If you go to this link, you get a hosts  file filled up with all kinds of antispyware companies and sites! (For those of you unfamiliar with a hosts file, you can get a definition here.)

Using this hosts file will block most of the known universe of anti-spyware companies and websites. Companies like Lavasoft, Spybot and…Sunbelt.  And lots of community sites.

The parent directory has a readme file which lists the contents of the directory as including “a HOSTS file to block spyware”.  GULP.   From the Readme, one gets that this HOSTS file is part of a companion CD for a book called “Protect Your Windows Network”, by Jesper M. Johansson and Steve Riley.

My guess is that this was once legitimate but the ftp site got hacked and this new hosts file was put up.  Who knows.  We’re trying to find out.

Do you laugh or cry?

Alex Eckelberry
(Another prop to our Adam Thomas)

Update:  I did a bit of checking into this.  It turns out we found out about this because a customer called in to our Support department because they were having update issues.  Jon Petita, the support engineer, noticed weird entries in the customer’s hosts file… and brought in our spyware research team, and that’s when Adam Thomas in research discovered this weird hosts file out there.  

We were hoping it wasn’t in use.  But at least one customer was found using it.  Thankfully, there was no spyware on his system.

I do hope that there aren’t more people who installed this wacko hosts file (although probably the worst that will happen is that they won’t be able to get to a bunch of antispyware sites and companies).