A Windows Defender and Microsoft Forefront Client Security signature file (1.53.256.0) was released at 8:45 PM (PST) on March 9, 2009 to address a Win32/PossibleHostFileHijack issue. This update modified the hosts file to prevent malicious redirection of websites. As a result, the entry for localhost may have been removed from the hosts file. When this entry is missing and a site is launched in the ASP.NET Web Development Server (aka Cassini) via Visual Studio, Internet Explorer displays “Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage”.
To resolve this issue, open C:WindowsSystem32driversetchosts and add an entry for localhost:
A new signature file (1.53.288.0) was released at 8:57 PM on March 9, 2009 that does not affect the localhost entry.
More information about this signature file and additional details about the fix can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/security/portal/Entry.aspx?name=SettingsModifier:Win32/PossibleHostsFileHijack&threatid=1758608427027806866 under the “Recovery” tab.