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Unscrambling Encrypted Filenames on the Usenet

Today with companies like Facebook and Google looking to collect, store and use all the information they can get on you to bug you and sell to you and share whatever with God knows who else, privacy and protection of our personal information and files has become very important. Today, with the advent of the Copyright Alert System and the “Six Strikes” isp policies, big brother is keeping watch over everything we do online including any user-generated files that we download or upload to share with others. Because this monitoring is going on, many users who share files with others have come up with ways to make it harder for others to see what files are being shared by scrambling and encrypting the original filename before upload – this practice has even started on Usenet. Where once you could browse the headers of a newsgroup and see the binary filenames available very clearly, most of the time now, the filenames just look like scrambled letters and numbers. This has been done in the hopes that binaries being shared will remain private.

Having a system to maintain privacy is great, but only if that system is not working against you – the scrambling of filenames has left others not knowing what to do when they are browsing the binary newsgroups and they can’t make heads or tails of what files are actually available in the group. We will let you in on a little secret, most of the time encrypted or scrambled Usenet filenames can be revealed by running the PARs through quickpar to repair the filenames in the posts to reveal the actual real unscrambled filename. You may often have to download all the PARs in the set for this to work, but that is better than downloading gigs of articles and not even know what you’re downloading before you spend all that time downloading something you might not be looking for.

Questions Tips or Comments

If you guys have any questions you would like answered or have any Usenet tips or comments you would like us to pass along, send us an email at emailnews@usenetlearningcenter.com

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