Usenet newsgroups date back to the early days of the Internet. These forums were the original form of social networking. Over time, Usenet became a method to share files. The "alt.binaries" hierarchy of Usenet newsgroups was created for the express purpose of sharing files over Usenet. Most news servers imposed limits on the size of files, so multi-part compression was deployed to circumvent these limits. The most common form of compression on Usenet continues to be the Rar archive. Often files shared on Usenet are protected with a password and you cannot extract their contents without it.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Unarchiving utility
Extract the contents of the archive with an unrar utility, for example Winrar or Unrarx (see Resources). In some instances, an archive file will contain a password-protected archive inside, along with an informational text file with password information. If you can extract anything from the original archive, check the extracted contents for a text file containing a password or instructions for where to find one.
Check the original Usenet posting for a password. Search back in the newsgroup where the original binary was posted to find the original message. Often, there is a password or a link to further information where one can be obtained.
Perform an Internet search with the name of the archive file. If you have the name of the archive file, for example "Archive.rar," it is possible to search the Internet for this name. In some instances, you can find a password simply with the name of the archive file.
Tips and warnings
- Downloading unknown files is a recipe for virus and malware infestation. Before you unarchive any files downloaded from Usenet, be sure your antivirus software is updated.
- Be highly suspicious. Following links within archive files may lead you on a chase designed to create advertising revenue or install malware and may never lead you to an actual password.
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