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+ - Windows 8 bypasses and modifies the hosts file-> 8

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Windows 8 has been confirmed to not only ignore, but also modify the hosts file. As soon as a website that should be blocked is accessed, the corresponding entry in the hosts file is removed, even if the hosts file is read-only. The hosts file is a popular, cross-platform way of blocking access to certain domains, such as ad-serving websites, but now that Microsoft clearly wants to control your web browsing experience, the practice not be that cross-platform anymore."
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Windows 8 bypasses and modifies the hosts file

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  • First off the article totally underestimates the use of the hosts file. This is what existed before DNS and I still use it for my home network and non-dns based routes. Anyway what's doing this according to the update in the article is Windows Defender which cleans the hosts file automatically to prevent malware from redirected people. Since Defender can be disabled this is likely a feature not a bug.

    • by sjames (1099)

      If it's overriding a user's deliberate decision to disable an ad site in hosts, then it's a bug even if it's a 'feature'.

      • by jbolden (176878)

        How is the system supposed to tell about changes to hosts file made from a user or from malware.

        Windows Defender on = Microsoft runs my hosts file
        Windows Defender off = I run my hosts file

        • by sjames (1099)

          It needs to either leave it alone if it is set read only or it needs to clearly indicate that it would like to make changes to the hosts file and allow the user to say no.

          • by jbolden (176878)

            That gets to the issue of what security tools should do. For the average user what are they supposed to do with a message like "Windows Defender has detected invalid links in your hosts file, which is used in domain name resolution. Should it change these to match your ISP's name server's settings or leave them alone?"

            They can't answer that. A question can't be the default since the vast majority of the time the person getting the question can't answer the question. Heck, the person who wrote the articl

            • by sjames (1099)

              It is worth considering that I might dis-able an ad server in hosts (a very common technique BTW) because it has a reputation for ads with malware attached. Remove that block and my security is decreased.

              The question to ask would be "one or more domains have been altered by placing entries in the hosts file. Did you do that on purpose? (if you don't understand the question, choose no)". Just to be sure, also provide an OK button for the user to click without thought that allows removing the entry.

              Windows de

              • by jbolden (176878)

                They could find out about it if it will kindly announce itself. It would also be more useful if it could be fine tuned rather than all or nothing.

                It can be. That's what I was saying about going into the tools menu and changing allowed items.

                The question to ask would be "one or more domains have been altered by placing entries in the hosts file. Did you do that on purpose? (if you don't understand the question, choose no)". Just to be sure, also provide an OK button for the user to click without thought

    • I wonder, where does it gets the answers?
      I wonder, how does it validates them as correct?

      Inside many companies the internal host names and addresses
      are managed with care via local DNS to give correct answers
      inside the firewall without busting the device when the sales force
      is outside the firewall making a house call. Via VPN inside
      answers no VPN outside answers.

      Other companies use proxy servers to tinker with, manage,
      measure and filter web access. I wonder, how does that interact?

      Schools today have confli

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