Episode 45 of the Security Now! podcast mentions a sneaky use of the
hosts file—ad blocking. By listing well-known adsites in
hosts and forcing them to resolve to 127.0.0.1 (or 0.0.0.0) the irritating ads aren’t displayed. A quick search on Google and I found a site offering a list of adsites specifically for this use.
So far it works really well, despite the list not seeing any updates since 2004. I’ve added one single entry in the two weeks that I’ve used it. Fairly good I think. I’ve also noticed that a few commercial websites, that I used to visit earlier but stopped hitting due to irritating popup windows, have started behaving better