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Why use an ADBANNER BLOCKING HOSTS file? Here is why:

Discussion in 'General Software' started by Alec§taar, Feb 22, 2007.

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  1. Alec§taar New Member

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    Why use an ADBANNER BLOCKING HOSTS file? Here is why:

    CHECK THIS, DATED TODAY 02/21/2007:

    Microsoft apologises for serving malware

    http://apcmag.com/5382/microsoft_apologises_for_serving_malware_to_customers

    :(

    This is by no means, a first either... it's happened QUITE A FEW TIMES the past few years!

    BUT BELOW, 9 posts down from this one, IS A DOWNLOADABLE WORKAROUND attached as a zipfile (hosts.zip), w/ install directions a few posts beneath that (easy) THAT SECURES YOU AGAINST THIS & ALSO SPEEDS YOU UP AS A BONUS

    It also secures you against times your routers are under attack, or IF YOUR ISP/BSP's DNS SERVERS GO DOWN (per this URL from another thread here & from SLASHDOT DATA AS WELL)

    Computer Routers face Hijack Risk:

    http://forums.techpowerup.com/showthread.php?t=25734

    SLASHDOT - DNS Root Server under attack:

    http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/06/2238225

    Keep reading...

    AND, sorry webmasters: Yes, I know many of you do NOT like this file of mine & others like it, but this is a BIG part of why I use one!

    (Mine blocks nearly 27,000 known adbanner servers & allows users to speed up access to their fav. sites - THIS latter part though, speed up of access to fav. sites, the user has to setup, himself, but, not loading the banners does as well AND secures you against this very type of threat!)

    I comment out an example of it in the file so the users have a template how to do it... & it's FULLY documented internally in my 'custom HOSTS file', on how to get around when a site changes its URL/IP equation too - very easy, ping & notepad.exe!

    It is also FULLY alphabetized in addition to being organized into diff. sections, so hunting down servers that may already exist in it for blocking adbanners is easier!

    (this was done via a program I wrote up for myself that is noted near the top, which automates checks for me of existing vs. non-existing servers for adbanner blocks in its content - you don't have that, but the program sorted them all this way - this is so you can add new ones easily IN alphabetical order, or find them so you do NOT have 'double entries' (no big deal, because once it is loaded by your local dns cache, it removes those, but the shorter it is, the faster it is loaded!))

    * HOWEVER, THIS is an example of part of why I use this file!

    That, & the fact I pay for my linetime, & want ALL the speed possible out of it... meaning no calls to DNS servers w/ fav. sites you add to it, & YOU add them, not I (takes more time than using this file by FAR) & no calling out to adbanner servers, loading their datastream & executing it in my browsers either!

    APK

    P.S.=> Problem is though, w/ MS? They DO bypass the HOSTS file in some cases, see here:

    http://weblog.infoworld.com/securityadviser/archives/2006/04/microsoft_hosts.html

    It is SOME for the good, but shows that it CAN be circumvented too!

    apk
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2007
  2. Jadawin

    Jadawin

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    Whoever wrote this article you are linking to is a moron:

    "SystemDoctor2006 has made an appearance over the past few days, coming complete with pop-up windows to trap and then cause horrific damage to the computers of unaware users -- causing them to then rush out to purchase Microsoft Defender?"

    Windows Defender is something you must purchase? For... hm... Zero.Zero Money? Wow, what a way to make money for Microsoft...
  3. wazzledoozle

    wazzledoozle New Member

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    LOL that article reeks of fanboyism. Oh noes, the attacking banner ads!
  4. Alec§taar New Member

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    Heh, it's definitely 'pimping' Microsoft's product, oddly enough!

    :)

    * Trouble is, Ms' "Windows Defender" appears to NOT be the "BEST MAN FOR THE JOB", per this thread in the NEWS section:

    http://forums.techpowerup.com/showthread.php?t=25889

    (There are other/alternate programs that apparently do a BETTER job out there for the detection & removal of threats of that nature).

    Personally, I believe in keeping @ least 2 to N of these kinds of programs... sort of like a "2nd Doctor's Opinion", more-or-less.

    I put up a list of what I use, in that URL above... layered security is the trend, & it's what I practice & HAVE been, before it WAS a "trend" in this field... it just made sense is all!

    APK

    P.S.=> Guys, I guess what I am trying to say is, this is NOT a 'first'... I have seen this type of thing happening (adbanners bearing bogus scripts in their Java/Javascript etc. code) before.

    Tell you what: I'll find the incidences of this occurring, & post them here for you all to check out & read, just to bear this out, & that I am NOT "b.s.'ing" you all... give me a bit, I will put them up! apk
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2007
  5. Alec§taar New Member

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    I dunno about "MORON", but its basically telling folks to get out there & get SOMEKIND of AntiSpyware protection maybe, vs. THIS kind of threat?

    I beat it before it can get anywhere, really!

    Simply by doing the technique I mention above, and a LOT more, noted in the URL above Ms' "Windows Defender" NOT being 'the best man for the job', & as a BONUS?

    I go a great deal FASTER online (by not loading adbanners, period, for 1 thing, & if I choose to, I can add my fav. sites to it equated to their TRUE IP (watching out for changes, but my file notes the simple ping + notepad.exe technique for correcting THAT)) which ALL nets me MORE SPEED!

    I.E.-> Simply by not calling out to DNS servers for URL-to-IP address changes (rare usually, but happens) & NOT loading adbanners, which as you can see, may harbor malware scripts & what-not.

    What results using a file like a CUSTOMIZED adbanner blocking + speedup your fav. sites file? 2 things:

    • MORE SPEED
    • MORE SECURITY
    Pretty much a "win-win" situation... no?

    * Like I told wazzle above? I'll get a few more documented evidences of this kind of thing happening the past few years now... because this incident is NOT a first.

    APK
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2007
  6. wazzledoozle

    wazzledoozle New Member

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    I see what your point is Alec, I was just commenting on the article. Talk about severe spin...

    The whole banner ad virus/adware thing has been around for years. If you have any worthwhile antispyware, youll never see it.

    The biggest security threat to a computer is the user. Anyone with half a brain should know not to install software from some random popup.
  7. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    Unfortunately, most of the world's population seems to only possess 1/4 of a brain.
  8. Alec§taar New Member

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    Yea, it is a 'bit biased' towards loading a particular program... the author(s) should have recommend layered defense, & several of this kind of program...

    Personally, I am "BIG" on layered security + was, before it became a 'trend in the industry' because it just made sense!

    By using "2nd Doctor's Opinions" (meaning several of the same kinds of programs for security vs. Virii, Spyware/Malware, & Rootkits (biggest threat of all on the latter, imo @ least)).

    Whew, GOOD... I am GLAD that you know that, because I'd have to go digging thru the web via GOOGLE (& sometimes, forming that 'perfect boolean search string' for it is NOT that simple) & also my bookmarks/favs, because I do store things like this as evidences for threads & what-not, as well as for my own personal knowledgebases.

    Well, the thing I guess I am trying to say, & the author(s) of the article, again, should have recommended a few of them... for 2nd Dr.'s opinions & layered defense purposes is all.

    True... but, sometimes, it's expecting TOO MUCH from novice users (& we ALL were that, once), & many folks do NOT give a hoot imo!

    * See, I don't think SECURITY is a BIG PRIORITY for most folks, & in a way? I sort of "PROVED that", even here amongst you 'tech heads':

    BELARC ADVISOR TEST CHALLENGE:

    http://forums.techpowerup.com/showthread.php?t=25428

    (Only a few of you even TRIED that test... which sort of amazed me, but, I understand, folks are busy w/ lives they lead, & what-not - life DOES come first, & I can appreciate that)

    However, imo @ least? Potentially, should you become compromised/infected, etc. et al, you only create MORE WORK FOR YOURSELF, if you don't do it!

    (I.E./E.G.-> How many threads here dealt in virus/malware/spyware etc. in your time here, which is longer than my own? Probably TONS!).

    APK

    P.S.=> To most folks? A PC is just a tool... another home appliance... & security is a 'non-issue'... apk
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2007
  9. Alec§taar New Member

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    Well, it's often said, we only use 10% of our brain's capacity!

    :)

    LOL!

    * Personally, I think the remaining 90% is mostly for "long-term storage"... our "conscious mind" resides & operates like the OS in the computer does, in the forebrain, & the 'backbrain' (sometimes called the 'reptilian brain') is the OS services (breathing, heartbeat, involuntary functions) but, the midbrain imo? Your harddisk... where you store things for LONG-TERM retrievals... & dreaming is the defrag & db reorg/compact process, offloading & casting off the "unessential"...

    (Maybe I am WAY off in my theory there, but it seems to make a bit of sense to me... after all, we ARE just a 'chemical engine' of sorts!)

    APK

    P.S.=> Going off topic, lol, "hijacking" my own thread... time to get back on-topic! apk
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2007
  10. Alec§taar New Member

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    Custom Adbanner Blocking Hosts File Attached

    Attached is the actual CUSTOM ADBANNER BLOCKING HOSTS FILE I USE!

    HOW TO INSTALL & USE IT:

    1.) To replace the one you use now, simply first backup your original one located here:

    %WinDir%\system32\drivers\etc

    TO HOSTS.OLD, & then unzip this one into that same subfolder!

    2.) On Windows 2000, you will need to reboot for it to take effect... but, on Windows XP/Server 2003, the IP stack is 'dynamically loaded/reloaded' & "plug-N-play" driver design, so it takes effect nearly immediately.

    3.) Once more - It is FULLY internally documented on HOW to use it. You can examine & edit it using notepad.exe & add your favorite sites to it to speedup access to them & be able to reach them even IF your DNS 'goes down' @ your ISP/BSP as well.

    The ping command is used for this with notepad.exe... this is noted inside the file, with step-by-step examples thereof.

    I mention this, because I leave the section where you add in your favorite sites # "Unix Style" commented off & they MAY be out of date in terms of the IP Address currently used for that particular site, if you use the ones I have in there now commented off!

    (Ms' IP stack IS based off the BSD model & thus, why the UNIX comments exist & work in it)

    That is so you can add your own personal favorites.

    The adbanner blocking portion IS active however, the moment you start using it. This leaves it flexible for folks in both capacities.

    Again - It is also FULLY internally alphabetized in addition to being organized into diff. sections, so hunting down servers that may already exist in it for blocking adbanners is easier!

    (This was done via a program I wrote up for myself that is noted near the top, which automates checks for me of existing vs. non-existing servers for adbanner blocks in its content)

    Now - you don't have that program I use, I don't distribute it, but the program sorted them all this way!

    This is so you can add new ones easily IN alphabetical order, or find them so you do NOT have 'double entries' (no big deal, because once it is loaded by your local dns cache, it removes those, but the shorter it is, the faster it is loaded!))

    Nice part of this is, you go faster resolving URL-> IP address equations, far faster than calling out to your DNS from your ISP/BSP when you use it, & if that server goes down? You STILL can reach them!

    (Again - Step-by-Step examples are in the file of all things it can do & how/why it does them, & how YOU can add to it easily!)

    :)

    * Enjoy a faster & safer internet experience using this file... it DOES help on both security & speed accounts!

    APK

    P.S.=> Attached older custom hosts file removed, new one is here:

    http://forums.techpowerup.com/showthread.php?p=273928#post273928

    apk
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2007
  11. W1zzard

    W1zzard Administrator Staff Member

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    [​IMG] :p
  12. Alec§taar New Member

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    Unzipped it comes out to 812kb, but worth EVERY byte...

    :)

    * I hope that is what you meant W1zzard... not really sure!

    APK

    P.S.=> I see some of you have downloaded it!

    If you wish, edit it w/ notepad.exe (& thus, examine its interior content & see what I meant above on how it is structured, & documented as well, w/ examples - ALL so you too can understand it & see how it is broken up into sections within it)...

    Also/again - It is also FULLY alphabetized in addition to being organized into diff. sections, so hunting down servers that may already exist in it for blocking adbanners is easier!

    This was done via a program I wrote up for myself (you don't have this, it is pictured later below though) that is noted near the top of this hosts file's interior!

    The program automates checks for me of existing vs. non-existing servers for adbanner blocks in its content - you don't have that, but the program sorted them all this way!

    This is so you can add new ones easily IN alphabetical order, or find them so you do NOT have 'double entries' (no big deal, because once it is loaded by your local dns cache, it removes those, but the shorter it is, the faster it is loaded!)

    Again/above all else? Enjoy a FASTER & SAFER internet connection using it! apk
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2007
  13. wazzledoozle

    wazzledoozle New Member

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    Personally, I use adblockplus and a blacklist called filterset.g. I dont remember the last time I saw any sort of ad on a website.
  14. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    Me too, but that will only filter for the browser that you added it too. Won't work with IE, for instance. Editing the hosts file blocks any program from those sites. (Well, for the most part, anyway)

    Thanks Alex. I'm definitely gonna use this. I've actually been debating setting one up myself, but figured out that I am far too lazy to do so. lol


    EDIT: Works swell in Vista as well, in case anyone was wondering.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2007
  15. Alec§taar New Member

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    Yes, that's correct - HOSTS files work universally across ANY browser you use, & also for other programs as well (such as email clients, you-name-it, anything that uses IP pretty much).

    DO - it works! It's a great speed AND SECURITY measure: It's one of the things I do, that a security analysis program like BELARC ADVISOR doesn't pick up on, yet has security (and speed) benefits by ALL means.

    No problem... why? Well, you've now got "the best one in the business" out there using this one. Most comprehensive, & well-organized on its interior, & best internally documented one I know of @ least, courtesy of "yours truly" lol...

    Good, that IS good news to see/hear - & it also means the IP stack is pretty much still the same BSD based one that Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003 use as well!

    I see that 10 of you have downloaded it & are using it now... & to those I 'salute you', why? Because you're not only surfing safer, but also FASTER!

    APK
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2007
  16. Completely Bonkers New Member

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    APK.

    A BIG THANK YOU for sharing your hosts file. I can see there is a lot of work gone into it.

    Q. Is there not a wildcard feature for hosts?(Or banning IP addresses?) Since there are a lot of ad47.*.com type addresses in your list.

    Q. Your file is a manual build... so will get out of date quickly... and requires a lot of intervention to keep it up to date. Have you any success with free or "cheap" commerical software? (I use http://www.admuncher.com/ which works very very well IMO)

    Q. Dear Mr. C++ guru. How about a TPU exclusive utilitity? A small blocker, hosted on TPU incl. a monthly ban list updated by you? If popular... I'm sure we would all contribute a bit via paypal. Could be the start of something bigger.
  17. Alec§taar New Member

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    Thanks!

    WORK: It was some... some of it was coding to create a 'normalizer' for it (Databasing term for removing duplicates) & to also alphabetically order its interior. Makes it easier to manage, & ships a better 'product' on my part.

    The rest was documenting it, so folks understand how it works inside with examples... & of course, adding the blocking of banners content.

    Not in HOSTS files, but IP Security Policies can (see secpol.msc) & IE Restricted Zones can use them as well... not sure if EVERY browser has this on the latter one, so HOSTS cover ALL of them & ANY app that uses IP addresses.

    In my opinion also, HOSTS file mgt. is easier than doing IP Security Policies, though both work, universally (I do both here, layered security & all that).

    One fix for all, in other words.

    No - it doesn't, not @ all. In fact, not as often as your OS gets patched or other apps you may use in fact, & NOT BY A LONGSHOT by way of comparison!

    As far as blocking banners? Not @ all, if @ all!

    AND, if you do manage to see banners, it shows you how to determine their address inside, & how to add them to this file, easily (less than 10 second process imo)!

    As is, it covers 27,000 adbanner servers for blocking them against the threat this thread illustrates DOES exist, & speeds you up by NOT loading adbanners as is...

    I don't think there is ALL that many more adbanner servers than that, & if so? Add them - easy to do!

    (REALLY easy: First, you right click on the banner to find its URL, & open up HOSTS & add the entry which equate that adbanner server URL to 127.0.0.1, OR 0.0.0.0, & either blocks it upon save in XP/Server 2003, & reboot in Windows 2000 once the edited HOSTS file is saved - very easy!).

    Speeding up sites is something that when a website changes its IP address?

    It should tell users this on their front page BEFORE they do it... say, when they change HOSTING PROVIDERS. This lets you the user know, so you can amend your file.

    I leave that commented off in the file though, & they may not be ABSOLUTELY CURRENT, so do check them IF you use the same sites, via pings of their URL (prior to application of this hosts file & uncommenting the examples I put in it)!

    That part is left to users to decide whether to use that feature for this or not... if your DNS server goes down? YOU CAN STILL REACH YOUR FAV SITES though this way, & faster than calling out to a DNS.

    Good thing is, on the last note? Sites do NOT change their IP address everyday... in fact, usually, it's quite rare!

    When they do though? Again - NOTIFY USERS & before they do it & the changed IP takes effect.

    (E.G.-> NTCompatible.com is good about this in fact, a site I was a member of for almost a decade in fact).

    Why load another layer of software complexity, when an initialization file is ALL YOU NEED? One you can manage easily, per the directions noted in the file itself, & also here in my reply?

    APK

    P.S.=> These CUSTOM HOSTS FILES work speeding you up & securing you as well as a bonus, are simple to maintain, & need no "software extras" period...

    "K.I.S.S.", really! apk
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2007
  18. Alec§taar New Member

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    I have one, I just don't distribute it (though it is mentioned in the HOSTS file itself near the top)... here is some screenshots of its functions:

    PROCESS HOSTS FILES FOR DUPLICATES REMOVAL

    [​IMG]

    &

    CHECK FOR DUPLICATES/NORMALIZE UPON ADDITION OF NEW ENTRIES, VALIDATE AND SAVE IF CHANGES MADE:

    [​IMG]

    (It does other stuff like write protect the HOSTS file if left trayicon resident & MUCH more)

    Written in Borland Delphi (fastest one there is in math & strings, & that IS what this program does, most all do)... though I know C/C++ (I do & have used Borland C++ Builder on my own & professionally before though)? Delphi is a BETTER CHOICE for this type of work.

    I have this one linked into IE6/IE7's TOOLS menu in fact (easily extended is why), so when I spot a NEW adbanner? I open that site in IE, check its URL via the 2nd screen above, if not a repeat, I add it, per the screen above...

    I.E.-> A tool for the IE browser, for THE purposes of blocking adbanners for ALL browsers & other IP tools (like email that uses HTML, a security risk in & of itself, but this removes the adbanner threat @ least), right in the browser basically.

    APK

    P.S.=> Me though? Heck - I left the shareware/freeware realm YEARS AGO in 2002... why?

    Well - going to tell you what I told a fellow developer once who said "Oh, shareware/freeware development is EASY compared to what we do in MIS/IS/IT coding"

    (This was after he saw me make a $500 check for a purchase of code I sold to a commercial company that started out as freeware - SMALL but effective one that boosted the efficacy of their SuperCache program up to 40%):

    I said -> "No it's not: Here doing OUR work, we have standardized hardware & middleware, & OS + DB setups across ALL machines - out online in freeware/shareware? You CONTEND WITH TONS OF MIXTURES THEREOF!"

    I heard no arguments on that account in return - shut him up pretty fast, in addition to the fact I put a NICE chunk onto my earnings that week (took me 3 days to write the code & finalize it, for what I made that money for no less).

    It's work, & MORE than most folks think, even other programmers - mainly because of the reasons above (no standardization on hardware + OS & other softwares in the mix like you see in corporate LAN/WAN environs)

    PLUS, you don't make a "killing" off it. You do make extra money though... it's sort of like playing in a local band to me, extra money, if I need it... but, I went freeware in the end.

    I make a decent living coding professionally is why... I 'share the wealth' on occasion though, because doing shareware system utilities type coding IS a way to learn to code MORE & DIFFERENT THINGS than just DB stuff doing shareware/freeware, & I give it away now mostly... apk
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2007
  19. Completely Bonkers New Member

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    APK... Whats interesting about http://www.admuncher.com/ is that it builds a ban list automatically from "ad shaped" gifs + many other features. Worth looking at (Suggestion from a programmers perspective... not recommendation to use it).
  20. Alec§taar New Member

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    I do something called 'ad filtering' as well in my browsers, using something called a .pac file... it filters pages based on the same idea, & it too? Is just another file you load, not a completely diff. program.

    I'd wager that's what these guys are doing, adding a filtration for various tags (or, other 'clues' that signal ads &/or popups etc. much like popup blockers do as a page comes in), but I WILL take a peek @ it!

    Right now though, I made my points above, hope you understood them (you will I wager) & now it's time to go enjoy my FRIDAY NITE!

    :)

    * You all do the same & have fun... I will see you later on tonite most likely!

    APK
  21. Completely Bonkers New Member

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    Have fun :)
  22. Steevo

    Steevo

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    I have used Delphi. It is fun.



    I might have to try this on a few machines.


    Or change it a bit and import it to the routing table of the firewall. That would be interesting.
    10 Million points folded for TPU
  23. Alec§taar New Member

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    Programming IS the power of creation: Art & Science in 1 package!

    See my subject-line/title-line above for this reply...

    It even helped me to create the tool shown above (my HOSTS File optimization engine as I call it), to output an even MORE USEFUL tool (one that secures & speeds me up online - you can too using it's outputs) in this custom HOSTS file.

    For guys like you, network admins/engineers/techs, it can be immensely useful to know how to code to create all kinds of things!

    (For networking? Tons of uses in say, parsing logs from them, SMTP'ing in warnings via email to you or others if certain conditions are violated, better versions of existing tools in character mode (some of you have seen some of them like in the "TPU IS SLOOOOW Today" thread in the General Nonsense section in my graphical traceroute that helped "pin down" the problem @ "theplanet.com") here):

    http://forums.techpowerup.com/showthread.php?p=270200#post270200

    [​IMG]

    * Heck: you-name-it, limit of your needs &/or creativity + time limits really.

    E.G.-> The particular programs pictured above (& others I wrote for the purposes of IP analysis & log parsing, + far more) have been VERY useful to me, many times!

    I have many others for my own personal & professional use, & have done coding @ various companies beyond MIS/IS/IT info. systems stuff just like it for the uses I extoll above (especially log parsing & warnings issued via messageboxes, internal windows messages, & SMTP email alerts, etc.)

    The HOSTS FILE OPTIMIZER, specifically though? Has really keeping the CUSTOM ADBANNER BLOCKING HOSTS file normalized, optimized, & fast too internally.

    I like it.

    It works... from another thread here about it, from "z"? Check it:

    http://forums.techpowerup.com/showthread.php?p=270422#post270422

    :)

    Enjoy a FASTER, & SAFER MORE SECURE INTERNET ONLINE EXPERIENCE, network engineer...

    If you want to block banner ads that might have virus/malware/spyware/nuisance-ware, whatever? Yea, probably...

    TEST FIRST, hands on, & then tell us what you think.

    APK
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2007
  24. zekrahminator

    zekrahminator McLovin

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    He's referring to how 1337 (leet) your download is :p.
  25. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    Haha, I completely missed that as well.

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