Protect Yourself From Online Phishing Scams

Phishing is a way of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Communications purporting to be from popular social web sites, auction sites, online payment processors or IT administrators are commonly used to lure the unsuspecting public. Phishing is typically carried out by e-mail spoofing or instant messaging and it often directs users to enter details at a fake website whose look and feel are almost identical to the legitimate one. Phishing is an example of social engineering techniques used to deceive users, and exploits the poor usability of current web security technologies. Attempts to deal with the growing number of reported phishing incidents include legislation, user training, public awareness, and technical security measures.

A phishing technique was described in detail in 1987, and the first recorded use of the term “phishing” was made in 1996. The term is a variant of fishing, probably influenced by phreaking, and alludes to “baits” used in hopes that the potential victim will “bite” by clicking a malicious link or opening a malicious attachment, in which case their financial information and passwords may then be stolen.

Phishers send an e-mail or pop-up message that claims to be from a business or organization that you might deal with – for instance, your Internet Service Provider (Cal.net), online payment services or bank. Often, this e-mail or pop-up window is very official looking and might even contain a company logo. The message usually indicates the need to “update” or “validate” your account information. It then directs you to a Web site that looks just like a legitimate organization’s site, but it isn’t. When you visit the Web site, it requests personal information that the operators then use to steal your identity or commit crimes in your name.

Five Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself:

1. Don’t Click on Suspicious Links

If you receive an e-mail or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, don’t reply or click on the link in the message. If you are concerned about your account, contact the organization in the email using a telephone number that you know to be legitimate.

2. Never Email Sensitive Data

Don’t send personal or financial information via e-mail. It’s like handing a thief your wallet.

3. Check Your Financial Records Often

Review your credit card and bank account statements often to determine whether there are any unauthorized charges. Notify immediately of suspicious charges.

4. Keep Your Anti-Virus & Spyware Current

Use anti-virus software and keep it up-to-date. Some phishing e-mails can contain software that will harm your computer. Additionally, this software can track your Internet browsing habits without your knowledge. Up-to-date anti-virus software can help protect your computer from inadvertently accepting these types of files.

5. Don’t Open or Download Unknown Files

Be cautious about opening any attachment or downloading any files from e-mails you receive, regardless of who sent them. You can assess its contents in the bottom window pane without opening and then delete.

If you believe you’ve been a victim of a phishing scam, notify Cal.net Tech Support immediately and file a complaint at www.ftc.gov. Below is a replica of the malicious email:

From: “Technical Support” <offfice@directcon.net>

To: <undisclosed-recipients:>

Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2011 4:24 AM

Subject: Cal.net Account Subscriber

 

 

> Attn: Cal.net Account Owner,

>

> Your Webmail Quota Has Exceeded The Set Quota/Limit. You Are Currently

> Running On low GB Due To Hidden Files And Folder On Your Mailbox. In Order

> To Increase Your Webmail Quota, You Must Validate Your Account Below:

>

> Email Username……….

> Email Password……….

> Confirm Password……….

>

> Failure To Validate Your Webmail Quota May Result In Loss Of Important

> Information In Your Mailbox Or Cause Limited Access To It.

>

> Thanks for bearing with us.

>

> Sincerely,

> Customer Care Unit,

> Webmaster Team.

> ————————————————————-

> © Copyright Cal.net 2011

 

You can also visit the FTC’s Identity Theft Web site to learn how to minimize your risk of damage from ID theft. Go to: http://www.ftc.gov/idtheft. Or contact the antiphishing group: http://www.antiphishing.org/

Here is a short video explaining Phishing Scams http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqRZGhiHGxg

 

Company News July 2011

Updating you on the status of our upgrade projects mentioned last month, we are still making steady progress toward that goal. The unexpected rainstorm last week set us back a week, as it occurred at the worst possible moment of a crucial part of our development schedule. Prior to that, equipment supplier shortages also delayed us a week, so we are now targeting early August for initial launch of the first phase of our major upgrades.

Hope you had a chance to see us at the El Dorado County Fair last month. We had a booth in the Forni building, with our wireless service providing a temporary direct Internet feed to the booth, showing live video streaming and interactive gaming. We had a great time and greatly enjoyed visiting with those of you who stopped by to chat.

Our newly hired wireless installer, Blake, is now fully trained, so we are better able to meet the demand for new installs and be more prompt with wireless service calls. Likewise, Brad, our new tech-support person, is also fully trained, so we will soon have full seven-day-a-week coverage and are also able to get to your service calls during the week much more quickly than before. Lastly, please also welcome Kaley, our new graphic designer in the Web Design department, who will be producing outstanding graphics for your custom Web sites.

Don’t forget our recently reintroduced “Computer Repair” service, announced last month. If your computer is performing poorly because it’s infected with malware or has too little memory, for example, we will now be able to analyze and correct any computer issues that may be affecting its operation. Give us a call on 530-672-1078 to learn more about this valuable service.

Stay tuned for more exciting news over the next few months. And, as always, please feel free to drop by our offices at any time to visit with us, and see what we can do for you, whether your Internet-related needs are business, personal, or both.

 

3 Steps to Make Your Technical Support Call Quick and Easy

Having worked in the Technical Support Field for about 10 years I often have customers tell me they are afraid to call in for support. “I don’t know what to say”, “ I don’t know what happened” “I’m not good with computers” are common comments. Over the years, I’ve come up with a three step plan to make any call to any customer service center quick, and easy and soon you will no longer be dreading that call!

For starters, keep a simple notepad and pencil / pen near your computer. This will help you record error messages, and any notes that you may have about what was going on, and the time and date it occurred. These are critical for the troubleshooting process and often times can lead to a quick, one call solution vs. experimentation that may cause the issue to be solved over a period of two to three calls.

Armed with these simple tools, you can then follow these 3 quick steps!
Step One: Make a note of what happened

When you contact us we always ask a few simple questions to determine what we are dealing with. Often times error messages look alike for different functions. For example Outlook Express and Internet Explorer may indicate there is a problem with the server and use the same terminology or almost the same error code. “ I tried to check my email in Outlook Express” or “I Tried to get to yahoo.com” are good examples of what to record

Step Two: Make a note of the full error message

This helps us further eliminate what may or may not be the issue. “Error 680, there is no dial tone” combined with “I was trying to connect to the Internet”, tells us that your phone cord may be unplugged. “Unable to Contact server pop.cal.net” combined with “I was trying to check my email with Outlook Express” may indicate internet connection issues or a possible firewall problem, thus eliminating around 7 possible problems and leading to a quick solution to your call.

These two steps alone may shave 5-10 minutes off the average call!

Step Three: Make a note of anything that may have been the cause of the problem

While not always the case, there may have been an outside cause to your email issue. Was a firewall recently installed, did you just change your anti-virus software, did windows update just install 3 updates? These observations help us determine a pattern to your issue and combined with the first two steps, reduce the amount of trial and error we have you go through to eliminate possible problems.

These steps will help us make sure that your issue is resolved as quickly as possible and over time increase your confidence with troubleshooting. You may even find yourself teaming up with our Frequently Asked Questions site and fixing your own problems!

As always, feel free to contact our Customer Service department at 530-350-1852 or email us at