Beware of Imposters

It recently came to my attention that it looks like a large portion of the content of my HOSTS file was being used in another so-called HOSTS file … not only is this a copyright violation, it also violates the software license posted on my site.

Disclaimer: this file is free to use for personal use only. Furthermore it is NOT permitted to copy any of the contents or host on any other site without permission or meeting the full criteria of the below license terms.

And then to top it off this so-called HOSTS file gives itself the highest rating on their site … imagine that!

Well let’s see what this 6 star file is all about … I ran it thru the software I use to validate that each entry returns a valid reply. Oh my … 83 dead entries, but that can’t be because they display that none exists in their file.

Then I checked the [suspect] file for sites that are Parked and should no longer exist … uh-oh 103 entries. Gee looks like you lose a few “stars” for that. Folks I could really care less what their (unqualified) opinion is of my file or what “Rating” it gets, but I thought I would address a few of these non-existent issues. As it seems they are now providing a mis-leading “Service” to optimize your HOSTS file which you have to pay for.

% Text – “the least amount of space wasting chit chat text
Huh? “space wasting where? Since the operating system does NOT read the “comments” into memory, where does this “space wasting” exist? Besides this is addressed in the HOSTS FAQ – What are all these comments after the entries?

“The comments are included in the shipped version to allow the end-user to determine (if needed) why the entry exists. Over time the amount of entries has grown to a point where it’s too easy to forget why they exist without them. This is also done for obvious legal reasons.”

Well I guess that takes care of that myth … besides I doubt you would know why an entry would exist as it seems that you do not provide any of your own content. Looks to me more like it’s content copied from other HOSTS file and then you call it your own.

% Dead – “0.08%” – This is also addressed in the HOSTS FAQ

The HOSTS file is verified prior to each new update. This is accomplished by verifying that each entry returns a valid DNS (similar to Nslookup) then these (dead) entries are either removed or commented. These comments are entered as “#[server down?]“, in some cases the hosting server is down, thus returns no DNS. In other cases the domain may have been suspended for abuse, or the registered owner has let the domain expire. Domains that are expired or down for extended periods are removed.”

Again another mis-leading statement used to promote their “6 star” file … oh wait seems they have lost a few stars …

Major Engine Links Blocked

Here we go again … another mis-leading statement. There are NO legitimate search engines blocked in my file. There are entries that block ads, banners, or some “Sponsored Results”. However I suspect this whining is for another reason.

Oh I see … the entries (displayed in red above) in my file block the “ads” you are trying to promote on your site. Is that what you call “Search Engine censorship”? … I have shown many times in this blog that “Sponsored Results” can not be trusted. Perhaps you should spend some time on Benjamin Edelman’s site, where you’ll find he has documented this also. Or “Report Shows 7 Percent of Sponsored Links Dangerous” … so I should expose the users of my file because you think this is censorship? Think again!

Sponsored results are those paid to be placed in search results by advertisers.

Among adult keyword search results, risky sites increased by 17.5 percent since December 2006, and risky sites now number 9.4 percent of overall adult search results. Driving this increase was a dramatic 72.2 percent increase in the percentage of risky adult sites within sponsored results.”

I think the above should address any misconception about “censorship” … and in my opinion anyone using their HOSTS file are being exposed to additional risks.

Regular readers of this blog know the research that goes into the content of my file. After providing a HOSTS file for the last 9 years I think I know what should exist and why. Taking an active participation in the Security community and exchanging information with others also helps to provide viable content … but I guess you wouldn’t know about that?

19 Responses to “Beware of Imposters”

  1. This comment belongs here,

    You can steal others host file inclusions but no one can use parts of your host file, OPPS :)

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