Hosts file. Should it be set to read only?

  1. Posts : 31
    Windows 10 Home 64 bit

    Hosts file. Should it be set to read only?

    Since using XP and then Windows 7 have always set the Hosts file to read only as a security measure.

    Is it still advisable to do this on Windows 10?
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 795
    Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

    I don't think it matters its pretty trivial for malware to change it back to read write if its needs to. Some virus scanners ( I think Malwarebytes pro ) make it read only.

    I have been using a program called HostsMan for years and that seems to help with not only Malware but for adds too. There is a bit of a learning curve when you first start using it though, probably half hour of reading of how to use it properly.

    HostsMan is a freeware application that lets you manage your Hosts file with ease. No Spyware! No Adware! No Viruses! 100% Freeware! Clean & simple.

    Windows only: The hosts file is the best way to entirely block a web site or other net entity. You can edit it by hand, but free editor HostsMan verifies, cleans up, and manages your hosts file clean and simple.

    What HostsMan does is provide concierge service to that hosts file, which blocks certain sites from being accessed by your computer through a browser, IM client—anything. The hosts file can also block out terrible ad servers and ban time-wasting web sites.

      My Computer

  3. Posts : 5,478

    By default the hosts file is owned by SYSTEM and you can only read. If you want to write to it you need to do so as administrator (for example notepad will not let you save your changes unless you run it as administrator).

    So your malware couldn't do anything to it unless you clicked said "yes" to the "Allow this program to make changes to your PC" prompt that UAC gives you whenever a program tries to run as Administrator.

    If you have UAC turned off or if you say "Yes" to that prompt then malware can do whatever it likes anyway (take ownership, change permissions etc) and making it read only wouldn't help at all.

    I'd leave it as it is.
      My Computer

  4. Posts : 1,250
    Windows 10 Pro

    The Read Only file attribute isn't a viable security measure. This is only an advisory that the file should not be written to. Windows Explorer and alternative file managers usually honor this advisory but it can be easily ignored. You can be sure that malicious software will simply ignore the setting.
      My Computer

  5. Posts : 31
    Windows 10 Home 64 bit
    Thread Starter

    Thanks guys. I really appreciate that information. UAC is turned on for sure :)
      My Computer


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