Set up your news reader to only post in plain text format. HTML (which can be the default in Outlook Express) is not ideal for most news readers.
If in doubt always access a news group by collecting headers only. Once you are up to date then collect new messages only.
If you have 100's of unread messages in your news groups, mark them all read, so you are up to date and can see new messages coming in. Use the message views of the news reader to only display unread messages for example.
Limit any possible file attachments to the "FTUC.Files" group and reference them in the other groups. For example you upload a useful screen layout, or report. Place the file in the "FTUC.Files" group and in the "FTUC.General" group write a message saying you have placed the file in the "FTUC.Files" group. Binary files are not allowed in any group other than the "FTUC.Files" group. If you place a message in any other group it may get deleted by a Sysop.
Configure a message filter to not download a message larger than 500, or 1000 lines. This is a little hit and miss but will stop your system from downloading an attachment file by accident.
Some viruses can access a news group server, so consider all files a risk, especially those reporting to be a update patch for Microsoft. If in doubt ask before you consider running the attachment. You would have to actually run the attachment in your news reader to get infected, so seeing the message will not affect you. If in doubt ask. A Sysop will delete the message if one is found.
Create a signature file in your news reader, so it adds your name and email address, or some other detail to the bottom of your message. A signature 'file' is nothing but a few lines as a sign off piece. It should start with 2 minus signs and a space followed by a carriage return and then your text. Email addresses scanners don't download the message body, so email addresses are safe in your message.
The Field Track news groups are password protected for only FTUC members, however this password system should stop email scanning robots gaining access to collect all your emails addresses. If you query this then simply alter your "From" email address to read something incorrect. Include your email address in the "Reply To" field and/or your signature 'file' at the end of your message. These places are safe from email scanning robots. Do not share the FTUC newsgroup password.