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MONTHLY TOPICS

IN THIS ISSUE

MALWARE WARNING
Microsoft Reports On Fake Windows Support Calls
READ MORE

Whidbey Telecom News
UPDATE On the National Call Termination Issue
READ MORE

Two to View
A couple of amazing videos you don't want to miss
READ MORE

Ask the Help Desk
Do Mac Users Need To Worry About Viruses?
READ MORE

Sites to Check Out in August
Make sure you take a look at these helpful websites
READ MORE

Short Tutorial
Creating an Account On Twitter
READ MORE

   

Dear Valued Customer,

Safety and security are always on our minds and the month of August is no exception. For example, you may be concerned with keeping kids safe at the pool now or while walking to school soon. As far as security goes, we share important information on two issues—a malware warning from Microsoft about fake Windows support calls as well as a malware threat to Mac users. And on the topic of safety, don't miss the beautiful seatbelt advocacy commercial in Two to View. In the Whidbey Telecom News section you'll find an update on the national call termination issue. Also, you'll find summer-savvy sites to help you make the most of August plus easy instructions on how to get started on Twitter.

We think you'll find the information contained in this eNewsletter to be a valuable tool for enhancing your Internet experience.

Here's what's inside our August eNewsletter:

1. MALWARE WARNING - Microsoft Reports on Fake Windows Support Calls

2. Whidbey Telecom News - UPDATE on the National Call Termination Issue

3. Two to View - A Couple of Amazing Videos You Don't Want To Miss

4. This Month's FAQ - Do Mac Users Need To Worry About Viruses?

5. Sites of the Month - Great Sites to Check Out in August

6. Short Tutorial - Creating an Account On Twitter

We hope you enjoy our eNewsletter!

- Your Whidbey Telecom Team

 
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ONLINE WARNING

MALWARE WARNING - Microsoft Reports on Fake Windows Support Calls

Beware! Computer scams don't just happen on computers. A recent study commissioned by Microsoft describes how scammers are now calling people on the phone and tricking them into installing computer software designed to steal money, identities, and passwords.

Here's how it works: The scammer calls and, after sharing their "credentials," tells the victim that his/her computer is at risk. The scammer directs the victim to view a harmless error report that the scammer claims shows how the victim's computer has been compromised. The scammer then asks for a credit card number for the victim to "purchase" software that will solve the "problem." Or they direct the victim to install software that places a virus on the victim's computer, enabling the scammer to gain access to critical information.

Microsoft recommends these do's and don'ts to help prevent becoming a victim:

    DO
  • Be suspicious of unsolicited calls related to a security problem, even if the caller claims to represent a respected company.
  • Use up-to-date versions of operating system and application software.
  • Make sure security updates are installed regularly.
  • Use strong passwords and change them regularly.
  • Make sure your firewall is turned on and that antivirus software is installed and up to date.
    DON'T
  • Provide personal information, such as credit card or bank details, to an unsolicited caller.
  • Go to a website, type anything into a computer, install software, or follow any other instruction from someone who calls out of the blue.

If you think you may already have been a victim of a phone scam, do the following:

  • Change the passwords for your computer, your main email account, and financial accounts.
  • Contact your bank and credit card companies to alert them to the potential breach.
  • Scan your computer with the Microsoft Safety Scanner (http://microsoft.com/security/scanner/en-us/default.aspx) to find out if you have malware (virus) installed on your computer.

Remember, there is no security software that can protect against this kind of threat so your best defense is to be informed and be prepared.

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WHIDBEY TELECOM NEWS

UPDATE On the National Call Termination Issue

In recent months there have been a number of telephone subscribers across the country reporting difficulties with their long distance calls. Whidbey Telecom has also received reports from some of our customers that their friends, family and/or business associates have had problems placing calls to our rural area. We investigated each of these reports and determined that the troubles experienced by our customers with receiving long distance calls were related to this national issue. We have been in contact with a variety of state and national telecommunications organizations and have gathered information on the types of call issues being experienced as well as information on what is being done to correct the overall matter. We would like to share some of this information with you, the progress being made and how you can support our investigation. We hope you will find it helpful.

Whidbey Telecom continues to cooperate with several national telephone associations in providing information to them on the scope of these issues. These national associations have concluded these issues are part of "an epidemic affecting the routing of calls to customers in rural areas nationwide." They are continuing to collect data from telephone companies affected by these issues and have spent considerable time researching this issue and raising awareness among stakeholders at all levels of the industry. The national associations filed a letter detailing this growing epidemic with the Enforcement Bureau at the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") and are continuing to work with the FCC to further investigate the problem. We are pleased to report that the Enforcement Bureau responded to this request by contacting the carriers responsible for originating the majority of the problem calls. At this time, some carriers have contacted the national associations to discuss the issue further.

These call termination issues can occur on calls originated from a variety of telephone technologies including landline, wireless, cable, and VoIP. The issues experienced may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • The calling party hears ringing but the called party hears nothing;
  • The called party hears ringing but hears only dead air when they answer the call;
  • Calls take sometimes as long as 50 seconds to setup, before the calling/called party hears a ring;
  • Garbled, one way or otherwise poor quality voice transmission on completed calls;
  • Inability to receive Faxes;
  • Missing or altered Caller ID.

When the caller's long distance call is transported from their originating (i.e., their service provider's) network to ours, the call must be transported completely and accurately before we can terminate the call to our customer's local landline. In some instances, the caller's call is never reaching Whidbey Telecom's network.

Whidbey Telecom has spent a considerable amount of time investigating and researching this matter and we have learned there are several suspected causes for these termination issues. One cause may be due to some carriers utilizing processes to transport their traffic into rural areas, such as ours, using a system called "least cost routing." This process selects a path for the call based on cost which can result in traffic congestion and ultimately cause a delay in call transportation, degradation in the call signal, or call looping with the call transport never completing correctly. Unfortunately, we have no control over these issues since the problems occur before the call reaches our network, therefore, not allowing us to deliver the call at all.

On August 8, 2011, Whidbey Telecom participated in a meeting at the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission ("WUTC") to further advance the investigation of the calling issues customers are experiencing. The meeting also included the FCC, WUTC Commissioners, WUTC staff, NECA (a national telephone association of which Whidbey Telecom is a member), Washington Independent Telecommunications Association (Whidbey Telecom is a member), rural carriers from across Washington state, a wireless provider and some long distance providers. The meeting covered what the issue is, the impact to customers, the impact to rural telephone companies, the potential cause and what is being done to address and ultimately resolve the problem. Overall, it was a constructive industry meeting in taking the next steps to solve this national issue.

Below are a couple of additional sources for more information about the national call termination issues and how they're affecting not just our area, but rural telephone subscribers across the country:

Rural Telecom Industry Presses FCC on Rural Call Completion Problem

Oregon Regulators Will Investigate Phone Connection Problems

What can you do? Calling parties that experience issues with their out-going long distance calls should open a trouble ticket with their originating carrier or service provider. When reporting the problem, the calling party should include the following details about the call:

  • Date and time of the call
  • The number used to place the call
  • The number that was called
  • A description of the problem (e.g., dead air, ringing with no answer, etc.)

The calling party can also attempt to call the same number using a different service provider, as this may demonstrate the number is in good working order. If you do not receive reliable service or a satisfactory response from the originating carrier or service provider, you may consider filing a complaint with the FCC. A complaint can be filed at http://esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm, or by calling the FCC at 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322).

While the issues are not with our facilities, Whidbey Telecom's commitment to our customers remains the same. If you experience these issues with receiving long distance calls, please dial 611, our repair line, so we can take your details (items listed above plus the originating service provider) so we can further assist in this investigation. We will continue to do everything in our power to provide you with premium service and to ensure that outside carriers meet their responsibility to deliver calls to our network so we can, in turn, deliver those calls to you.

Thank you for the privilege of serving you!

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TWO TO VIEW

A Couple of Amazing Videos You Don't Want to Miss

http://www.eNewsletterHome.com/_eNewsletter/2011/08/VIDEO_A.htm

Roger Ebert calls this "The Greatest Music Video Ever Made." It's also the largest and longest LipDub video to date. Filmed in downtown Grand Rapids, it involved 5,000 residents and was created in response to the Newsweek article calling Grand Rapids a "dying city." Even if you only watch part of it, you'll find it fun and inspiring.

http://www.eNewsletterHome.com/_eNewsletter/2011/08/VIDEO_B.htm

You've never seen a seatbelt commercial quite like this one. It's been described as "the most beautiful seatbelt advocacy commercial ever" and for good reason; the unique imagery is both compelling and thought provoking. Take a minute to watch it and then share it with someone you care about.

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ASK THE HELP DESK

Do Mac Users Need To Worry About Viruses?

Let's start with the big picture. Worldwide, about 90 percent of the computer market is comprised of PC users with about 10 percent being Mac users. Cybercriminals are well aware of these statistics and tend to focus their virus efforts on the "bigger slice of the pie." So traditionally, Macs have been known to experience fewer viruses.

However, Mac security has been in the news again lately due to the MacDefender malware and its variants. MacDefender masquerades as antivirus software, showing a webpage that looks like a virus detection screen, and then prompting the user to complete the install process. If completed, the malware will ask for credit card information to eliminate nonexistent viruses.

Do Mac users need to worry about viruses? The short answer is yes. No computer is completely immune from threats and Apple recommends that Mac users keep antivirus software updated and take precautions when downloading files, opening email attachments, etc. If you're in the 90 percent with a PC, you should be practicing these security measures as well.

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SITES OF THE MONTH

Great Sites To Check Out In August

Travel Fare Tracking
http://yapta.com
If you're looking for the best prices on travel, visit this site to help you track them. You can enter information about the flight, hotel, or car you're looking for and then have the site send you email updates when the price goes down. You can also use the site to get a refund from the airline if a flight price drops after you book it.

Donate And Learn
http://freerice.com
This site allows you to use your smarts and help people at the same time. Answer quiz questions on a variety of topics and for every answer you get right, the site donates rice to those in need in places like Cambodia and Africa. This is a nonprofit organization, so you can also donate money or read their blog to find out more about how they're making a difference.

Summer Salad Recipes
http://momswhothink.com/salad-recipes/salad-recipes.html
Warm August weather is a great time for cool salads. Here you'll find recipes for all kinds of salads including classics like macaroni and potato; desserts like Jell-O and fruit; and hearty like shrimp, chicken, and taco. Explore the rest of the site to find useful articles on health, parenting, nutrition, and more topics of interest to moms and others who care for kids.

Video Education
http://khanacademy.org
Before they start the new school year, do your kids need a refresher on some of what they learned last year? This free and comprehensive e- learning site has videos on hundreds of topics to choose from. Subjects include math, science, history, and finance. Even if your kids are all caught up, you might consider using the site yourself.

Best Months To Buy
http://freeshipping.org/blog/best-time-to-buy-guide
From kitchen appliances to winter coats to champagne, you can spend less by knowing the right time to buy. For example, August is traditionally a great time to purchase things like computers, lawn mowers, and swimsuits. But every month has its bargains. Before your next major purchase, check this guide to figure out the best time to buy.

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SHORT TUTORIAL

Creating an Account On Twitter

According to Twitter, 200 million tweets are now posted daily, compared with 65 million a day just one year ago. If you aren't currently on Twitter but are ready to "test your wings," you'll be happy to know that it's easy to sign up and get started. Simply follow these instructions:

1. Visit http://twitter.com, enter your full name, and click the yellow button on the right side of your screen. You can also simply navigate to https://twitter.com/signup.

2. Fill in the first field with your full name.

3. Select a username from one of the usernames suggested or create your own. Twitter will automatically suggest available usernames based on the real name and email address you've entered. Try to pick something that describes you--whether it's a nickname, an interest, or a hobby. (See below for more tips.)

4. Enter a password. Be tricky! Make sure your password contains letters, numbers, and symbols.

5. Enter your email address; it should be one that you actively use.

6. Fill in the CAPTCHA to prove you're human, not a machine!

7. Pick sources that interest you (more on this below).

8. Search for Friends and follow them.

Here are some tips for choosing a username:

  • Your username is the name your followers use when sending @replies, direct messages, or Retweets.
  • Your username will also form the URL of your home timeline. Twitter will provide a few available suggestions but feel free to choose your own.
  • You can change your username in your account settings at any time as long as the new username is not in use.
  • Usernames must be fewer than 15 characters in length and cannot contain 'admin' or 'twitter' in order to avoid brand confusion.

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We hope you found this eNewsletter to be informative. It's one of our ways of keeping you posted on news and information about our industry and our community. Thank you for the privilege of serving you!

Best regards,

Your Whidbey Telecom Team

We have used our best efforts in collecting and preparing the information published herein. However, we do not assume, and hereby disclaim, any and all liability for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions resulted from negligence, accident, or other causes.

©2011 Cornerstone Publishing Group Inc.

 


Whidbey Telecom
14888 SR 525, Langley, WA 98260 - 360 321 1122 - www.whidbey.com

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