, a "true SSD" using DDR-2 RAM, in the 4gb Gigabyte IRAM I have).

9.) Automatic downloading & Alphabetic sorting of hosts files' records entries (for easier end user mgt. manually) from 15 reliable sources (of 17 I actually use).

10.) Manual editing of all files used (hosts to import list, hosts itself in its default location of %windir%\system32\drivers\etc, the hosts files to import/download & process, & favorite sites to reverse dns ping to avoid DNS (noted above why)).

11.) Removal scanners (if the users decide to remove hosts entries from imported data they can check if the site is indeed known as bad or not (sometimes 'false positives' happen, or just bad entries, or sites clean themselves up after infestation due to vulnerable coding etc./et al)).

12.) Removal of bloating material in many hosts files like Comments (useless bulk in a hosts file that's "all business")

13.) Removal of bloating material in many hosts files like Trailing comments after records (produces duplicates)

14.) Removal of bloating material in many hosts files like Invalid TLD entries (program checks this in a BETTER method than the API call "PathIsURL")

15.) Removal of bloating material in many hosts files like Trims entries (vs. trailing blanks bloat on record entries)

16.) Removal of bloating material in many hosts files like the conversion of the larger & SLOWER 127.0.0.1 blocking "loopback adapter" address (slower due to larger size bytes wise to parse, & slower if loopback happens) to the smaller/faster to parse & load 0.0.0.0

17.) Uniformity of ALL entries in hosts (as to records inserted & format they use - reducing bloat AND repeated bloating entries).

18.) Filtration-Removal of sites that IF in a hosts file are KNOWN to cause problems on larger portals that use CDN etc.

19.) Custom hosts files protect ALL webbound programs, not just webbrowsers (like AdBlock addons, & it doesn't even block ALL adbanners by default anymore) & it does so @ a more efficient faster level (Ring 0/RPL 0/Kernelmode) acting merely as a filter for the PnP design IP stack, vs. the slower level webbrowser programs & their addons operate in (Ring 3/RPL 3/Usermode), which addons slow them even more by "layering on" parsing & processing that browser addons layer on.

20.) Custom hosts files also offer the speedup to favorite sites noted above, & even firewalls + browser addons do NOT offer that...

---

& MORE, in roughly 15 minutes runtime (on an Intel Core I7 920 Quad/4 core cpu @ 2.67ghz) & faster on faster CPU's (e.g. - Intel Core I7 3960 "extreme" 6-7 core CPUs = 7 minute runtime) & slower on slower CPU's (Intel 1.5ghz Celeron single core = 45 minutes).

* The malwarebytes/hpHosts site admin another person/site hosting it (Mr. Steven Burn, a competent coder in his own right), said it's "excellent" in fact and has seen its code too...

(Write him yourselves should anyone doubt any of this -> services@it-mate.co.uk , or see his site @ http://hosts-file.net/?s=Download [hosts-file.net] )

A Mr. Henry Hertz Hobbitt of securemecca.org &/or hostsfile.org can also verify that this program is safe - write him @ -> hhhobbit@securemecca.com

It'll be releasing soon to sites that host 64-bit programs (even though it also has a 32-bit model, line for line the same code except for 32 in place of 64 in its help file & user interface)!

I told myself (since i built it in late 2003 in version 1.0++ & have rebuilt it 5x since in Borland Delphi 3.0/5.0/7.0 32-bit & currently into 64-bit using Delphi XE2) IF things didn't get better on the "malware front", out it would go for the general public to get the above enumerated multiple & versatile benefits custom hosts yield for end users (mainly saving them money on speed + bandwidth they pay for each month as well as added "layered-security"/"defense-in-depth" AND reliability all noted above)

APK

P.S.=> Details of the above synopsis/short summary are as follows below:

21++ ADVANTAGES OF HOSTS FILES (over browser plugins for security, &/or DNS servers):

(Over AdBlock & DNS Servers ALONE 4 Security, Speed, Reliability, & Anonymity (to an extent vs. DNSBL's + DNS request logs)).

1.) HOSTS files are useable for all these purposes because they are present on all Operating Systems that have a BSD based IP stack (even ANDROID) and do adblocking for ANY webbrowser, email program, etc. (any webbound program). A truly "multi-platform" UNIVERSAL solution for added speed, security, reliability, & even anonymity to an extent (vs. DNS request logs + DNSBL's you feel are unjust hosts get you past/around).

2.) Adblock blocks ads? Well, not anymore & certainly not as well by default, apparently, lol - see below:

Adblock Plus To Offer 'Acceptable Ads' Option

http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/12/12/2213233/adblock-plus-to-offer-acceptable-ads-option [slashdot.org] )

AND, in only browsers & their subprogram families (ala email like Thunderbird for FireFox/Mozilla products (use same gecko & xulrunner engines)), but not all, or, all independent email clients, like Outlook, Outlook Express, OR Window "LIVE" mail (for example(s)) - there's many more like EUDORA & others I've used over time that AdBlock just DOES NOT COVER... period.

Disclaimer: Opera now also has an AdBlock addon (now that Opera has addons above widgets), but I am not certain the same people make it as they do for FF or Chrome etc..

3.) Adblock doesn't protect email programs external to FF (non-mozilla/gecko engine based) family based wares, So AdBlock doesn't protect email programs like Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows "LIVE" mail & others like them (EUDORA etc./et al), Hosts files do. THIS IS GOOD VS. SPAM MAIL or MAILS THAT BEAR MALICIOUS SCRIPT, or, THAT POINT TO MALICIOUS SCRIPT VIA URLS etc.

4.) Adblock won't get you to your favorite sites if a DNS server goes down or is DNS-poisoned, hosts will (this leads to points 5-7 next below, & especially vs. the July 12th 2012 "DNSChanger" trojan purge that's coming soon (those folks won't get to sites if infested - I will, due to hardcodes in my hosts file of my fav. 20 sites + using BETTER filtering DNS servers (see list below))...

5.) Adblock doesn't allow you to hardcode in your favorite websites into it so you don't make DNS server calls and so you can avoid tracking by DNS request logs, OR make you reach them faster since you resolve host-domain names LOCALLY w/ hosts out of cached memory, hosts do ALL of those things (DNS servers are also being abused by the Chinese lately and by the Kaminsky flaw -> http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/082908-kaminsky-flaw-prompts-dns-server.html [networkworld.com] for years now). Hosts protect against those problems via hardcodes of your fav sites (you should verify against the TLD that does nothing but cache IPAddress-to-domainname/hostname resolutions (in-addr.arpa) via NSLOOKUP, PINGS (ping -a in Windows - functions for "reverse DNS lookups"), &/or WHOIS though, regularly, so you have the correct IP & it's current)).

* NOW - Some folks MAY think that putting an IP address alone into your browser's address bar will be enough, so why bother with HOSTS, right? WRONG - Putting IP address in your browser won't always work IS WHY. Some IP adresses host several domains & need the site name to give you the right page you're after is why. So for some sites only the HOSTS file option will work!

6.) Hosts files don't eat up CPU cycles (or ELECTRICITY) like AdBlock does while it parses a webpages' content, nor as much as a DNS server does while it runs. HOSTS file are merely a FILTER for the kernel mode/PnP TCP/IP subsystem, which runs FAR FASTER & MORE EFFICIENTLY than any ring 3/rpl3/usermode app can since hosts files run in MORE EFFICIENT & FASTER Ring 0/RPL 0/Kernelmode operations acting merely as a filter for the IP stack (via the "Plug-N-Play" designed IP stack in Windows) vs. SLOWER & LESS EFFICIENT Ring 3/RPL 3/Usermode operations (which webbrowsers run in + their addons like AdBlock slow down even MORESO due to their parsing operations).

7.) HOSTS files will allow you to get to sites you like, via hardcoding your favs into a HOSTS file, FAR faster than remote DNS servers can by FAR (by saving the roundtrip inquiry time to a DNS server, typically 30-100's of ms, vs. 7-10ms HardDisk speed of access/seek + SSD seek in ns, & back to you - hosts resolutions of IP address for host-domain names is FAR faster...). Hosts are only a filter for an already fast & efficient IP stack, no more layered b.s. (remote OR local). Hosts eat less CPU, RAM, I/O in other forms, + electricity than a locally running DNS server easily, and less than a local DNS program on a single PC. Fact. Hosts are easier to setup & maintain too.

8.) AdBlock doesn't let you block out known bad sites or servers that are known to be maliciously scripted, hosts can and many reputable lists for this exist:

GOOD INFORMATION ON MALWARE BEHAVIOR LISTING BOTNET C&C SERVERS + MORE (AS WELL AS REMOVAL LISTS FOR HOSTS):

http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org]
http://someonewhocares.org/hosts/ [someonewhocares.org]
http://hostsfile.org/hosts.html [hostsfile.org]
http://hostsfile.mine.nu/downloads/ [hostsfile.mine.nu]
http://hosts-file.net/?s=Download [hosts-file.net]
https://zeustracker.abuse.ch/monitor.php?filter=online [abuse.ch]
https://spyeyetracker.abuse.ch/monitor.php [abuse.ch]
http://ddanchev.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]
http://www.malware.com.br/lists.shtml [malware.com.br]
http://www.stopbadware.org/ [stopbadware.org]
Spybot "Search & Destroy" IMMUNIZE feature (fortifies HOSTS files with KNOWN bad servers blocked)

And yes: Even SLASHDOT &/or The Register help!

(Via articles on security (when the source articles they use are "detailed" that is, & list the servers/sites involved in attempting to bushwhack others online that is... not ALL do!)).

2 examples thereof in the past I have used, & noted it there, are/were:

http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1898692&cid=34473398 [slashdot.org]
http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1896216&cid=34458500 [slashdot.org]

9.) AdBlock & DNS servers are programs, and subject to bugs programs can get. Hosts files are merely a filter and not a program, thus not subject to bugs of the nature just discussed.

10.) HOSTS files protect you vs. DNS-poisoning &/or the Kaminsky flaw in DNS servers, and allow you to get to sites reliably vs. things like the Chinese are doing to DNS -> http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/11/29/1755230/Chinese-DNS-Tampering-a-Real-Threat-To-Outsiders [slashdot.org]

11.) HOSTS files are EASILY user controlled, obtained (for reliable ones -> http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org] ) & edited too, via texteditors like Windows notepad.exe or Linux nano (etc.)

12.) With Adblock you had better be able to code javascript to play with its code (to customize it better than the GUI front does @ least). With hosts you don't even need source to control it (edit, update, delete, insert of new entries via a text editor).

13.) Hosts files are easily secured via using MAC/ACL (even moreso "automagically" for Vista, 7/Server 2008 + beyond by UAC by default) &/or Read-Only attributes applied.

14.) Custom HOSTS files also speed you up, unlike anonymous proxy servers systems variations (like TOR, or other "highly anonymous" proxy server list servers typically do, in the severe speed hit they often have a cost in) either via "hardcoding" your fav. sites into your hosts file (avoids DNS servers, totally) OR blocking out adbanners - see this below for evidence of that:

---

US Military Blocks Websites To Free Up Bandwidth:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/03/16/0416238/US-Military-Blocks-Websites-To-Free-Up-Bandwidth [slashdot.org]

(Yes, even the US Military used this type of technique... because IT WORKS! Most of what they blocked? Ad banners ala doubleclick etc.)

---

Adbanners slow you down & consume your bandwidth YOU pay for:

ADBANNERS SLOW DOWN THE WEB: -> http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/11/30/166218 [slashdot.org]

---

And people do NOT LIKE ads on the web:

PEOPLE DISLIKE ADBANNERS: http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/08/04/02/0058247.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

As well as this:

Users Know Advertisers Watch Them, and Hate It:

http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/08/04/02/0058247.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

Even WORSE still, is this:

Advertising Network Caught History Stealing:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/07/22/156225/Advertising-Network-Caught-History-Stealing [slashdot.org]

---

15.) HOSTS files usage lets you avoid being charged on some ISP/BSP's (OR phone providers) "pay as you use" policy http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/12/08/2012243/FCC-Approving-Pay-As-You-Go-Internet-Plans [slashdot.org] , because you are using less bandwidth (& go faster doing so no less) by NOT hauling in adbanner content and processing it (which can lead to infestation by malware/malicious script, in & of itself -> http://apcmag.com/microsoft_apologises_for_serving_malware.htm [apcmag.com] ).

16.) If/when ISP/BSP's decide to go to -> FCC Approving Pay-As-You-Go Internet Plans: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/12/08/2012243/FCC-Approving-Pay-As-You-Go-Internet-Plans [slashdot.org] your internet bill will go DOWN if you use a HOSTS file for blocking adbanners as well as maliciously scripted hacker/cracker malware maker sites too (after all - it's your money & time online downloading adbanner content & processing it)

Plus, your adbanner content? Well, it may also be hijacked with malicious code too mind you:

---

Yahoo, Microsoft's Bing display toxic ads:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/09/16/bing_yahoo_malware_ads/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Malware torrent delivered over Google, Yahoo! ad services:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/24/malware_ads_google_yahoo/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Google's DoubleClick spreads malicious ads (again):

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/24/doubleclick_distributes_malware/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Rogue ads infiltrate Expedia and Rhapsody:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/30/excite_and_rhapsody_rogue_ads/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Google sponsored links caught punting malware:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12/16/google_sponsored_links/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

DoubleClick caught supplying malware-tainted ads:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/13/doubleclick_distributes_malware/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Yahoo feeds Trojan-laced ads to MySpace and PhotoBucket users:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/09/11/yahoo_serves_12million_malware_ads/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Real Media attacks real people via RealPlayer:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/23/real_media_serves_malware/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Ad networks owned by Google, Microsoft serve malware:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/13/doubleclick_msn_malware_attacks/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Attacks Targeting Classified Ad Sites Surge:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/02/02/1433210/Attacks-Targeting-Classified-Ad-Sites-Surge [slashdot.org]

---

Hackers Respond To Help Wanted Ads With Malware:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/01/20/0228258/Hackers-Respond-To-Help-Wanted-Ads-With-Malware [slashdot.org]

---

Hackers Use Banner Ads on Major Sites to Hijack Your PC:

http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/news/2007/11/doubleclick [wired.com]

---

Ruskie gang hijacks Microsoft network to push penis pills:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/12/microsoft_ips_hijacked/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Major ISPs Injecting Ads, Vulnerabilities Into Web:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/08/04/19/2148215.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

Two Major Ad Networks Found Serving Malware:

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/10/12/13/0128249/Two-Major-Ad-Networks-Found-Serving-Malware [slashdot.org]

---

THE NEXT AD YOU CLICK MAY BE A VIRUS:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/09/06/15/2056219/The-Next-Ad-You-Click-May-Be-a-Virus [slashdot.org]

---

NY TIMES INFECTED WITH MALWARE ADBANNER:

http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/09/13/2346229 [slashdot.org]

---

MICROSOFT HIT BY MALWARES IN ADBANNERS:

http://apcmag.com/microsoft_apologises_for_serving_malware.htm [apcmag.com]

---

ISP's INJECTING ADS AND ERRORS INTO THE WEB: -> http://it.slashdot.org/it/08/04/19/2148215.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

ADOBE FLASH ADS INJECTING MALWARE INTO THE NET: http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/08/20/0029220&from=rss [slashdot.org]

---

London Stock Exchange Web Site Serving Malware:

http://www.securityweek.com/london-stock-exchange-web-site-serving-malware [securityweek.com]

---

Spotify splattered with malware-tainted ads:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/25/spotify_malvertisement_attack/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

As my list "multiple evidences thereof" as to adbanners & viruses + the fact they slow you down & cost you more (from reputable & reliable sources no less)).

17.) Per point #16, a way to save some money: ANDROID phones can also use the HOSTS FILE TO KEEP DOWN BILLABLE TIME ONLINE, vs. adbanners or malware such as this:

---

Infected Androids Run Up Big Texting Bills:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/03/01/0041203/Infected-Androids-Run-Up-Big-Texting-Bills [slashdot.org]

---

AND, for protection vs. other "botnets" migrating from the PC world, to "smartphones" such as ZITMO (a ZEUS botnet variant):

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=ZITMO&btnG=Google+Search [google.com]

---

It's easily done too, via the ADB dev. tool, & mounting ANDROID OS' system mountpoint for system/etc as READ + WRITE/ADMIN-ROOT PERMISSIONS, then copying your new custom HOSTS over the old one using ADB PULL/ADB PUSH to do so (otherwise ANDROID complains of "this file cannot be overwritten on production models of this Operating System", or something very along those lines - this way gets you around that annoyance along with you possibly having to clear some space there yourself if you packed it with things!).

18.) Bad news: ADBLOCK CAN BE DETECTED FOR: See here on that note -> http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/03/why-ad-blocking-is-devastating-to-the-sites-you-love.ars [arstechnica.com]

HOSTS files are NOT THAT EASILY "webbug" BLOCKABLE by websites, as was tried on users by ARSTECHNICA (and it worked on AdBlock in that manner), to that websites' users' dismay:

PERTINENT QUOTE/EXCERPT FROM ARSTECHNICA THEMSELVES:

----

An experiment gone wrong - By Ken Fisher | Last updated March 6, 2010 11:11 AM

http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2010/03/why-ad-blocking-is-devastating-to-the-sites-you-love.ars [arstechnica.com]

"Starting late Friday afternoon we conducted a 12 hour experiment to see if it would be possible to simply make content disappear for visitors who were using a very popular ad blocking tool. Technologically, it was a success in that it worked. Ad blockers, and only ad blockers, couldn't see our content."

and

"Our experiment is over, and we're glad we did it because it led to us learning that we needed to communicate our point of view every once in a while. Sure, some people told us we deserved to die in a fire. But that's the Internet!"

Thus, as you can see? Well - THAT all "went over like a lead balloon" with their users in other words, because Arstechnica was forced to change it back to the old way where ADBLOCK still could work to do its job (REDDIT however, has not, for example). However/Again - this is proof that HOSTS files can still do the job, blocking potentially malscripted ads (or ads in general because they slow you down) vs. adblockers like ADBLOCK!

----

19.) Even WIKILEAKS "favors" blacklists (because they work, and HOSTS can be a blacklist vs. known BAD sites/servers/domain-host names):

---

PERTINENT QUOTE/EXCERPT (from -> http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/12/16/wikileaks_mirror_malware_warning_row/ [theregister.co.uk] )

"we are in favour of 'Blacklists', be it for mail servers or websites, they have to be compiled with care... Fortunately, more responsible blacklists, like stopbadware.org (which protects the Firefox browser)...

---

20.) AND, LASTLY? SINCE MALWARE GENERALLY HAS TO OPERATE ON WHAT YOU YOURSELF CAN DO (running as limited class/least privlege user, hopefully, OR even as ADMIN/ROOT/SUPERUSER)? HOSTS "LOCK IN" malware too, vs. communicating "back to mama" for orders (provided they have name servers + C&C botnet servers listed in them, blocked off in your HOSTS that is) - you might think they use a hardcoded IP, which IS possible, but generally they do not & RECYCLE domain/host names they own (such as has been seen with the RBN (Russian Business Network) lately though it was considered "dead", other malwares are using its domains/hostnames now, & this? This stops that cold, too - Bonus!)...

21.) Custom HOSTS files gain users back more "screen real estate" by blocking out banner ads... it's great on PC's for speed along with MORE of what I want to see/read (not ads), & efficiency too, but EVEN BETTER ON SMARTPHONES - by far. It matters MOST there imo @ least, in regards to extra screen real-estate.

Still - It's a GOOD idea to layer in the usage of BOTH browser addons for security like adblock ( http://adblockplus.org/en/ [adblockplus.org] ), IE 9's new TPL's ( http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Browser/TrackingProtectionLists/ [microsoft.com] ), &/or NoScript ( http://noscript.net/ [noscript.net] especially this one, as it covers what HOSTS files can't in javascript which is the main deliverer of MOST attacks online & SECUNIA.COM can verify this for anyone really by looking @ the past few years of attacks nowadays), for the concept of "layered security"....

It's just that HOSTS files offer you a LOT MORE gains than Adblock ( http://adblockplus.org/en/ [adblockplus.org] ) does alone (as hosts do things adblock just plain cannot & on more programs, for more speed, security, and "stealth" to a degree even), and it corrects problems in DNS (as shown above via hardcodes of your favorite sites into your HOSTS file, and more (such as avoiding DNS request logs)).

ALSO - Some more notes on DNS servers & their problems, very recent + ongoing ones:

---

DNS flaw reanimates slain evil sites as ghost domains:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/16/ghost_domains_dns_vuln/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

BIND vs. what the Chinese are doing to DNS lately? See here:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/11/29/1755230/Chinese-DNS-Tampering-a-Real-Threat-To-Outsiders [slashdot.org]

---

SECUNIA HIT BY DNS REDIRECTION HACK THIS WEEK:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/26/secunia_back_from_dns_hack/ [theregister.co.uk]

(Yes, even "security pros" are helpless vs. DNS problems in code bugs OR redirect DNS poisoning issues, & they can only try to "set the DNS record straight" & then, they still have to wait for corrected DNS info. to propogate across all subordinate DNS servers too - lagtime in which folks DO get "abused" in mind you!)

---

DNS vs. the "Kaminsky DNS flaw", here (and even MORE problems in DNS than just that):

http://www.scmagazineus.com/new-bind-9-dns-flaw-is-worse-than-kaminskys/article/140872/ [scmagazineus.com]

(Seems others are saying that some NEW "Bind9 flaw" is worse than the Kaminsky flaw ALONE, up there, mind you... probably corrected (hopefully), but it shows yet again, DNS hassles (DNS redirect/DNS poisoning) being exploited!)

---

Moxie Marlinspike's found others (0 hack) as well...

Nope... "layered security" truly IS the "way to go" - hacker/cracker types know it, & they do NOT want the rest of us knowing it too!...

(So until DNSSEC takes "widespread adoption"? HOSTS are your answer vs. such types of attack, because the 1st thing your system refers to, by default, IS your HOSTS file (over say, DNS server usage). There are decent DNS servers though, such as OpenDNS, ScrubIT, or even NORTON DNS (more on each specifically below), & because I cannot "cache the entire internet" in a HOSTS file? I opt to use those, because I have to (& OpenDNS has been noted to "fix immediately", per the Kaminsky flaw, in fact... just as a sort of reference to how WELL they are maintained really!)

---

DNS Hijacks Now Being Used to Serve Black Hole Exploit Kit:

https://threatpost.com/en_us/blogs/dns-hijacks-now-being-used-serve-black-hole-exploit-kit-121211 [threatpost.com]

---

DNS experts admit some of the underlying foundations of the DNS protocol are inherently weak:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/12/08/1353203/opendns-releases-dns-encryption-tool [slashdot.org]

---

Potential 0-Day Vulnerability For BIND 9:

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/11/17/1429259/potential-0-day-vulnerability-for-bind-9 [slashdot.org]

---

Five DNS Threats You Should Protect Against:

http://www.securityweek.com/five-dns-threats-you-should-protect-against [securityweek.com]

---

DNS provider decked by DDoS dastards:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/16/ddos_on_dns_firm/ [theregister.co.uk]

---

Ten Percent of DNS Servers Still Vulnerable: (so much for "conscientious patching", eh? Many DNS providers weren't patching when they had to!)

http://it.slashdot.org/it/05/08/04/1525235.shtml?tid=172&tid=95&tid=218 [slashdot.org]

---

DNS ROOT SERVERS ATTACKED:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/07/02/06/2238225.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

TimeWarner DNS Hijacking:

http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/23/2140208 [slashdot.org]

---

DNS Re-Binding Attacks:

http://crypto.stanford.edu/dns/ [stanford.edu]

---

DNS Server Survey Reveals Mixed Security Picture:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/07/11/21/0315239.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

Halvar figured out super-secret DNS vulnerability:

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/has-halvar-figured-out-super-secret-dns-vulnerability/1520 [zdnet.com]

---

BIND Still Susceptible To DNS Cache Poisoning:

http://tech.slashdot.org/tech/08/08/09/123222.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

DNS Poisoning Hits One of China's Biggest ISPs:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/08/08/21/2343250.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

DDoS Attacks Via DNS Recursion:

http://it.slashdot.org/it/06/03/16/1658209.shtml [slashdot.org]

---

High Severity BIND DNS Vulnerability Advisory Issued:

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/02/23/156212/High-Severity-BIND-Vulnerability-Advisory-Issued [slashdot.org]

---

Photobucket's DNS Records Hijacked:

http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=1285 [zdnet.com]

---

Protecting Browsers from DNS Rebinding Attacks:

http://crypto.stanford.edu/dns/ [stanford.edu]

---

DNS Problem Linked To DDoS Attacks Gets Worse:

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/09/11/15/1238210/DNS-Problem-Linked-To-DDoS-Attacks-Gets-Worse [slashdot.org]

---

HOWEVER - Some DNS servers are "really good stuff" vs. phishing, known bad sites/servers/hosts-domains that serve up malware-in-general & malicious scripting, botnet C&C servers, & more, such as:

Norton DNS -> http://nortondns.com/ [nortondns.com]
ScrubIT DNS -> http://www.scrubit.com/ [scrubit.com]
OpenDNS -> http://www.opendns.com/ [opendns.com]

(Norton DNS in particular, is exclusively for blocking out malware, for those of you that are security-conscious. ScrubIT filters pr0n material too, but does the same, & OpenDNS does phishing protection. Each page lists how & why they work, & why they do so. Norton DNS can even show you its exceptions lists, plus user reviews & removal procedures requests, AND growth stats (every 1/2 hour or so) here -> http://safeweb.norton.com/buzz [norton.com] so, that ought to "take care of the naysayers" on removal requests, &/or methods used plus updates frequency etc./et al...)

HOWEVER - There's ONLY 1 WEAKNESS TO ANY network defense, including HOSTS files (vs. host-domain name based threats) & firewalls (hardware router type OR software type, vs. IP address based threats): Human beings, & they not being 'disciplined' about the indiscriminate usage of javascript (the main "harbinger of doom" out there today online), OR, what they download for example... & there is NOTHING I can do about that! (Per Dr. Manhattan of "The Watchmen", ala -> "I can change almost anything, but I can't change human nature")

HOWEVER AGAIN - That's where NORTON DNS, OpenDNS, &/or ScrubIT DNS help!

(Especially for noob/grandma level users who are unaware of how to secure themselves in fact, per a guide like mine noted above that uses "layered-security" principles!)

ScrubIT DNS, &/or OpenDNS are others alongside Norton DNS (adding on phishing protection too) as well!

( & it's possible to use ALL THREE in your hardware NAT routers, and, in your Local Area Connection DNS properties in Windows, for again, "Layered Security" too)...

---

24++ SLASHDOT USERS EXPERIENCING SUCCESS USING HOSTS FILES QUOTED VERBATIM:

---

"Ever since I've installed a host file (http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm) to redirect advertisers to my loopback, I haven't had any malware, spyware, or adware issues. I first started using the host file 5 years ago." - by TestedDoughnut (1324447) on Monday December 13, @12:18AM (#34532122)

"I use a custom /etc/hosts to block ads... my file gets parsed basically instantly ... So basically, for any modern computer, it has zero visible impact. And even if it took, say, a second to parse, that would be more than offset by the MANY seconds saved by not downloading and rendering ads. I have noticed NO ill effects from running a custom /etc/hosts file for the last several years. And as a matter of fact I DO run http servers on my computers and I've never had an /etc/hosts-related problem... it FUCKING WORKS and makes my life better overall." - by sootman (158191) on Monday July 13 2009, @11:47AM (#28677363) Homepage Journal

"I actually went and downloaded a 16k line hosts file and started using that after seeing that post, you know just for trying it out. some sites load up faster." - by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday November 17, @11:20AM (#38086752) Homepage Journal

"Better than an ad blocker, imo. Hosts file entries: http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org] " - by TempestRose (1187397) on Tuesday March 15, @12:53PM (#35493274)

"^^ One of the many reasons why I like the user-friendliness of the /etc/hosts file." - by lennier1 (264730) on Saturday March 05, @09:26PM (#35393448)

"They've been on my HOSTS block for years" - by ScottCooperDotNet (929575) on Thursday August 05 2010, @01:52AM (#33147212)

"I'm currently only using my hosts file to block pheedo ads from showing up in my RSS feeds and causing them to take forever to load. Regardless of its original intent, it's still a valid tool, when used judiciously." - by Bill Dog (726542) on Monday April 25, @02:16AM (#35927050) Homepage Journal

"you're right about hosts files" - by drinkypoo (153816) on Thursday May 26, @01:21PM (#36252958) Homepage

"APK's monolithic hosts file is looking pretty good at the moment." - by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday November 17, @10:08AM (#38085666)

"I also use the MVPS ad blocking hosts file." - by Rick17JJ (744063) on Wednesday January 19, @03:04PM (#34931482)

"I use ad-Block and a hostfile" - by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Tuesday March 01, @10:11AM (#35346902)

"I do use Hosts, for a couple fake domains I use." - by icebraining (1313345) on Saturday December 11, @09:34AM (#34523012) Homepage

"It's a good write up on something everybody should use, why you were modded down is beyond me. Using a HOSTS file, ADblock is of no concern and they can do what they want." - by Trax3001BBS (2368736) on Monday December 12, @10:07PM (#38351398) Homepage Journal

"I want my surfing speed back so I block EVERY fucking ad. i.e. http://someonewhocares.org/hosts/ [someonewhocares.org] and http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm [mvps.org] FTW" - by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Tuesday December 13, @12:04PM (#38356782)

"Let me introduce you to the file: /etc/hosts" - by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Monday December 19, @05:03PM (#38427432)

"I use a hosts file" - by EdIII (1114411) on Tuesday December 13, @01:17PM (#38357816)

"I'm tempted to go for a hacked hosts file that simply resolves most advert sites to 127.0.0.1" - by bLanark (123342) on Tuesday December 13, @01:13PM (#38357760)

"this is not a troll, which hosts file source you recommend nowadays? it's a really handy method for speeding up web and it works." - by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday March 22, @08:07PM (#39446525) Homepage Journal

"A hosts file certainly does not require "a lot of work" to maintain, and it quite effectively kills a LOT of advertising and tracking schemes. . In fact, I never would have considered trying to use it for ddefending against viruses or malware." - by RocketRabbit (830691) on Thursday December 30 2010, @05:48PM (#34715060)

"That is, do the things you would normally do to secure your own machine from malware, intrusive advertising, and vulnerabilities. Use the hosts file to block certain domains from being accessible." - by wickerprints (1094741) on Friday June 22, @12:57AM (#40407865)

"Ad blocking hosts file, I use it as an adult ;-) http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm [mvps.org] " - by RJFerret (1279530) on Friday June 22, @01:15AM (#40407983) Homepage

"There is probably a decent list of domains out there that you can put in your hosts file so that lookups for these fail. I assume you're more concerned about accidental adverts and such, which is a fair concern considering how many sites have em" - by ieatcookies (1490517) on Friday June 22, @01:21AM (#40408005)

"I find mapping hosts to 0.0.0.0 is faster, because it's not a valid IP address, so the DNS subsystem of your OS will ignore it without trying to connect. There are several hostfile collections out there. I merged three of them several years ago just for my own freedom from ads and other junk. I currently have 131572 host names zero'd out." - by Dracos (107777) on Friday June 22, @01:34AM (#40408085)

"I also use linux a lot more now and, beyond a custom hosts file, don't have any active antivirus software beyond what comes with Ubuntu" - by sneakyimp (1161443) on Friday June 22, @04:26PM (#40416169)

---

Then, there is also the words of respected security expert, Mr. Oliver Day, from SECURITYFOCUS.COM to "top that all off" as well:

A RETURN TO THE KILLFILE:

http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/491 [securityfocus.com]

Some "PERTINENT QUOTES/EXCERPTS" to back up my points with (for starters):

---

"The host file on my day-to-day laptop is now over 16,000 lines long. Accessing the Internet -- particularly browsing the Web -- is actually faster now."

Speed, and security, is the gain... others like Mr. Day note it as well!

---

"From what I have seen in my research, major efforts to share lists of unwanted hosts began gaining serious momentum earlier this decade. The most popular appear to have started as a means to block advertising and as a way to avoid being tracked by sites that use cookies to gather data on the user across Web properties. More recently, projects like Spybot Search and Destroy offer lists of known malicious servers to add a layer of defense against trojans and other forms of malware."

Per my points exactly, no less... & guess who was posting about HOSTS files a 14++ yrs. or more back & Mr. Day was reading & now using? Yours truly (& this is one of the later ones, from 2001 http://www.furtherleft.net/computer.htm [furtherleft.net] (but the example HOSTS file with my initials in it is FAR older, circa 1998 or so) or thereabouts, and referred to later by a pal of mine who moderates NTCompatible.com (where I posted on HOSTS for YEARS (1997 onwards)) -> http://www.ntcompatible.com/thread28597-1.html [ntcompatible.com] !

---

"Shared host files could be beneficial for other groups as well. Human rights groups have sought after block resistant technologies for quite some time. The GoDaddy debacle with NMap creator Fyodor (corrected) showed a particularly vicious blocking mechanism using DNS registrars. Once a registrar pulls a website from its records, the world ceases to have an effective way to find it. Shared host files could provide a DNS-proof method of reaching sites, not to mention removing an additional vector of detection if anyone were trying to monitor the use of subversive sites. One of the known weaknesses of the Tor system, for example, is direct DNS requests by applications not configured to route such requests through Tor's network."

There you go: AND, it also works vs. the "KAMINSKY DNS FLAW" & DNS poisoning/redirect attacks, for redirectable weaknesses in DNS servers (non DNSSEC type, & set into recursive mode especially) and also in the TOR system as well (that lends itself to anonymous proxy usage weaknesses I noted above also) and, you'll get to sites you want to, even IF a DNS registrar drops said websites from its tables as shown here Beating Censorship By Routing Around DNS -> http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/12/09/1840246/Beating-Censorship-By-Routing-Around-DNS [slashdot.org] & even DNSBL also (DNS Block Lists) -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNSBL [wikipedia.org] as well - DOUBLE-BONUS!

---

* THE HOSTS FILE GROUP 34++ THUSFAR (from +5 -> +1 RATINGS, usually "informative" or "interesting" etc./et al):

BANNER ADS & BANDWIDTH:2011 -> http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2139088&cid=36077722 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1907266&cid=34529608 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1490078&cid=30555632 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1869638&cid=34237268 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1461288&threshold=-1&commentsort=0&mode=thread&cid=30272074 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1255487&cid=28197285 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1206409&cid=27661983 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1725068&cid=32960808 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1743902&cid=33147274 [slashdot.org]
APK 20++ POINTS ON HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1913212&cid=34576182 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1862260&cid=34186256 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2010 (w/ facebook known bad sites blocked) -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1924892&cid=34670128 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS FILE MOD UP FOR ANDROID MALWARE:2010 -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1930156&cid=34713952 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP ZEUSTRACKER:2011 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2059420&cid=35654066 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP vs AT&T BANDWIDTH CAP:2011 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2116504&cid=35985584 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP CAN DO SAME AS THE "CloudFlare" Server-Side service:2011 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2220314&cid=36372850 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS and BGP +5 RATED (BEING HONEST):2010 http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1901826&cid=34490450 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS & PROTECT IP ACT:2011 http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2368832&cid=37021700 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2011 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2457766&cid=37592458 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP & OPERA HAUTE SECURE:2011 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2457274&cid=37589596 [slashdot.org]
0.0.0.0 in HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1197039&cid=27556999 [slashdot.org]
0.0.0.0 IN HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1143349&cid=27012231 [slashdot.org]
0.0.0.0 in HOSTS:2009 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1198841&cid=27580299 [slashdot.org]
0.0.0.0 in HOSTS:2009 -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1139705&cid=26977225 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP:2009 -> http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1319261&cid=28872833 [slashdot.org] (still says INSIGHTFUL)
HOSTS MOD UP vs. botnet: 2012 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2603836&cid=38586216 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP vs. SOPA act: 2012 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2611414&cid=38639460 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP vs. FaceBook b.s.: 2012 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2614186&cid=38658078 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP "how to secure smartphones": 2012 -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2644205&cid=38860239 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP "Free Apps Eat your Battery via ad displays": 2012 -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2734503&cid=39408607 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS MOD UP "How I only hardcode in 50 of my fav. sites": 2012 -> http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2857487&cid=40034765 [slashdot.org]
APPLYING HOSTS TO DIFF. PLATFORM W/ TCP-IP STACK BASED ON BSD: 2008 -> http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1944892&cid=34831038 [slashdot.org]
HOSTS vs. TRACKING ONLINE BY ADVERTISERS & BETTER THAN GHOSTERY: 2012 -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2926641&cid=40383743 [slashdot.org]

---

* "Here endeth the lesson..." and, if you REALLY want to secure your system? Please refer to this:

http://www.bing.com/search?q=%22HOW+TO+SECURE+Windows+2000%2FXP%22&go=&form=QBRE [bing.com]

APK

P.S.=> SOME MINOR "CAVEATS/CATCH-22's" - things to be aware of for "layered security" + HOSTS file performance - easily overcome, or not a problem at all:

A.) HOSTS files don't function under PROXY SERVERS (except for Proximitron, which has a filter that allows it) - Which is *the "WHY"* of why I state in my "P.S." section below to use both AdBlock type browser addon methods (or even built-in block lists browsers have such as Opera's URLFILTER.INI file, & FireFox has such as list as does IE also in the form of TPL (tracking protection lists -> http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/Browser/TrackingProtectionLists/ [microsoft.com] , good stuff )) in combination with HOSTS, for the best in "layered security" (alongside .pac files + custom cascading style sheets that can filter off various tags such as scripts or ads etc.) - but proxies, especially "HIGHLY ANONYMOUS" types, generally slow you down to a CRAWL online (& personally, I cannot see using proxies "for the good" typically - as they allow "truly anonymous posting" & have bugs (such as TOR has been shown to have & be "bypassable/traceable" via its "onion routing" methods)).

B.) HOSTS files do NOT protect you vs. javascript (this only holds true IF you don't already have a bad site blocked out in your HOSTS file though, & the list of sites where you can obtain such lists to add to your HOSTS are above (& updated daily in many of them)).

C.) HOSTS files (relatively "largish ones") require you to turn off Windows' native "DNS local client cache service" (which has a problem in that it's designed with a non-redimensionable/resizeable list, array, or queue (DNS data loads into a C/C++ structure actually/afaik, which IS a form of array)) - mvps.org covers that in detail and how to easily do this in Windows (this is NOT a problem in Linux, & it's 1 thing I will give Linux over Windows, hands-down). Relatively "smallish" HOSTS files don't have this problem (mvps.org offers 2 types for this).

D.) HOSTS files, once read/loaded, once? GET CACHED! Right into the kernelmode diskcaching subsystem (fast & efficient RAM speed), for speed of access/re-access (@ system startup in older MS OS' like 2000, or, upon a users' 1st request that's "Webbound" via say, a webbrowser) gets read into either the DNS local caching client service (noted above), OR, if that's turned off? Into your local diskcache (like ANY file is), so it reads F A S T upon re-reads/subsequent reads (until it's changed in %WinDir%\system32\drivers\etc on Windows, which marks it "Dirty" & then it gets re-read + reloaded into the local diskcache again). This may cause a SMALL initial load 1 time lag upon reload though, depending on the size of your HOSTS file.

E.) HOSTS files don't protect vs. BGP exploits - Sorry, once it's out of your hands/machine + past any interior network + routers you have, the packets you send are out there into the ISP/BSP's hands - they're "the Agents" holding all the keys to the doorways at that point (hosts are just

Re:The flipside (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#40533905)

You would be surprised what a good marketing and advertising campaign can do to your business.

We all hate them as they take money away from IT or salespeople make unreasonable expectations and gets bonuses for screwing you over and having you work overtime for free, but you would not be there without them. Psychological manipulation to have people remember your product or company is the only thing that helps a startup. The sales team bring in a shitload of money to pay for your salary.

Economic wise I agree as 1/3 of a price of a car is just advertising according to my college economics book. But in reality if your employer doesn't use it a competitor will and take your job away. If your ad is not on Google Ad-sense in 2012 you are frankly dead.

What Microsoft needs though is not more advertising but better marketing. They need to make products more in tuned with the wants of corporate users who refuse to leave XP (think there is a reason there), and consumers. When Metro bombs next year they will surely regret not doing more market research. It seems to me they are trying to get more advertisers for BING with this acquisition, but meanwhile 85% of its users prefer Google and they need to focus on why to fix Bing. I try Bing all the time and it just is not as good as Google when you search or ask technical questions. It is 6 years behind.

Re:Metro (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 2 years ago | (#40534463)

Damn, this is a complicated world.

Thing about Metro is, I'm sure they *did* do research. The question is, "what kind?"

Rumbles are emerging that the old school MS crowd using desktops are going to be in for a ride. MS is apparently betting the farm on some kind of ethereal Mobile-esque strategy.

What I don't get is that the tablets won't run the desktop versions of Apps, so what "Windows" value lies there?

Re:Metro (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#40535147)

Lets look at Apple in comparison? Their applets are more research driven for UI. On the IPAD I can use tabs on safari, the icons are pretty, everything is polished and detailed to the very way the icons move when I turn the device. Metro is very raw and not market research driven. Sure the R&D said tablets are the future, but Metro was not tested like IOS was.

Apple did the opposite approach with its applets running in MacOSX. It is just implemented terrible as a rush similiar to Vista .. just get the damn thing out already. The result is XP is still strong and wont damn die from that mistake.

Basic Marketing 101 rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40536317)

You can't sell people what they don't want (metro + ribbons vs. the Win9x shell + menus we're used to for decades now).

Salute to Steve (3, Insightful)

MikeMo (521697) | about 2 years ago | (#40532195)

:Hoist: "May Steve Ballmer be the CEO for as long as it takes!" /drinks hearty ale

I've got a better deal (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | about 2 years ago | (#40532201)

I would gladly sell my services to Microsoft for a mere million. Even if I fail badly they'd only be out a small fraction of the losses they keep racking up buying large failures. Most likely I'd fail a lot less and get them a much better return on their investment.

Re:I've got a better deal (2)

drooling-dog (189103) | about 2 years ago | (#40532345)

Indeed. The numbers that these companies deal with are mind-boggling, and the valuations so seldom seem justifiable. Maybe part of it boils down to strategic panic, but the egos of everyone involved play a part, too, I think. None of these executives want to be messing around with smaller deals than their peers, even if they're on the paying end.

Re:I've got a better deal (2, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#40532407)

It's arrogance as well. There guys continuously see themselves as the "smartest people in the room" and wanking each other off as Randian "productive people" and even a multi-million or billion dollar mistake can't budge that delusional behavior.

Re:I've got a better deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40532557)

It's about the numbers at the end of the day. Funny that you're making fun of those who see themselves as the "smartest people in the room" and you don't even understand what this "failure" looks like at the end of the day. They made good cash and got to slip out of paying some taxes doing it. It's fairly certain that they made more money in this transaction than what every visitor to Slashdot will make in their lives.
 
But it makes me wonder... why is it when some companies claim a loss the Slashtards are run out screaming that it's creative accounting but other times you guy try to make it sound like a real failure? I guess you need to twist the opinion to make it suit your need to somehow be the "smartest people in the room" by claiming you know all the failures and all the lies but at the same time most of you are lucky to ever get to be a systems admin at a large company let alone the owner of your own profitable business.
 
Slashdot has more sour grapes than just about any other place I've ever seen. Come back and lecture to me where MS, Apple or Oracle went wrong when you have a soapbox made of solid gold to shout from.

MONEY IS YOUR GOD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40533137)

You lose. Men with tiny penises require it or they get none. You have a tiny one.

Re:I've got a better deal (1)

Surt (22457) | about 2 years ago | (#40533387)

Before: 6B in cash and stock banked. No advertising platform.
After: $0 cash and stock, tax benefit of a few hundred million, no advertising platform.

A clear win for shareholders.

Re:I've got a better deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40533481)

Tell that to John Carmack. He's a member here.

Re:I've got a better deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40537091)

Listen to yourself. Microsoft just admitted a loss of 6.2 billion US dollars and you see the failure not in Microsoft but in "slashtards"?

Re:I've got a better deal (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 2 years ago | (#40532403)

I would gladly sell my services to Microsoft for a mere million. Even if I fail badly they'd only be out a small fraction of the losses they keep racking up buying large failures. Most likely I'd fail a lot less and get them a much better return on their investment.

Dear Quirkz, Thank you for your interest in joining the Microsoft family. We have decided that there is a position in Redmond that will be perfect for you and we feel that your monetary requirements meet our needs. We offer excellent benefits, including medical and long term disability. Please report first thing Monday for the "Sr. Moving Target" position in the Chair Toss division. Sincerely, S. Ballmer.

Re:I've got a better deal (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 2 years ago | (#40534569)

Heh you're too far down and no one will see this, but thanks for the funny reply.

What we're struggling with in this article is that for something like an ad agency, not a military hardware division, how can you possibly lose that much money? That's like saying that you have 100,000 people working for 60k each and you got zilch from it. It's like saying how can you possibly have 100,000 people working on something and have nothing at all (write off) to show for it?

That's why these stories are a mess.

Re:I've got a better deal (1)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | about 2 years ago | (#40532515)

You need to golf with MS executives, then your bad business will be worth billions not millions.

Write Off? (-1, Redundant)

Brad1138 (590148) | about 2 years ago | (#40532279)

What the heck is a "write off [youtube.com] "?

Microsoft is like Ford Motor Company... (2)

fatbuckel (1714764) | about 2 years ago | (#40532299)

Sure, they invented a mass production method that brought automobiles to the masses, but they eventually spent most of their time doing the opposite of General Motors. Microsoft is playing the same game, countering everyone else in the tech field for no good reason.

Re:Microsoft is like Ford Motor Company... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40532531)

So... should they get wasted, throw away money, then get the federal government to come in and give them a sweet-heart deal?

Re:Microsoft is like Ford Motor Company... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40533041)

Ford didn't get bailed out, but thanks for playing.

Re:Microsoft is like Ford Motor Company... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40533609)

Yeah, if more companies were like Ford (I'm looking at you, GM, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, and Bank of America), I, and a great deal many other people in the US would be much happier.

Re:Microsoft is like Ford Motor Company... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40536277)

Actually Ford did get money from the initial bailout pool given by the Bush admin. but unlike the other companies they saw how much people disapproved so they only used a fraction of the money and returned the rest, and unlike GM they actually did pay all the money back. (GM used fancy accounting tricks like using round 2 money to pay off the initial loan and claimed they payed it back but when you look more carefully they only paid back the orig. load, not the others)

They did however not taking any further bailout money when the Obama admin was in charge of rounds 2+.

Ford also actually attempted to re-brand themselves and took a look at the RD depts. and designs they basically went though the same processes as ch. 11 bankruptcy but without actually going though bankruptcy. (cut costs, better efficiency, re-shuffles etc...)

Re:Microsoft is like Ford Motor Company... (1)

Surt (22457) | about 2 years ago | (#40533293)

Aside from Ford not doing that, it sounds better than MS current strategy.

Reminds me of the lion who adopted the antelope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40532367)

and would not let it out of its site so it eventually starved to death.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSJYIEk5n6o

$Six billion here, $six billion there (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#40532571)

$Six billion here, $six billion there, soon you'll be talking real money.

Re:$Six billion here, $six billion there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40532991)

Lose a little on each one, make it back in volume...:-)

Closing Shop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40532597)

Wonder if someone in management is being asked to close shop for new management?

Automated headline generator (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#40532851)

"Microsoft Writes Off ${amount} From {businessVenture}."

will even one MS VP lose their job? (1)

Surt (22457) | about 2 years ago | (#40533189)

I doubt it. MS seems to have decided that they should be a failure incubator.

Re:will even one MS VP lose their job? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40533795)

Isn't that their business model? Kill a company one way or another.

I guess a $6 billion write-off dead company is better than a healthy company continuing to operate without MS hands on them.

Hope I played some small part in that (1)

PingXao (153057) | about 2 years ago | (#40533217)

Too lazy to do any research on it right now, but if this was an online advertiser whose ads I blocked with Adblock Plus and said ad blocking hurt them.... Good! Glad I could help.

Re:Hope I played some small part in that (1)

Kalriath (849904) | about 2 years ago | (#40536145)

Ad companies are paid CPM. Content publishers are paid CPC. You had statistically zero impact on this company.

Must be nice. (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about 2 years ago | (#40533235)

I wish I could f**k up $6.2 billion worth, and still keep my job.

Re:Must be nice. (1, Flamebait)

Swampash (1131503) | about 2 years ago | (#40537177)

Hell,that's nothing. Ballmer has sat twiddling his thumbs and ignored online search, online advertising, social networking, the digitisation of the music industry, portable music players, mobile telephony, and the tablet market. Now I ain't no computar genious, but I hear some companies have filled those gaps and are making good money.

Re:Must be nice. (1)

Swampash (1131503) | about 2 years ago | (#40537353)

Not to mention Xbox, which by my calculations has cost Microsoft's shareholders a round THIRTY BILLION for no return.

Wow, 6.2 Billion... (4, Interesting)

NalosLayor (958307) | about 2 years ago | (#40533321)

Wow, 6.2 Billion. That's a damn big chunk of change to spend and get nothing to show for it. I'm pretty sure Elon Musk could build a permanent manned moon base for 6.2 billion, and Microsoft, apparently can't even sell an ad. Of course, this is emblematic of Microsoft's lost decade (the years since Bill became a philanthropist): Microsoft decides a field is going to be hot, buys a reasonable player, mangles it, and then six months later shuts it down as a "failure". They have become like a child with ADHD -- abandoning things as soon as the next shiny object passes into view. It's sad, because they seem to be unable to learn from their experiences.

Re:Wow, 6.2 Billion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40536319)

I think they're the last people aware of what's shiny, then they buy a mediocre player, brand it, and hype it up as Shiny 2.0, then wonder why it doesn't sell.

It's a tax trick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40533437)

Bought for six billion = business cost = add asset and pay income taxes
Write off to zero = six billion loss = save income taxes on the six billion you made this year

nuff said
Dave_Matthews

Too little, too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40534753)

Microsoft is too little, too late to even make a dent in the online ad biz. Google saw the writing on the wall and ran with it, and, as a consequence, they are the current 800 lb. gorilla in the ad space.

Google will not dominate forever, No one can, Look at Apple. Love them or hate them, they have come out of nowhere to be the most successul hardware company on the planet. They, too, will not hold this title forever.

I think what becomes the downfall of too many companies is they want to have a hand in everything. I firmly believe in do one or two things and do them well. Google does search and ads very well with little competition. Apple, however, short of bought judges, will lose the hardware game to what I believe is the better products from Samsung and others.

Microsoft needs to focus on moving it's core competencies to the "cloud", not messing with things it will never dominate in like mobile, search, advertising. Windows 8 looks to be a major albatross for them. I've been running it now for a few weeks and it is not intutitive -- and I'm an IT guy with almost 15 years experience in Windows, Mac, and Linux desktops.

Do one or two things well like so many successful companies do. Look at In and Out Burger. They rock the hamburgers better than any other chain restaurant. They do hamburgers and fries only and they do them better, IMHO, than anyone else short of homemade custom burgers.

Uh Oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40535325)

1993 was the year the internet went public.

19 years later and M$ still does not understand what to make of it.

LoL

Too bad they didn't also acquire Yahoo at the time (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 2 years ago | (#40536945)

the bill would have counted one more digit...

MSFT is dying, Ballmer to blame. (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | about 2 years ago | (#40537843)

Balmer instituted a stack review process which is better suited for a sales organization rather than a software development company. That process is killing morale and innovation. Everyone there is afraid to work on side projects for fear of being reviewed as mediocre or at the bottom.

See:

http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-was-destroyed-by-its-stack-review-process-according-to-new-vanity-fair-expose-2012-7 [businessinsider.com]

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