Category Archive 'Host File'

14 Mar 2007

Volokh Conspiracy Hijacked by Trojan

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Last Saturday, I clicked on an Instapundit link to a Volokh posting, and got the traditional MS Explorer negative page-not-found response.

The page cannot be displayed

The page you are looking for is currently unavailable. The Web site might be experiencing technical difficulties, or you may need to adjust your browser settings.

Even important blogs have technical difficulties, so I simply shrugged and made a mental note to try again later.

But when the problem was still there on Monday, I concluded there was more to this than meets the eye.

About a year ago, my personal computer was infected by a Trojan, which exploited one of those only-too-numerous Microsoft vulnerabilities. It was the sort of thing which hijacks your computer to send out thousands of replications of itself covertly, degrading system performance significantly in the process.

I would never have known it was there, but for the fact that I could no longer log into Norton to update my antivirus software. The Trojan wrote to my Host file instructions directing all prominent antivirus website addresses to a dead address.

Wikipedia discusses this kind of hijacking technique in its Host file entry.

Further investigation established that my wife’s notebook was blocked from Volokh Conspiracy by the same malware. But a friend in California last night was not impacted by this problem.

I don’t recall exactly which file needs to be edited, but I can tell you that correcting this kind of problem is a lot of work. One has to turn off System Restore, reboot the computer in Safe mode, then edit the Registry to get rid of the illicit Host file entry. Entering Safe Mode is a bummer for me, because it will mess up all the icons on desk top, producing even more work sorting them all out again.

Would readers please check to see if they can link to Volokh Conspiracy, and tell me via email, or in Comments here, if they are also experiencing the same problem?

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