My guess is that
hosts entry is just some shortcut the developer who had the machine previously setup for their convenience and is nothing to worry about. If somehow you are concerned about this specific entry, then just comment out that line in the
hosts file, restart the machine and move on. Perhaps check the
hosts file again on reboot to see if somehow a virus/malware action recreated such an entry again. But I wouldn’t be too worried about it.
NPI2A54EB could simply stand for “Network Printer Interface” and that entry could have been created by a printer driver install or something else connected to that laptop’s need to connect to a printer management system on a local area network.
Does anybody know why this would be entered there and if this could be
a virus or would that be related to the developer's work (I can only
check with him next week again)? (Am a little bit worried that it
might be a virus, but I have checked with multiple antivirus programs
and it looks clean.)
If you borrowed the system from a developer and you are concerned about this, my gut tells me not to be worried. Not too sure what kind of “development” this developer you mentioned is actually doing, but in the world of web development it’s fairly common to see
hosts files edited to allow local web development while using a hostname to make things easier and make sites/applications behave more like real world sites.
For example, if I were working on developing the website for
example.com on my local desktop I might create an entry like this in my
hosts file to allow for what I just described:
Or maybe something like
NPI2A54EB seems like an odd hostname that wouldn’t make many people’s lives easier. To me it parses like an assigned machine name an I.T. department would assign to hardware. Or perhaps direct traffic to some internal network server or device?
If this all makes you nervous, this is what you can do. Just edit the
hosts file like this. Change that line to this:
Then reboot your machine and check the
hosts file again. That
# will comment out that odd
hosts entry and effectively neutralize. The logic being that if the machine is infected with something like a virus or malware, that line will be uncommented fairly quickly on reboot.
And if something breaks because of this change, well you now know there was something the system needed that was to that entry and you should uncomment it.
But honestly, I doubt commenting out that entry will break anything. Like I said if this is a virus/malware and that’s a key factor to it, you will find out quite quickly on reboot… But I doubt that is what that entry is about. It’s most likely some internal server DNS shortcut the developer who originally was using the machine setup for their convenience and is of no concern to you.