Blocking MS Telemetry in HOSTS File Now Triggers Windows Defender Virus Warning

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A the latest change to Microsoft Windows’ designed-in anti-virus scanner, Home windows Defender, has still left the OS throwing wrong positives associated to the HOSTS file. The hosts file can be employed to translate URL names like “” to a distinct IP tackle and originated in the really early web, at a time when retaining an individually-curated list of valid host addresses was not tough to do on a per-node basis.

The hosts file can be employed to block malware and spy ware websites but it does so globally and it makes no endeavor to meaningfully evaluate if a web tackle is essentially serving malware or undesirable material. It is a go / no go filter, and web sites on the “no go” facet of factors are not finding accessed.

I have employed hosts file blocking right before as section of my personal AV protections and I can confirm that whilst you can download any range of modified hosts files from the web, you generally have to personalize it more to keep away from blocking material that you want to see. Blocking particular websites will avoid automobile-engage in video clips from activating, but it will also avoid you from viewing movie you truly want to view sent above the exact same services. Whilst the hosts file is not a common malware concentrate on, it has been employed as section of malware assaults in the earlier, generally to deny the conclusion consumer the capacity to go to security websites. Whilst there are no the latest examples of hosts files currently being abused in this vogue of which I’m informed, it has took place in the earlier.

Multiple on the net resources condition Microsoft has modified Home windows Defender so that it especially checks to see if a hosts file has been updated to block Microsoft’s telemetry servers. What is a minimal strange about this is that the OS has seemingly done some amount of examining for quite some time, as evidenced by this Home windows 8 tale recommending that users exclude the hosts file from virus scans if they are likely to modify it. The trouble appears to have gotten even worse or resurfaced only a short while ago, but it was a recognised concern from four several years in the past.

According to BleepingComputer, they edited their personal hosts file in multiple means without provoking an outcry from Home windows Defender right before making an attempt to block MS’ telemetry servers. When they did, the hosts file essentially refused to save, declaring they have been infected with SettingsModifier:Earn32/HostsFileHijack:

File by BleepingComputer. Hosts files are .TXT files and can’t incorporate a virus as these are typically described.

Whilst you can exclude the hosts file from currently being scanned, this would appear to confirm that Microsoft now especially checks to see if you’re attempting to block its telemetry servers — even even though it also bypasses the hosts file and communicates instantly with IP addresses for telemetry reasons. The fact that Home windows details collection does not rely solely on the telemetry servers you can block in the hosts file signifies that MS may possibly have tuned Home windows Defender in an endeavor to avoid malware from infecting a procedure in this manner as opposed to intentionally making an attempt to avoid conclusion-users from manually blocking telemetry collection.

Regrettably, telling a procedure simply just not to scan the hosts file is not a foolproof option, both. In this instance, you can stop MS from yelling at you — but in exchange, you won’t know if a further application has modified your hosts file, both. Preferably, the OS would notice that the hosts file experienced improved and inquire the conclusion-consumer if the change was intentional alternatively than power the conclusion-consumer to select amongst preserving themselves from malware in this vogue or not.

The cause I’m not positive this is a move supposed to raise Microsoft’s details collection is basic: Microsoft’s telemetry collection is not blocked by hosts file alterations, so it’s not crystal clear they’d modify how they handle the hosts file to make details collection a lot easier. Most antivirus / antimalware guides don’t especially propose a hosts-file centered technique, simply because limitless lists of web sites are a lousy way to check out to block malware and simply because it’s downright common to conclusion up customizing your list to keep away from blocking websites you want to be ready to entry.

Either way, you need to be informed that you may see malware detections in days in advance that don’t essentially signify a malware an infection. If you have manually modified your hosts file on-function, you need to check out to make particular the details hasn’t improved. If it has, explain to Home windows Defender to exclude scanning the hosts file in the foreseeable future. Directions on blocking telemetry collection entirely can be located below. It involves additional than just modifying the hosts file.

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