Using USENET Safely: Avoiding Viruses

Using USENET Safely: Avoiding Viruses

#USENET offers a lot of different #services wrapped up in one product. #USENET, for instance, offers access to discussion groups, access to binaries - which is any type of file attached to an article-and other goodies. This makes it a great forum for exchanging information. When you're using this system, however, remember that keeping safe is your #responsibility.

USENET Safety Basics

What of the most difficult threats for safety experts to deal with is an attack executed via e-mail using an attachment. In certain USENET newsgroups, users will attach binaries to articles. These are files of any type. They may be images, they may be video, they may be audio or they may be programs. There's really no limit to what they could be. The same rules that apply to using e-mail safely apply to using binaries on the USENET system safely.

First, never take binaries from un-trusted #sources. The best way to use binaries is to restrict it to when people post information that's relevant to a discussion you're having on a newsgroup that you know well. Be wary of anything from groups that you haven't heard of and certainly of anything that seems like it might be spam.

Second, you're going to have to have antivirus installed on your computer and make certain that you always keep it updated. A good, reliable updated antivirus program is your best first line of defense against viruses. Whenever you do download a binary, make sure that you execute a manual scan on it to make sure that it's clean according to your antivirus software.

#Social Engineering

Quite a few virus attacks are accomplished via social #engineering. Unfortunately, as a hacker expression holds, there's no patch that can provide security against the silly things that people can be persuaded to do. Understand that some social engineering attacks are done in very clever ways and that you are as vulnerable as anyone else to be being victimized by them.

Beware of links that people post in newsgroups that have nothing to do with the conversation. If somebody is trying hard to persuade you to download something, make sure you think about whether or not there's a chance that it could be a virus. There are all kinds of ways that people can talk you into doing something inadvisable. When you're on the USENET system, you have to be as savvy about falling prey to these scams as you do everywhere else.

The USENET system is such a no-frills system that it is inherently a bit more secure than a lot of the other types of discussion forums available on the Internet. There aren't any hidden frames in which to force downloads and, because it's a text-based technology, you don't have to download anything on your computer to display content. Remember, however, that there are plenty of people out there trying to find vulnerabilities in your computer all the time. The best way to make certain that you don't fall victim to them is to be smart: protect your computer with good software and watch your own behaviors for potential vulnerabilities.

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