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How To Stop Spyware

This is an additional method that should be used in conjunction with an anti-spyware product. How can this method prevent spyware from "calling home" with your personal information? It works by letting Windows filter the IP addresses that you place in the hosts file. What is the host file and how does it work? The host file resides in the Windows folder on your hard drive and it loads into system memory each time the computer is turned on. For each IP address that is placed in the hosts file, it is cross-referenced with a saved domain name. Siince the Internet only understands numeric IP addesses, this cross-referencing with domain names is required. These translations between IP addresses and domain names reside on various Domain Name Servers (DNS) that are distributed around the Internet.

IP addresses are in the form of a block of numbers arranged in quartets as in the following example: 125.220. They way it works is, as you enter a domain name (URL) in your browser, the first thing that happens is that your computer will check for any IP addresses that are in your hosts file.

If it finds the relevant domain name, it will not bother searching the external DNS servers on the Internet. Before there was the current high-speed connections that we use everyday to connect to the Internet with, it was quicker to find an IP address that was stored on the local computer. Once you activate a link that is associated with Spyware, by clicking on it, or sometimes just moving the mouse over it, the Spyware in most cases attempts to "call home" back to its server somewhere on the Internet. It can then create an ad server, scrape your personal data and send it back to its server. Since we now have faster Internet connections, the need for hosts files have just about been eliminated. Whenever you run into a malicious domain, just add it to your hosts file, and instead of cross-referencing it to a valid IP address, translate it to a fake IP address that connects to a void inside your computer. Then the Spyware thinks it is calling home to its servers, however the call goes nowhere. The hosts file has entries in it with the following format: #hosts file from windows directory 127.1 localhost 123.89 testsite1.com 51.126.189 testsite2.com The # sign indicates comment lines that the computer will ignore. In using the hosts file as a Spyware or adware blocker, you will always see the localhost setting in the first line of the file.

Notice that these IP addresses are all the same: 127.1 -this points only to your own local computer. You will also see the all of the other IP entries will have the same address as the localhost, as in the following example: # host file from windows directory 127.1 localhost 127.1 testsite1.com 127.1 testsite2.com When an infected webpage tries to connect your computer to testsite1.com, the browser looks up the IP address for testsite1.com, and in this situation will find it in the hosts file. Since the IP address translates to 127.


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