Connecting to newsgroups involves connecting to a server sharing the posts of that newsgroup. The Secure Sockets Layer protocol, typically used by financial institutions and government offices for making secure connections to websites, can also aid in keeping you newsgroup interactions secure. Alongside encryption reasons, however, SSL may also allow you to avoid certain measures, employed by the server’s administrators or your Internet Service Provider, that are meant to reduce Web traffic or manage download speeds.
When logging into a newsgroup server, your information may be sent over the Internet in clear text, meaning anyone who intercepts, or “listens,” to the connection can read and steal this information. Furthermore, even if the server uses methods to scramble the password during user login, a breach of server security could expose your password and leave you vulnerable. With an SSL connection, your password and username are encrypted, meaning that even if the data is stolen, a hacker cannot read it.
Avoid Data Throttling
Your Internet Service Provider may restrict the amount of data you can send and receive during a single day. This can pose a problem for newsgroup users, because a newsgroup server connection might eventually grow into dozens of connections, depending on the newsgroup protocol and data load. Your ISP, seeing newsgroup traffic, might by default limit your allowed data transfer. Using an SSL connection might prevent an ISP from seeing your traffic as newsgroup traffic, and as such stave off data throttling.
Port-Based Speed Throttling
Aside from data throttling based on data type, some ISPs might also reduce data or max download or upload speeds based on what ports your data connections are using. Typically, newsgroup servers and clients use specific ports, and this port information is in all the packets of data sent between you and the server. The SSL connection hides this port data. In addition, SSL connections made to newsgroup servers are often made to different ports, which may not trigger data or speed throttling.
Beyond throttling and logging in, it may just come down to the fact that you want to maintain security over your newsgroup and the posts you make there. While the server itself might be secure, this doesn’t mean that someone couldn’t intercept posts as they are sent to the server. SSL prevents this through session encryption, thus maintaining your security and the security of the server.