HostsFileHijack is a malicious piece of software that can establish full control over the infected device and can to execute harmful processes on it without the owner’s knowledge. Due to its stealth and harmfulness, HostsFileHijack is categorized as a Trojan horse and should be removed from the system asap.

The HOSTS file is a ligitimate Microsoft Windows file which can be found in the path C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\HOSTS and it can become a host to malicious entries. If you have suspicions that your HOSTS file has been infected please follow our removal guide below.


The HostsFileHijack notification will pop up if there are malicious entries in your HOSTS file.

Trojan horse programs such as HostsFileHijack are actually the most commonly spread type of malware on the Internet. They can be found in various web locations, including in spam messages, email attachments, torrents, fake web ads, intriguing web offers, misleading links and more.


One of the main reasons for the tremendous popularity of Trojan-based infections among criminal circles like Win32/HostsFileHijack is their complexity. The harm that Win32/HostsFileHijack may do is literally unlimited since it can be programmed to perform a lot of different malicious tasks one after the other.

There is also almost no operating system that is fully resistant to these attacks. In fact, in the last two to three years the number of Trojan horses for Mac and iOS devices has risen significantly. This only indicates that the members of this malicious category of software are not to be underestimated and can be quite threatening and troublesome.

Hosts File Hijack

In this article, our main goal will be to help people that have been infected with Hosts File Hijack to safely remove it from their machines. First we will start with pointing out some of the possible symptoms that may indicate the presence of Hosts File Hijack on your machine.

  • Unexpected system shutdowns and Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) crashes.
  • Frequent program freezes and non-existent or unusual software errors.
  • Intensive usage of RAM, CPU, GPU and HDD space without any actual need or activity from your side.
  • Questionable-looking tasks and unfamiliar processes in the Task Manager window that use a lot of CPU and RAM resources and are not linked to the OS.
  • Modified, corrupted or destroyed digital files.
  • System configuration changes that have not been approved or made by you.
  • Changes in the settings of your applications that you haven’t authorized (most commonly in your web browser).
  • Generation of aggressive and hard-to-remove pop-up messages and sketchy commercials on your screen, especially links that redirect to adult and gambling websites.

A very important thing to point out here is that not all of these symptoms may occur. In fact, you may be infected with a threat like HostsFileHijack and still not be able to detect any symptoms or anomalies that can raise your attention or give you a reason to believe that you have been compromised. What is more, most of the aforementioned symptoms (if not all) can show up due to many other reasons which may not necessarily be linked to a Trojan horse infection. This is because Trojans, in general, try to hide their traces for as long as possible or at least until they complete their agenda. That’s why users have little to no chance of catching the malware without the help of professional security software. However, if you spot one or more of the red flags mentioned above, you should carefully check your computer with a trustworthy antivirus or anti-malware tool and remove all the files that are flagged as malicious. If HostsFileHijack has already infected you but you don’t have such a tool at hand, on this page you will find a professional program that you can trust. Alternatively, you can complete the HostsFileHijack removal guide that we have provided for you right below this article and see if it helps.


Name HostsFileHijack
Type Trojan
Danger Level High (Trojans are often used as a backdoor for Ransomware)
Symptoms A Trojan infection could potentially cause system disorders of various kinds but in most cases it will not show visible symptoms of its presence to avoid its detection.
Distribution Method Cybercriminals typically rely on spam messages, malicious email attachments, malvertisements, cracked software and illegal websites to distribute Trojans across the web.
Detection Tool

HostsFileHijack Removal

If you are looking for a way to remove HostsFileHijack you can try this:

  1. Click on the Start button in the bottom left corner of your Windows OS.
  2. Go to Control Panel -> Programs and Features -> Uninstall a Program.
  3. Search for HostsFileHijack and any other unfamiliar programs.
  4. Uninstall HostsFileHijack as well as other suspicious programs.

Note that this might not get rid of HostsFileHijack completely. For more detailed removal instructions follow the guide below.

If you have a Windows virus, continue with the guide below.

If you have a Mac virus, please use our How to remove Ads on Mac guide.

If you have an Android virus, please use our Android Malware Removal guide.

If you have an iPhone virus, please use our iPhone Virus Removal guide


Some of the steps will likely require you to exit the page. Bookmark it for later reference.

Reboot in Safe Mode (use this guide if you don’t know how to do it).



Press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC at the same time and go to the Processes Tab. Try to determine which processes are dangerous.


Right click on each of them and select Open File Location. Then scan the files with our free online virus scanner:

Drag and Drop Files Here to Scan
Maximum file size: 128MB.

This scanner is free and will always remain free for our website's users. You can find its full-page version at:

Scan Results

Virus Scanner Result
Win32/HostsFileHijackAVG AV

After you open their folder, end the processes that are infected, then delete their folders.

Note: If you are sure something is part of the infection – delete it, even if the scanner doesn’t flag it. No anti-virus program can detect all infections.


Hold together the Start Key and R. Type appwiz.cpl –> OK.


You are now in the Control Panel. Look for suspicious entries. Uninstall it/them. If you see a screen like this when you click Uninstall, choose NO:



Type msconfig in the search field and hit enter. A window will pop-up:


Startup —> Uncheck entries that have “Unknown” as Manufacturer or otherwise look suspicious.

  • Remember this step – if you have reason to believe a bigger threat (like ransomware) is on your PC, check everything here.

Hold the Start Key and R copy + paste the following and click OK:

notepad %windir%/system32/Drivers/etc/hosts

A new file will open. If you are hacked, there will be a bunch of other IPs connected to you at the bottom. Look at the image below:


If there are suspicious IPs below “Localhost” – write to us in the comments.


Type Regedit in the windows search field and press Enter.

Once inside, press CTRL and F together and type the virus’s Name. Right click and delete any entries you find with a similar name. If they don’t show up this way, go manually to these directories and delete/uninstall them:

  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—–Random Directory. It could be any one of them – ask us if you can’t discern which ones are malicious.
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—Microsoft—-Windows—CurrentVersion—Run– Random
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER—-Software—Microsoft—Internet Explorer—-Main—- Random

If the guide doesn’t help, download the anti-virus program we recommended or try our free online virus scanner. Also, you can always ask us in the comments for help!


About the author


Lidia Howler

Lidia is a web content creator with years of experience in the cyber-security sector. She helps readers with articles on malware removal and online security. Her strive for simplicity and well-researched information provides users with easy-to-follow It-related tips and step-by-step tutorials.

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