Two companies that provide Usenet services have disclosed security breaches today. The two companies, UseNeXT and Usenet.nl, blamed the breaches on “a security vulnerability at a partner company.”
Neither UseNeXT nor Usenet.nl have named the third-party company whose software enabled the intrusion. It is unclear if this is referring to a Usenet desktop client or a server-side service.
Both Usenet providers have now shut down their websites to investigate the breach.
According to a near-identical message posted on both sites [1, 2], the two companies say the intruder gained access to information such as names, billing addresses, payment details (IBAN and account number), and other information users provided during the process of creating an account on the two websites.
The two companies provide a paid service that allows users to connect to the Usenet network.
The Usenet network is one of the earliest forms of the internet, and a precursor of the world wide web. More precisely, Usenet is an interconnected network of nodes through which users can share news and have discussions, similar to a modern-day bulletin board system.
Access to the Usenet network is done via special apps and entry nodes (providers). UseNeXT and Usenet.nl provide a paid service to access Usenet at high speeds, since modern free Usenet access is slow, rare, and is not inherently secure.
Following today’s breach announcement, both UseNeXT and Usenet.nl are now telling customers to reset account passwords as soon as their websites come back online, and review all Usenet account settings for unauthorized changes — such as new automatic message forwarding rules.
Since payment data was also exposed, the two also recommend that customers watch out for suspicious debits or charges on bank accounts going forward.
Emails from UseNeXT and Usenet.nl should also be considered at a higher risk of containing malicious links and phishing attempts, the two companies suggested.