Most antivirus programs identify hosts.exe as malware—for instance TrendMicro identifies it as BKDR_Generic.DIT, and Microsoft identifies it as Trojan:Win32/Qhost.IZ.
The hosts.exe file is a software component of hosts by Alex.
"Hosts.exe" is a web browser extension developed on the CrossRider platform. It typically installs about 9 different files. It modifies a user's browser home and search pages as well as "New Tab" pages, in order to detect user browser activity and deliver contextually-related advertising. One of the files it installs appears to be its own uninstall module. CrossRider is often used to develop, deploy, and monetize adware such as browser toolbars which will run on IE, Firefox, and Chrome.
The free file information forum can help you find out how to remove it. If you have additional information about this file, please leave a comment or a suggestion for other users.
There is relatively little known about this process along the lines of the following technical specificaitons.
Description: Hosts.exe is not essential for Windows and will often cause problems. Hosts.exe is located in a subfolder of C:\Windows\System32\drivers or sometimes in a subfolder of "C:\Program Files".
The file size on Windows 10/8/7/XP is 24,576 bytes.
The software has no file description. The program has no visible window. The hosts.exe file is an unknown file in the Windows folder. The file is not a Windows system file. The process listens for or sends data on open ports to a LAN or the Internet. Therefore the technical security rating is 82% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.
Recommended: Identify hosts.exe related errors
Important: You should check the hosts.exe process on your PC to see if it is a threat. We recommend Security Task Manager for verifying your computer's security. This was one of the Top Download Picks of The Washington Post and PC World.
The following programs have also been shown useful for a deeper analysis: ASecurity Task Manager examines the active hosts process on your computer and clearly tells you what it is doing. Malwarebytes' well-known Banti-malware tool tells you if the hosts.exe on your computer displays annoying ads, slowing it down. This type of unwanted adware program is not considered by some antivirus software to be a virus and is therefore not marked for cleanup.
A clean and tidy computer is the key requirement for avoiding PC trouble. This means running a scan for malware, cleaning your hard drive using 1cleanmgr and 2sfc /scannow, 3uninstalling programs that you no longer need, checking for Autostart programs (using 4msconfig) and enabling Windows' 5Automatic Update. Always remember to perform periodic backups, or at least to set restore points.
Should you experience an actual problem, try to recall the last thing you did, or the last thing you installed before the problem appeared for the first time. Use the 6resmon command to identify the processes that are causing your problem. Even for serious problems, rather than reinstalling Windows, you are better off repairing of your installation or, for Windows 8 and later versions, executing the 7DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth command. This allows you to repair the operating system without losing data.