Spybot search involves all the methods, procedures and steps you can adopt to prevent unwanted modifications to the HOSTS file present on your computer. Spybot Search includes several free utilities that will not only block changes to the HOSTS file, but can also protect the Registry from unauthorized changes, startup items for quick analysis, and block known bad or alert on unknown ActiveX controls.
Keeping in view on how this topic has been trending, we have decided to compose an in detail article on Spybot Search so that you can become a pro at it.
What essentially is the HOSTS file?
The HOSTS file can be kind of taken as a replacement for the phone company’s directory assistance. Where directory assistance matches a person’s name to a phone number, the HOSTS file maps domain names to IP addresses. This is the best analogy that you can take to understand the concept of Spybot Search where entries in the HOSTS file override DNS entries maintained by the ISP.
By default ‘local host’ for instance the local computer which is set out to be 127.0.0.1, which is essentially the designated loopback address. Any other entries pointing to this 127.0.0.1 loopback address will result in a ‘page not found’ error. Moreover, entries can cause a domain address to be redirected to a completely different site, by pointing to an IP address that belongs to a different domain. For example, if an entry for google.com pointed to an IP address belonging to yahoo.com, any attempt to access www.google.com would result in a redirect to www.yahoo.com.
Malware authors are increasingly using the HOSTS file to block access to antivirus and security websites. Adware may also impact the HOSTS file, redirecting access to gain affiliate page view credit or to point to a booby-trapped website that downloads further hostile code.
Let’s take a look into the Spybot Search Tools
If you do not already have a copy of Spybot Search and Destroy, this free spyware scanner can be downloaded from http://www.safer-networking.org. After downloading and installing Spybot, continue with the steps below to be able to use the Spybot Search tools:
- First thing you need to do is access the Spybot Search & Destroy option by tapping on it
- Then locate and click on the button for Mode
- Inside the Mode tap on the link for Advanced Mode.
- Here you will be required to tap Yes to continue ahead while in the Advanced Mode.
All that you need to know about exploring the Spybot Menu
Now when the Advanced Mode has been enabled, look on the bottom left side of the Spybot interface and you should see three new options: Settings, Tools, Info & License. If you do not see these three options listed, go back to the previous step and re-enable Advanced Mode so that you can view all the desired options.
How to use the Spybot HOSTS file viewer?
Spybot Search makes it simple for even the simplest user to guard against unauthorized HOSTS file changes. However, if the HOSTS file has already been tampered with, this lockdown could prevent other protection from reversing the unwanted entries. Thus, before locking down the HOSTS file, first make sure there are no unintended entries currently present. To do so, these are the steps that you need to follow in the exact sequence as mentioned below:
- First you must find all the HOSTS file icons present in the window for the Spybot Tools.
- Then you need to choose the HOSTS file icon by tapping on it only once.
- When you tap it a new window will pop open on your screen.
- No under the assumption that there were no suspicious entries were found, you can go ahead read the next section of this article for further details.
Let’s take a dive into the Spybot Search Tweaks
Now that you’ve determined the HOSTS file contains only authorized entries, it’s time to let Spybot search lock it down to prevent any unwanted changes. For this you need to choose the option for the IE Tweaks. A new window will then pop open where you must tap on the Lock Hosts file read-only as a security measure against the notorious hijackers.
That’s it as far as securing the HOSTS file goes. However, Spybot can also provide some valuable prevention with just a few more tweaks. Be sure to check out the next two steps for using Spybot to lockdown the system Registry and manage your startup items.
Here is how you can use the Spybot TeaTimer & SDHelper
Spybot’s TeaTimer and SDHelper tools can be used alongside existing antivirus and antispyware solutions.
- From the left side of the Advanced Mode | Tools window, select Resident
- Under Resident Protection Status select both options:
- Resident “SDHelper” [Internet Explorer bad download blocker] active
- Resident “TeaTimer” [Protection of overall system settings] active
Spybot will now guard against unauthorized modifications to pertinent Registry and startup vectors, as well as prevent unknown ActiveX controls from being installed. Spybot Search & Destroy will prompt for user input which either be to Allow or Disallow for when the unknown modifications are attempted or configured.
Take a glance into the Spybot System Startup
Spybot Search can allow you to easily see what items are loading when Windows is started. From the left side of the Advanced Mode or the Tools window, you must tap on the System Startup which will then open up a new window which will enlist the entire startup items specific to your PC or computer at that time.
To be able to avoid all the unwanted items from loading on this window, simple delete the checkmark next to the entry name in the list of the Spybot. Be careful and cautious and only remove those items you are certain are not essential for the day to day operation of your computer and all the desired programs that you wish to operate.