Usenet is actually quite heavily flooded with viruses, but unlike the free P2P tools (like Limewire), there are a simple rules to use that generally work, as long as you're not using Usenet for software:
- Obviously (maybe not for a novice) - Never download a song/video with an unfamiliar extension, especially '.exe'!
- Check the file size - I.e. don't download any song/video under <2MB
- Never download anything saying warez terms like 'keygen', 'cracked', etc. - They are infections.
- If it's a multi-RAR archive, look for an 'nfo' file and read it. If an 'nfo' file is not present, it's suspicious.
Usenet uses the RAR archive quite a lot, often with recovery PAR files. Unfortunately, quite often, people put up password protected RAR files without mentioning they are password protected, so the best way to avoid wasting bandwidth downloading a password protected archive is to download just the first RAR part and see if you can extract it, e.g. using 7-zip (which opens RAR files). If it just complains the 2nd RAR part is missing, that's ok, but if it asks for a password, then don't download any more parts.
For a RAR archive with PAR files, some usenet readers such as Newsrover will automatically repair damaged RAR archives using the recovery information from the PAR files. If the Usenet client doesn't support this, there's a freeware tool called Quickpar which will repair the RAR files.