Hosts file in Windows® 7
What are host files and its significance in Windows 7 operating systems?
One among the major files present in the system files of the Windows 7 operating system is the host file. A host file is a text file, which contains the IP address of the host name or the mappings to the host names. It is used by the operating system to resolve any issues related to network names before trying the Internet. It is located at the location c:windowssystem32driversetc and the file is given the name 'host'. The content of the host file consists of the description of the file and the mappings from the local host. It is given by 127.0.0.1 localhost and ::1 localhost, which are the IPv4 address and IPv6 address of the local host respectively. The file has to reset to ensure the safety of the system. It can be done using two ways; one is the automatic way and the other is the manual way. In the automatic way, the link to the application to perform the operations can be found out from the Microsoft’s site. The application has to be run and then the resulting wizard can help you to restore your host file to the original way. The other method is to manually locate the host file and to reset it. The host file has to be located from the system file, system32 and then rename that to hosts.bak.anew file has to be created containing the name of the host and open the host file and make the respective changes to the content and then restore it.
Threats affecting host files are:
- Malware and virus corruption
- Hacker attack
- Modification by application
Malware and virus corruption
One of the possible methods by which the host files get corrupted is by the entries made by the malware or the viruses or other threats affecting the system. The malware can remove or change the entries present in the host file and hence the system may get linked to malicious sites while browsing.
Another possible attack is the situation where a hacker tries to hack the system. The host file is an important file and if the hacker modifies the file, then it will be easy to track down the details of the user as well as that of the system. Redirection of the system is also possible.
Some applications running on the system can make entries to the host file. The problem occurs when the application tries to create an entry in the system file, which is corrupt and this in turn affects the host file. This can cause the system to crash and hence loss of information and data can occur.
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