One of the easiest ways to protect your computer and speed up your Internet searches is to modify your “hosts” file. This file stores a list of domain names and corresponding IP addresses for those domains. So before your browser fires of a DNS query to see what “Google.com” current IP address is it first checks the host file to see if there is a record in their.

For more information check out Steve Gibson’s write up on the subject.

There’s an online group that maintains a list of potentially malicious sites, that you can add to your hosts file. So the next time you visit a site and it’s trying to download a cookie for “doubleclick.net”, it will get re-routed to localhost. (127.0.0.1). The first thing you will notice after updating your host file is the number of ads that no longer get displayed on web sites.

The current version of the hosts file updated by MVPS can be found here.

Your systems hosts file can be found… * Windows Vista = <System Root>\Windows\System32\Drivers\Etc * Windows XP = <System Root>\Windows\System32\Drivers\Etc

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