Happy Halloween!


Hope your Halloween’s had more treats than tricks!

To celebrate the season, we held a little costume contest here in the office. A few of the entries were pretty spooky… but for the most part, the costumes were more fun than frightful!

Our winner this year was Ronnie Mills, in his fantastic gold pant-suit. In second place, we had Jason Christian as the Penguin, and Tyler Bowers in 3rd as a younger version of himself! Check out our Facebook for some more photos of the runners-up!

ronnie's costume Jason's Costume Tyler's Costume

First SEC Homecoming Tailgate


How was your Homecoming weekend? We had a great tailgate last weekend with plenty of hot dogs and brats to go around, and it was nice to celebrate our first SEC home game win on Homecoming Weekend!
 
We got started early with the 11 am kick-off time, and some of our team came over from the homecoming parade downtown. It will be sad attending our final tailgate this year as the Tigers take on Syracuse on November 17th, but all in all it has been a great inaugural SEC season.
 
We play Florida this weekend on the road with a record of 4-4, and the game starts at 11 am.  Like always, don’t forget to catch the Socket Post-Game report with Mike Kelly on ESPN KTGR 100.5 FM.
 

Takin' Care Of Business


Jefferson City Business showcaseAfter our last show in Springfield, the drive to Jefferson City doesn’t seem nearly as long!

We’re getting ready for the “Takin’ Care of Business” Showcase, hosted by the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce. The show is Thursday, October 25th, from 8:30 am until 5 pm, at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.

This is the first year the business showcase has been hosted in this venue.

Come visit us, along with hundreds of other local companies! The Showcase is open to the public, and tickets are only $3.

For more information on the showcase, visit www.jcchamber.org.

Carson Turns 40


On Friday, October 19th, the mood at our Columbia office was somber. Socketeers came to work wearing black. A few even donned mourning veils.

That’s right – our president, Carson Coffman, is officially over the hill.
 

Carson's Birthday party Carson's Birthday party

We figured the least we could do was throw him a surprise party after work. So while his fellow co-owner George Pfenenger shuttled him out of the building, we broke out the grill and started barbecuing… and setting up a bounce house… and throwing up slideshows of his baby pictures… and “decorating” his office…

Luckily for us, Carson is a good sport, and took it all in stride – he even donned the felt “Happy Birthday” tiara we got as a joke!

The party was a ton of fun - here’s to hoping we can throw one next year, too! Happy 40th Birthday, Carson!
 

Carson's Birthday Party Carson's Birthday Party

 

25 Most Common Passwords... Are You Using One Of Them?


Is your password on this list? Then you might want to change it.

According to SplashData, an online security company, the easiest way for a hacker to break into an account is to simply try common passwords. So if your password is, well, “password,” you’ve made a hacker’s job very, very easy.

The following list is compiled from millions of passwords posted online by hackers, and is a fairly good estimate of some of the most commonly used passwords on the Web. If you’re using any of them, we recommend picking out a stronger one.

·  password
·  123456
·  12345678
·  qwerty
·  abc123
·  monkey
·  1234567
·  letmein
·  trustno1
·  dragon
·  baseball
·  111111
·  iloveyou
·  master
·  sunshine
·  ashley
·  bailey
·  passw0rd
·  shadow
·  123123
·  654321
·  superman
·  qazwsx
·  michael
·  football

Yard Signs Equal Speed Upgrades


Fiber Internet Yard SignIf you live in Millersburg or Fulton, MO within our fiber network, you may have seen your neighbors displaying one of our snappy little yard signs.
 
Our customers are helping us get the word out about construction going on in the area as we build our fiber-to-the-home network in rural Boone & Callaway counties.
 
Want in on the free speed upgrade?
 
If you're a current customer on our fIber network, we'll upgrade your speeds to 30 Mbps for 90 days if you display one of our yard signs for a month. It's that simple.
 
We want to spread the word about our fiber Internet, and we really appreciate your help!
 
If you would like to sign up for the program, all you have to do is email office@socket.net with the subject "Free Speed Upgrade" and give us the A-OK to display a sign in your yard next month.
 
After we pick up the sign, you'll be surfing the web at the fastest speeds around!
 

Watch Out For Tech Support Scams!


If you’re having any problems with your PC, we always encourage you to call our local, friendly tech support. But if unfamiliar tech support calls you instead, it should set off warning bells!

On October 3rd, the FTC announced it would be launching an international crackdown on tech support scams. While the problem may originate overseas, it can have some real local repercussions.

Here’s how the scam works – a “tech support representative” will call, claiming that your computer has alerted them to a virus infection. Since these calls aren’t local, they’ll probably mention a well-known company or name, like Microsoft or “Windows,” in an effort to sound legitimate.

After directing you to look up files and error messages (which are natural and not actually signs of infection), the “representative” will ask you to download a program from their website. Some of these programs will grant them remote access to your computer, which can be exceptionally dangerous. Once they have control of your PC, they can shut it down, and then demand payment for “fixing it.”

Some things to look out for:

  • Are they evasive when you ask questions?
  • Are they trying to emphasize a “state of emergency?”
  • Are they asking for any payment or identifying information?
  • Are they asking you to download anything?

If you think you’re being scammed, avoid giving out any information. Instead, take down what information they give you, and report it to the FTC. The more information the FTC has to work with, the more likely it is that they can shut them down.

What is Spoofing?


“Spoofing” refers to the act of imitating or masquerading as a trustworthy source. Spammers and scammers often use some form of this technique in order to gain personal information from unsuspecting victims. Here’s a few ways a scammer can implement this:

-Email Spoofing

By altering the “From” and “Reply-to” fields in an email, a spammer can make an email look like it’s from anyone. This is surprisingly easy to do, and yet many people assume that the “From” field is a true sign of legitimacy.

If a scammer can gain access to an address book, another tactic is to send the victim an email from what appears to be a friend. These can elicit less suspicion than, say, a poorly worded email that’s supposedly from the bank.

-Caller ID Spoofing

With the advent of VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), there are now multiple programs that will allow a user to place a call purporting to be from any number they wish.  In other words, a scammer can call from a different country, but have your Caller ID display a local number or familiar name.

While this practice has been illegal since 2010, it’s hardly slowed down the growth of this type of deception, particularly amongst overseas offenders. Don’t assume that Caller ID is infallible; if you’re suspicious, ask for a number where you can call back. If it doesn’t match, it’s time to hang up.
 

Spoofing is just one of the many tools a hacker can use to try and access your personal info. Oftentimes, it’s coupled with a Phishing attempt as well. But a little caution and a healthy dose of skepticism can help protect you from even the most determined of identity thieves.

Don't Get Caught in a Phisher's Net!


Occasionally, we get reports from our users that they’ve received suspicious emails… from us!

These “official emails” usually notify recipients that their accounts have been suspended, and that they need to click a certain link to reinstate it. These messages are not from Socket! But by spoofing actual notifications we’ve sent in the past, spammers can make their traps look pretty convincing.
  
Therefore, it's important to be cautious when you receive emails that appear to be legitimate requests from reputable companies. “Phishers” can use fake emails to ask you for passwords, IDs, and other sensitive information, in the guise of a company you trust.
 
Here are some tips on identifying phishing emails:
 

  • Businesses should never ask you to submit personal information via email. If they do, forward the email to the business to verify its validity, or contact them via phone or in person.
  • Look for phishing characteristics. Phishing messages often contain spelling, grammatical or other errors. See examples of phishing emails or check a suspicious email online at www.phishtank.com.
  • Exercise caution when clicking links in an e-mail. Links can be masked to direct you to a different website than the one listed. Hold your mouse over the link and look at the bottom of your browser window to see if the links match. If not, it could be a scam. When in doubt, type links directly into your address bar to be sure you are visiting the intended website.
  • Use a spam filter and antivirus software to minimize phishing emails. A spam filter can block many phishing emails from entering your inbox. Utilize an antivirus program to protect against unwanted files that could rob you of personal information.

Take just a few minutes to learn about phishing and how to protect yourself. Your chances of falling victim to a costly scam will be greatly minimized.

My Identity's Stolen - Now What?


“Data breach”- something that only happens to other people, right? It may be more common than you think. Since 2005, over 563 millions records containing sensitive information have been compromised, and according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, this number could be even higher.
 

If your personal info falls into the hands of thieves, there are still ways for you to protect yourself. Even some of our own techs have been victims of identity theft, and they've offered us a few tips.

 
If you suspect someone might be using your identity, the best first step is to obtain a free annual credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com and monitor it closely for unfamiliar activity, like a bank account you don’t remember opening. Don’t be fooled by sites that promise free reports in exchange for a subscription.
 

Next, request a free public records report from ChoicePoint (www.choicetrust.com). These are the same reports used by many businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies to help them make decisions on hiring, insurance, housing and more. Scan this report for false addresses and other inaccuracies that might be related to fraudulent activity.
 

There are plenty of other easy, tangible steps to take in order to reduce the risk of identity theft. Use a mailbox that locks and switch from paper bills to electronic bills whenever possible. Shred confidential mail and credit card pitches using a crosscut paper shredder to deter potential dumpster-diving identity thieves. Never carry paper checks or a social security card because the cost of losing them is just too great.

 
Get educated. Web sites like www.identitytheft.org and www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsi/estidtheft/ have info on how to avoid being victimized, and what to do if it’s already happened. Gauge your personal safety risk, and find tips for lowering it, by taking the 10-question safety quiz at www.idsafety.net. If you believe that you are a victim of identity theft, contact www.idtheftcenter.org. Volunteers there can walk you through the process of restoring your identity.
 
Fixing the damage from identity theft can take a lot of time and stress. But with these tips, hopefully you'll never have to experience it yourself.
 
To continue reading about Identity Theft, read our blog: Don't Get Caught In A Phisher's Net!
 

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Who is Socket

Founded in 1994, Socket is a Missouri-based telephone and Internet service provider with the largest service area in the state.

Socket is a privately held company that provides families and businesses a choice for local and long-distance phone and Internet service. We combine the highest quality customer service with in-depth technical knowledge.

Our network serves more than 20,000 residents and businesses in more than 400 Missouri cities, and our customers enjoy simple billing and quick, friendly service.
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