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November 1, 2001 8:00 AM UTC
For some time now people have had 'porn popups' lashing out at them on their desktops and been clueless where they came from. Here's the reason why, and below is the download URL for the program to stop it.
Hosts Alert is a simple resident program which will alert you immediately any hostile code attempts to corrupt your hosts file. As you can learn at the URLs cited above, this insidious activity is governed by a bogus reference in the hosts file which for Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher yanks access attempts to MSN and moves them instead to stealth URLs connected with porn sites. And once the browser arrives at the bogus site, the porn popup attacks begin and most users find themselves helpless to stop it.
Hosts Alert will by default look for the string 'auto.search.msn.com' in the system hosts cache but this can be reset by supplying an alternate string on the command line. As soon as the specified string enters the cache an alert will take over the screen. All that need be done at that point is open the hosts file for editing with a vanilla text editor, find the string, and remove that entire line.
Hosts Alert is provided free and 'as is'. Because of the volume of email at radsoft.net individual questions from non-subscribers about its use cannot be answered. Subscribers to the XPT will receive a customised extra lean and mean version with the 2002 distribution.
Note: Hosts Alert is no longer available as a separate download; an enhanced version now ships with the XPT.