You can use a HOSTS file to block ads, banners, cookies, web bugs, and even most hijackers. This is accomplished by blocking the Server that supplies these little gems. Example - the following entry 127.0.0.1 ad.doubleclick.net blocks all files supplied by the DoubleClick Server to the web page you are viewing. This also prevents the server from tracking your movements.
Now includes most major parasites, hijackers and unwanted Search Engines!
In many cases this can speed the loading of web pages by not having to wait for these ads, banners, hit counters, etc. to load. This also helps to protect your Privacy by blocking servers that track your viewing habits, known as "click-thru tracking". Another feature of the HOSTS file is it's ability to block other applications from connecting to the Internet, as long the the entry exists.
Editors Note: As time has progressed the focus of this project has changed from blocking ads/banners to protecting the user from the many parasites that now exist on the Internet. It doesn't serve much purpose if you block the ad banner from displaying, but get hijacked by a parasite from an evil script or download contained on the web site. The object is to surf faster while preserving your Safety, Security and Privacy. Product Info
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