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News, Notes, and Items of Interest
Changed default SSL cipher
AES128 is preferred as the default cipher  Posted on Apr 20, 2017 12:18 -0400

Shortly after we started offering service we had a few customers comment that our SSL speeds were a bit slower than their last provider. After researching the cause we noticed that a lot of providers default for much lower encryption (RC4-MD5) than we were using (AES256). Most people would agree that AES256 is a bit overkill for NNTPS, so we decided to lower our default cipher to AES128. After a few changes to our front-end server code we added the ability to offer the available ciphers by preference.

Current cipher list in order of preference:

TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA
TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA
TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256
TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256
TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA
TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256
TLS_RSA_WITH_RC4_128_SHA
TLS_RSA_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA
TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA
TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384
TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_RC4_128_SHA
TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA
TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_RC4_128_SHA
TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA
TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA
TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384
TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384

As you can see, we still fully support AES256. Changing the default cipher will speed up our SSL connections and customers wanting AES256 can still select that by configuring their usenet client to request the stronger cipher. Should be a win/win for everyone!

New Usenet provider in 2017?
Less consolidation!  Posted on Mar 31, 2017 12:00 -0500

As we’ve developed and tested the UsenetExpress back end systems over the last few months, one question has come up multiple times from colleagues we’ve enlisted to help test. “Usenet is still around and you’re starting a new company providing Usenet service?“. Well, we all know that Usenet is still alive and kicking… and we feel that it’s a great time to start a new service!

I was the founder of a Usenet provider back in the early 2000s that grew into one of the largest providers at the time. The company was sold in 2006 and has continued to grow and flourish. Unfortunately the Usenet industry has had massive consolidation over the last ten years. Only a handful of companies own or control most of Usenet and I think most would agree this isn’t ideal for the industry. We’d like to offer an alternative to the current providers and do our part to make Usenet a little less consolidated.

Welcome to UsenetExpress
greetings earthlings.  Posted on Mar 27, 2017 06:35 -0500

We would like to take this opportunity to say “hello” and welcome you to UsenetExpress. We’re planning to use this blog to share our network status, promotions, and related news with the Usenet community and our customers. We would value any feedback you might have for us. Feel free to share or drop us a line. We’re just getting started so we would honestly love to hear from you.