edit OS X host file to remove Quantserve and other unwanted scripts

I’ve been using the NoScript Firefox Add-on to query the myriad scripts that run in the background on the web, many of them being malicious/invasive advertising + data-gathering beacons. One such untrustworthy script comes from Quantserve: a team of web analytics experts building powerful statistical technology to understand internet audiences. What Quantserve is actually doing is unleashing cookies onto your system to track what websites you view most and report back the results, which it can then sell to third parties.

In OS X, we can use Terminal to add a loopback to the local machine, which effectively cancels quantserve’s ability to send out data it is collecting.

sudo pico /etc/hosts

(enter your administrator account password to proceed to the pico text editor)

Move the cursor with the arrow keys to the end of the line that says localhost and hit enter to make a new line.
Add these four lines: quantserve.com www.quantserve.com edge.quantserve.com pixel.quantserve.com quantcast.com www.quantcast.com

To exit + save the changes to your host file, press control-x, then press y to say yes, and then enter.
Quit Terminal and restart the computer. Quantserve will now be blocked across all browsers.
To give you a sense of the epidemic of trackers and beacons circulating on the net, I leave you with this plain-text list, so that you can meditate on the sheer amount of scripts that are out there.
Safe browsing 🙂