The topic of computer viruses, malware, spyware and the like are fairly common now a days. Most of us are careful not to open email attachments or follow links from unknown senders. Yet some forget that the same dangers lurk in newsgroups and elsewhere. Just like email you should take certain precautions when downloading from Usenet. We’d like to share some tips to help ensure a safe, secure Usenet experience.
Let’s discuss some ideas that will help secure your safety while fully enjoying Usenet:
Use Protection – Antivirus / Malware / Spyware
You might think this tip would go without saying. Yet there are a lot of people who either let their virus protection expire or don’t regularly update the virus definitions. At very least download one of the popular free antivirus programs like Avast or AVG and keep it up to date. Then we recommend you leave it active to scan your Usenet downloads. Otherwise make sure to scan the Usenet content before proceeding to open it. This is true of anything you get from the Internet, email, files from friends, etc. A virus scan only takes a few seconds and can potentially save your system.
Secure your Downloads – SSL Encryption / VPN Service
When we talk about using SSL encryption for Usenet downloads and VPN services for Internet browsing and other apps the focus is on security and privacy. We strongly encourage the use of SSL for Usenet. The necessity can be debated but at very least it will help some avoid ISP’s bandwidth throttling. Not to mention that most leading Usenet providers offer free SSL. Those who want to protect themselves beyond Usenet should consider a personal VPN service. While VPN is outside the scope of this article, a good provider can help protect your privacy beyond Usenet.
Pay Close Attention to File Size and File Types
Sometimes dangerous Usenet content is easy to spot. For example let’s say that my goal is to download the latest version of Ubuntu. Going in I know the total size of the files should be around 700 MB. Taking compression into account it still won’t make sense for an archive to be 4 MB with an executable in it. In this case there are two signs of deceit. Both the download size and file type. That was a simple example but the same is true for any type of content. Just pay close attention to details and avoid those posts that don’t look right. There’s plenty more to choose from.
Try to Avoid Password Protected RAR Archives
This is a personal pet peeve of ours. Those who post content to Usenet and then require a password that isn’t easily available. The poster will often times direct you to a URL which could lead to a virus, phishing scam, etc. In this case you might consider using Nzbmatrix to search for your Usenet content. As they do a good job and have an active community for comments. Also Mysterbin search engine has a nice advanced ‘No password’ feature that we’ve found helpful.
Have any other suggestions for helping secure a safe Usenet experience? If so please let us know by sending an email to feedback (at) newsgroupreviews.com. We’ll happily update this post with more recommendations. Visit Newsgroup Reviews to learn more about Usenet. Follow us @NewsgroupRevs for the latest news.