What is Phishing? Identifying and Protecting Your Business From Phishing Attacks

For most businesses, email is a convenient and effective communication tool inside and outside of their organization. Unfortunately, it is also the primary avenue used by scammers for phishing attacks. Cybercriminals use emails to distribute malware, phishing, and other attacks designed to defraud individuals and corporations. Phishing attacks use a combination of email and fictitious websites to fool users into disclosing sensitive information. To protect yourself and your business from these scams, it is critical to understand what they are and how to avoid them.

 What is Phishing?

 Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, credit card details, and other pertinent personal information. These messages usually appear as if the user is receiving a legitimate email or phone call from a trusted entity, such as a bank or someone in their company, and typically directs them to click a link, download an attachment, or provide financial information over the phone.

The are many different types of phishing schemes. Understanding and educating your employees about these schemes is key to protecting your business from falling victim to them.

Spear Phishing

Spelling mistakes and poor grammar used to be the tell-tale sign of a phishing attempt. Over the years, phishing has evolved into a much more sophisticated cyber-crime as scammers began to use targeted phishing schemes. Spear phishing targets specific individuals and it’s often difficult to distinguish these emails from legitimate messages, which is part of the reason these cyber scams are so successful.

Before the scammer sends you any communication, they already know some of your personal information. They’ve researched and learned about your business to pose as someone you do business with, or they’ve monitored your social media for tidbits about your life, i.e. did you post on social media about that big purchase you just made? Once armed with this information, they can craft a carefully worded message that will seem very believable to its targeted recipient.

Whaling

Whaling, or CEO Phishing, is another form of phishing that targets high-level executives and managers. The attackers, in this case, are looking to gain access to their target’s email account. Once they’ve gained access, their possibilities are limitless. They can access personnel files, initiate wire transfers, or gain access to any other information they’d like.

Ransomware Phishing

A ransomware phishing attack will typically be an email that appears to be coming from someone known to the recipient asking them to click on a link or open a file. Once the link is clicked or the file is opened, ransomware is loaded. The file may even appear to be legitimate – maybe it has the company logo – so the target may not realize what has happened until the attacker has locked all files and sent a ransom demand.

Vishing

Phishing is not just limited to email messages. Just as people use email and other technologies for criminal purposes, they’ve also found a way to use your VoIP phone systems to scam businesses and consumers by faking Caller ID.

A typical vishing scam involves using VoIP with a modem to call phone numbers in a given area. When a person answers the phone, an automated recording states that the person’s credit card is showing fraudulent activity. The person is directed to call a specific toll-free or local phone number immediately. The number dialed may show a spoofed caller ID for the financial company the scammer is pretending to represent. When the call is made, the recording on the other line asks you to enter your credit card number and three-digit code, which is exactly what the scammers are after.

Smishing

Smishing is also done over the phone using text messaging. Scammers use text messages to try and trick people into giving them personal and financial information via text message by posing as a bank or credit card company. Often times there is a link to click on or a phone number they are asking you to call where they will try and obtain the information they are after.

Protect Yourself and Your Organization. There are many steps you can take to prevent or reduce the risks associated with phishing attacks.

Educate your employees. Implement security awareness training and teach your employees how to recognize phishing attacks.

    • If you spot a spelling error or poor grammar, it is very likely the message you received was not sent by the organization it claims to be from.
    • Think before you click. Before you download an attachment, always stop to evaluate whether it is from a legitimate sender. It is easy to make an email appear as if it came from your bank or other financial institutions. Check the actual email address of the sender to be sure they are whom they say they are.
    • If a call appears to be from a bank, credit card company, or other official business and requests financial information, end the call. Look up the official number of that business and call them back on that number. Never provide company credit card or other financial information over the phone unless you are already acquainted with the representative calling.
  1. Filter your email. Most email security solutions include spam and virus filters. Anti-phishing protection solutions should check for domain spoofing and be able to flag questionable content.
  2. Frequent backups. Because most phishing emails contain some sort of ransomware, it is important to keep your system consistently backed up. This will allow you to get employees back to work quickly by getting them access to the latest versions of their uninfected files.
  3. Keep software up-to-date. Regularly updating your operating system and security software helps to fix security vulnerabilities being taken advantage of by hackers. A virus can spread across your network using gaps in security caused by out-of-date software.

Investing in technology and training your employees will considerably reduce your risk and the impact a cyber-attack could have on your business. Contact Chickasaw Telecom to learn more about the options available to protect your business and help you stay better prepared.

SD-WAN: Why You Should Consider Making the Switch

Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) has recently become a hot topic in the IT world. SD-WAN offers numerous benefits for organizations of all sizes but is especially helpful to businesses with multiple branch locations. Many companies are virtualizing their existing WAN configurations and realizing the cost savings and operational efficiency of SD-WAN implementations.

What is SD-WAN?

SD-WAN is a way for your company to automate, centralize, and simplify your network management. With SD-WAN, you have cost-efficient, secure, cloud-based WAN connectivity that reduces the need to purchase expensive proprietary hardware and network transport. SD-WAN securely connects a business to a public or private cloud or to a corporate network. It takes traditional physical networking and turns it into a software-defined virtual functionality. SD-WAN is deployed as a software-based solution or as a combination of hardware and software with WAN devices placed at each branch location. Each device is managed from one central location. All routing is based on application policies and security rules set in place by your IT staff and can be quickly revised as your network requirements change.

What are the Benefits of SD-WAN?

Lower Networking Costs

With SD-WAN, you can use the mode of transport that makes the most economical sense for your business’ situation, i.e. MPLS, Ethernet, WiFi and any type of Internet bandwidth. If you have some offices running on an MPLS network, but you want your new offices to access the cloud and your data center directly, this can be accomplished using low-cost Internet connections, while maintaining a high level of security. SD-WAN allows you to improve and expand your existing network infrastructure quickly and within budget.

Increased Security

SD-WAN helps improve network security in the following ways:

• Encrypted network traffic protects data as it moves back and forth from the cloud.

• Network segmentation limits the damage done from an attack to a smaller more manageable area. The SD technology immediately alerts your IT staff to the problem, allowing them to begin working on a fix right away.

• Central provisioning systems allow for better communication between all levels of your network.

Increased Productivity and Simplified Operational Efficiency

SD-WAN improves network performance and enables your employees to connect to their cloud-based software and files faster. It provides the ability to maintain a responsive, redundant network. By using automatic routing based on parameters set by your IT staff, if the Internet connection goes down in one office, the SD-WAN can re-route Internet traffic and VoIP phone service utilizing the network connection of another location.

SD-WAN also eliminates the need to employ IT staff at each branch location. Once the pre-configured SD-WAN device is connected at your branch site, it should come online, configure itself and be running within minutes. Your corporate IT staff can then manage each location using a software-defined management application.

Improved Voice Quality

SD-WAN is just as useful to companies with one location as it is for those with multiple locations. By implementing two or more Internet connections from different providers, SD-WAN can dramatically improve the quality of your VoIP calls. SD-WANs use application-based routing to direct voice traffic across the most favorable path. Additionally, by implementing an SD-WAN solution that features Forward Error Correction (FEC), you can improve your voice quality by compensating for packet loss. Lost packets are reconfigured and packets that are delivered out of order will be reduced.

Increased Network Speed

Network performance is crucial for unified communications and business applications. Some network traffic needs to move quicker than other traffic. SD-WAN has the ability to steer the traffic of applications and different users onto applicable paths. SD-WAN can also automatically re-route traffic onto a different path when the current path becomes overcrowded.

SD-WAN has many appealing features. The value of SD-WAN on its own is clear. Organizations are not only saving money but also benefiting from increased business agility and employee productivity.

The New Distributed Workforce

With remote teams of employees becoming much more commonplace, employers are tasked with effectively managing their distributed workforce. Many technologies exist to enable and control resources available to remote employees. Voice-over-Internet-Protocol, or VoIP, provides many features at a fraction of the cost including real-time collaboration, call recording, video conferencing and more. These features effortlessly deliver the communication options critical for today’s distributed workforce. Below are just a few examples of how VoIP and business Cloud applications support mobility and the distributed workforce.

Telecommuting Made Easier

Using a telephone system that is hosted by the Cloud, your employees need only an Internet connection to securely connect to the system. Many VoIP products offer communication features specifically designed to improve management of a distributed workforce. Features such as call routing and conferencing allow unparalleled access to employees working in remote locations by allowing them to use their smartphones and laptops as if they were working in an actual office. VoIP also provides a consistent and professional experience for your customers and prospects. Using the Presence Management capability of VoIP, calls can be automatically routed to any number or extension. The call transfers are seamless, making it appear as if the employee they are speaking to is in the office, no matter where they are located.

Increased Productivity

Because VoIP is an Internet-based communication system, your employees can make and receive phone calls from anywhere anytime. They can use audio and video conferencing to organize and attend business meetings, make sales presentations, or conduct training remotely.

Even when you or your employees are not in the office, you can:

• Check the availability of others in your business.
• Know when other employees are engaged and should not be disturbed.
• Easily communicate by instant message (IM) with anyone on your team.
• Use a smartphone to access voice messages and collaboration features.
• Get real-time call alerts online.

In addition, VoIP allows you to log a record of all calls. This gives you some insight into how your employees are managing their time as well as the number of contacts made with customers, vendors, and others.

Cost Savings

One of the biggest benefits of VoIP systems is that they are very cost effective. Whether audio or video, so long as it’s sent through the Internet, it’s virtually free. The costs of calls themselves are also greatly reduced as there are little to no charges for long distance or international calls. This is a tremendous benefit if you have a workforce that is spread across the country. And because VoIP systems have flexible and changeable structures, it’s easy to expand or scale back as needed. VoIP also makes it easier to manage your business. You can rely on the system to route calls using the most effective path, increasing your business’s efficiency. It helps you achieve the almost effortless communication necessary to run your business effectively and to ensure that you and your employees can be attentive to the needs of clients and prospects. Additionally, using VoIP to employ a remote workforce, companies can spend less on overhead expenses, possibly even eliminating them altogether.

Collaboration and Teamwork

The video conferencing option of VoIP gives employees a way to connect even when they can’t meet in person. Employees can hold meetings with team members and clients from wherever they are so long as they have an Internet connection. This saves time and travel expenses.
Businesses can also manage critical business data using a Cloud-based file management and backup solution, such as SecuriSync by Intermedia. Employees can instantly and securely access content from any device, share folders with colleagues, vendors or customers, and co-edit files in real-time with multiple collaborators. Your business data is automatically backed up and protected from ransomware attacks, hardware failure, or accidental file deletions.

The flexibility of VoIP systems means they can be tailored to fit your specific needs. Your Ideacom Network telecom provider can help you find and customize a VoIP telephony system that’s just right for your business.

That’s Not Your Neighbor Calling: Caller ID Spoofing and How to Protect Yourself

If you have a landline or a cell phone, you have most likely experienced an increase in the number of local phone calls you’re receiving, but when you answer the phone, it’s an automated telemarketing campaign or an obvious, or not so obvious, scam call. You are not alone. Caller ID spoofing is used every day by scammers and telemarketers in an effort to get you to answer the phone.

What is Caller ID Spoofing?

Caller ID spoofing is a technology that allows a caller to display a number other than the actual number from which a call is placed. With this technology, the caller can send and receive calls and texts that appear to be from any phone number that they choose. While there are legitimate uses and benefits to using this technology, scammers are using it to steal money and personal identities over the phone. In order for their phone scams to work, scammers need their targets to answer the phone. In recent years, scammers have started using “neighbor spoofing” to match the first six digits of their intended call recipient’s own number to make them think the phone call is coming from a local business or even a friend or family member. They know that their call recipient is much more likely to answer the phone if the call is local, increasing their chances that their scam will be successful.

Is Caller ID Spoofing Illegal?

Technically, caller ID spoofing is not illegal. Under the FCC’s Truth in Caller ID Act, so long as a person or business entity is not using caller ID spoofing with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value, it is perfectly legal. Unfortunately, a person using caller ID spoofing for less than legitimate purposes knows that what they are doing is illegal and will continue to do it anyway.

How Does Caller ID Spoofing Work?

There are many internet-based services that offer caller ID spoofing. A caller provides the phone number they’d like to call along with the phone number they would like shown on the recipient’s caller ID. The call is then sent through a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service, where the outbound caller ID is changed, and the caller is connected to their desired recipient’s phone number.

Protecting Yourself.

While the Federal Trade Commission has done what they can to try and ensure that spoofing services are not being used to defraud consumers, there are precautions you should take to protect yourself from potential scams:

• Keep in mind that caller ID spoofing allows a caller to use actual phone numbers of individuals and businesses. This means a scammer can make it appear as if the call is coming from your doctor, insurance company, or financial institution. If you receive a call from a number that you recognize, but are uncertain of the caller’s authenticity, there is nothing wrong with hanging up and calling the number back to ensure it is not a scam.

• Do not give personal, financial, or credit card information over the phone unless you have initiated the call.

• Consider using a call blocking app to decrease the number of spam calls you are receiving or ask your phone carrier if they offer a similar service.

• Lastly, do not answer calls from unfamiliar phone numbers, even if it appears to be a local call. By answering the phone, you’re alerting the caller that the number they are dialing is a real phone number, putting you at risk of receiving, even more, calls in the future. If the caller is legitimate, they will leave a message.

You can also add your phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov. While it is unlikely to prevent scam calls, it may help to reduce the number of legitimate calls you receive from telemarketers, making it easier to screen for scammers. If you suspect a call you received was fraudulent, you can file a complaint with the FCC online at www.consumercomplaints.fcc.gov

Chickasaw Telecom, Inc. Named to CRN’s 2018 Solution Provider 500 List

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, June 4, 2018 Chickasaw Telecom, Inc., announced today that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named Chickasaw Telecom, Inc. to its 2018 Solution Provider 500 list. The Solution Provider 500 is CRN’s annual ranking of the largest technology integrators, solution providers and IT consultants in North America by revenue.

The Solution Provider 500 is CRN’s predominant channel partner award list, serving as the industry standard for recognition of the most successful solution provider companies in the channel since 1995. The complete list will be published on CRN.com, making it readily available to vendors seeking out top solution providers to partner with.

CRN has also released its 2018 Solution Provider 500: Newcomers list, recognizing 26 companies making their debut in the Solution Provider 500 ranking this year.

“2018 is the 8th consecutive year we have been included in the CRN Solution Provider 500 listing. Guided by our customers’ needs, we continue to adapt to an ever changing digital landscape and provide our customers and business partners with the latest innovations to propel their businesses forward.” said Jeffrey Downey, GM, Chickasaw Telecom, Inc.

“CRN’s Solution Provider 500 list spotlights the North American IT channel partner organizations that have earned the highest revenue over the past year, providing a valuable resource to vendors looking for top solution providers to partner with,” said Bob Skelley, CEO of The Channel Company. “The companies on this year’s list represent an incredible, combined revenue of $320 billion, a sum that attests to their success in staying ahead of rapidly changing market demands. We extend our sincerest congratulations to each of these top-performing solution providers and look forward to their future pursuits and successes.”

About Chickasaw Telecom, Inc.

Chickasaw is an IT company with more than 100 years of communications-related expertise. From our Oklahoma base, we serve state and local educational institutions and commercial companies, all looking to improve performance through technology. Since our focus is and has always been on Oklahoma, clients benefit in two ways: first, our understanding of the local marketplace allows us to better assess a company’s technology needs; that, combined with our local presence, results in more complete and innovative solutions, designed, implemented and supported with unmatched speed and reliability.

About the Channel Company

The Channel Company enables breakthrough IT channel performance with our dominant media, engaging events, expert consulting and education, and innovative marketing services and platforms. As the channel catalyst, we connect and empower technology suppliers, solution providers and end users. Backed by more than 30 years of unequaled channel experience, we draw from our deep knowledge to envision innovative new solutions for ever-evolving challenges in the technology marketplace. www.thechannelco.com

2017 Star of the Year Award Winner

Leeana Doyel was selected as the Chickasaw Telecom Star of the Year for 2017.

Leeana is a Senior Dispatcher and interacts with customers and field service personnel to keep our service department running efficiently. If you have ever placed a service request I think you will agree she is the real deal when it comes to customer satisfaction.

Thank you Leeana and well done!

Chickasaw Telecom, Inc. Named to CRN’s 2017 Solution Provider 500 List

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, June 5, 2017 Chickasaw Telecom, Inc., announced today that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named Chickasaw Telecom, Inc. to its 2017 Solution Provider 500 list. The Solution Provider 500 is CRN’s annual ranking of the largest technology integrators, solution providers and IT consultants in North America by revenue.

The Solution Provider 500 is CRN’s predominant channel partner award list, serving as the industry standard for recognition of the most successful solution provider companies in the channel since 1995. This year, for the first time since 2010, the complete list will be published on CRN.com, making it readily available to vendors seeking out top solution providers to partner with.

CRN has also released its 2017 Solution Provider 500: Newcomers list, recognizing 58 companies making their debut in the Solution Provider 500 ranking this year.

“We are honored to once again be included in the CRN Solution Provider 500 listing,” said Jeff Downey, GM of Chickasaw Telecom, Inc. “We also want to take this opportunity to thank our loyal customers and partners for their business and support.”

“CRN’s Solution Provider 500 list spotlights the North American IT channel partner organizations that have earned the highest revenue over the past year, providing a valuable resource to vendors looking for top solution providers to partner with,” said Robert Faletra, CEO of The Channel Company. “The companies on this year’s list represent an incredible, combined revenue of over $318 billion, a sum that attests to their success in staying ahead of rapidly changing market demands. We extend our sincerest congratulations to each of these top-performing solution providers and look forward to their future pursuits and successes.”

 

About Chickasaw Telecom, Inc.

“Chickasaw is an IT company with more than 100 years of communications-related expertise. From our Oklahoma base, we serve state and local educational institutions and commercial companies, all looking to improve performance through technology. Since our focus is and has always been on Oklahoma, clients benefit in two ways. First, our understanding of the local marketplace allows us to better assess a company’s technology needs. That, combined with our local presence, results in more complete and innovative solutions, designed, implemented and supported with unmatched speed and reliability.”

 About the Channel Company

The Channel Company enables breakthrough IT channel performance with our dominant media, engaging events, expert consulting and education, and innovative marketing services and platforms. As the channel catalyst, we connect and empower technology suppliers, solution providers and end users. Backed by more than 30 years of unequaled channel experience, we draw from our deep knowledge to envision innovative new solutions for ever-evolving challenges in the technology marketplace. www.thechannelco.com

 

Chickasaw Telecom Renews Their Advanced Data Center Architecture Specialization

Congratulations to CHICKASAW TELECOM, INC. for meeting all criteria to renew their Advanced Data Center Architecture Specialization in USA.

By achieving the Advanced Data Center Architecture Specialization, CHICKASAW TELECOM, INC. has proven they have the ability to provide sophisticated, value-added Cisco solutions through their in-depth sales capabilities, technology skills and service offerings. 

Chickasaw Telecom Renews Their Advanced Collaboration Architecture Specialization

Congratulations to CHICKASAW TELECOM, INC. for meeting all criteria to renew their Advanced Collaboration Architecture Specialization in USA.

By achieving the Advanced Collaboration Architecture Specialization, CHICKASAW TELECOM, INC. has proven they have the ability to provide sophisticated, value-added Cisco solutions through their in-depth sales capabilities, technology skills and service offerings. 

Chickasaw Telecom Renews Their Advanced Security Architecture Specialization

Congratulations to CHICKASAW TELECOM, INC. for meeting all criteria to renew their Advanced Security Architecture Specialization in USA.

By achieving the Advanced Security Architecture Specialization, CHICKASAW TELECOM, INC. has proven they have the ability to provide sophisticated, value-added Cisco solutions through their in-depth sales capabilities, technology skills and service offerings.