Cybersecurity: How to keep your children safe!

The Internet is a great resource for you and your family. At the touch of a button, you have access to a world of knowledge and entertainment. Sadly, the internet is also a dangerous place to hang out – particularly for children. Nearly 60% of teens have received an email or instant message from a stranger – half of them have replied. With summer approaching, the potential for children to wind up on dangerous sites increases since kids have more free time and that usually means more screen time.

So what can you do? Just to get started, let’s list some things you can do almost immediately to help keep your kids safe while they’re online.

It won’t take a lot of time to try these suggestions, and while we’ll talk later on about setting up parental controls through your Race router, the following steps can give you some peace of mind until you can do so.

    1. Place computers in a common area of the house:
      Don’t allow kids to have a computer in their room. You’d be surprised by how much the mere presence of a parent who may or may not be looking over a child’s shoulder while they use the computer can keep a child in line. They have no way of knowing if your eyes are good enough to see across the room, now do they? Make sure the computer’s screen is visible from other parts of the room and isn’t turned toward a wall.
    2. Set reasonable time and usage limits:
      Set rules about what your child can and can’t do when on the internet. Set time limits on their computer use. If they say they’re researching homework, maybe you don’t include that in the time limits – but make sure they’re using it for homework.
    3. Discuss the dangers of the web with your child:
      Sit down and discuss the dangers of the internet. Talk openly and honestly about what’s out there and the kind of stuff they want to avoid. Forewarned is forearmed.
    4. Teach them to protect their privacy
      While they won’t fully understand the consequences of revealing personal information online, you should still make sure your children know:
      * Never to give their name, phone number, e-mail address, password, postal address, school, or picture without your permission
      * Not to open e-mail from people they don’t know
      * Not to respond to hurtful or disturbing messages
      * Not to get together with anyone they “meet” online.
    5. Keep the youngsters out of online chat rooms, and do your best to reinforce the old rule, “never talk to strangers.”:
      Chat rooms are a popular place for sex offenders to meet their prey. If possible, keep your kids out of chat rooms altogether. Make sure your child knows that no matter how nice an online “friend” may seem to be, they are still a stranger, and may not be who they appear to be. ​
    6. Know Passwords:
      Be upfront with your children that you will need to have their passwords for all of their devices and for all of their social media sites. Once you have the passwords, check these sites regularly to see what your child is seeing and posting.
    7. NEVER let your child upload or download photos without your permission:
      Online predators will often send photos supposedly of themselves or request photos of the child.

Turn your ISP into your ally
Before buying any safety product, experts recommend that you work with what you’ve got, starting with your Internet service provider – hopefully that is us at Race Communications!

Your Gigafy Me router includes free parental controls that can limit children’s access to websites and communication features (e-mail, instant messaging, chat) by the time of day and other variables. If you don’t have a router rental through Race, give us a call to have that added or if you have any questions about these features.

Bills, bills, bills – what should you know?

When you place an order with Race, we do our best to explain our billing system and process, but we know sometimes you’re just excited to finally be placing an order which is why we have created this brief cheat sheet on our billing process.

When it comes to billing, we try our best to KEEP THINGS SIMPLE – which is why we make sure that we bill you on the first of the month, every month (with the exception of January). It helps you have peace of mind that we won’t be sending your statement on different dates. Everyone has the same due date (the 20th of the month) as well. Starting the 21st of the month, you will begin accruing late fees.

Now that you know the “when”, what about the “how”?

We offer two forms of bill delivery:

Option 1 – ELECTRONIC (PAPERLESS) BILLING: No more paper, no more stamps, and no more headaches! You can choose to receive your statements via e-mail. This allows you to have a digital copy as well as a hard copy should you choose to print your statement.

Option 2 – PAPER BILLING: While we highly encourage everyone to switch over to paperless billing, we understand that some of our customers may want to have a hardcopy of their bills. For customers who choose paper billing, a $2.00 surcharge will apply.

We like to make things easy on you which is why we offer various methods of payment:

Option 1 – AUTOMATED BILLING: Yes, you can set up automatic payments – if you are not already set up, the transition is simple. To automate your billing, please call 877-722-3833, select option 2 followed by option 4 to speak with our billing department who will be happy to assist you with the process. Each time a payment is processed, you will receive an email receipt for your records.

Option 2 – ONLINE PAYMENT: Don’t like auto-draft? Not a problem. Next time a payment is due, simply log on to our online portal via our website (www.race.com), and follow the instructions for online payment using the payment method of your choosing.

Option 3 – PAY BY CHECK: Like to send a check? Not a problem – just be sure to mail your check in advance (remember, your due date is always the 20th of the month) Checks should be mailed to:

Race Communications
ATT: Billing
1325 Howard Ave. #604
Burlingame, CA. 94010

Information about your first bill:
Please be aware that your first bill may differ from your expected monthly total. As we said before, Race runs statements on the 1st of every month so your first statement will most likely include a pro-rated amount based on your start date in addition to the current month’s charges.

For example, if you are installed on the 25th of June, you will receive your first bill on July 1st. Your first bill will include the prorated amount for the month of June as well as the full amount for July.

We hope this answers all your questions – if not, let us know by leaving a comment below!

All systems are go in Occidental, CA!

In late August of 2016, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) unanimously approved a grant for construction of the “Gigafy Occidental” Project for fiber-to-the-home, high-speed broadband Internet to over 400 homes in Occidental, CA

As of today, the first Occidental customers were turned up and are experiencing what being gigafied really means.  One customer described the arrival of high-speed internet as “beyond strange and wonderful”.

 

The amount of interest from the area has been great, and Race looks forward to gigafying the rest of Occidental in the coming weeks. Installation calls are being made daily to those who have placed an order, and we encourage anyone who hasn’t ordered yet, to do so!

Race provides a true fiber-to-the-home network capable of download and upload speeds up to 1,000Mbps. The “Gigafy Me” plan starts at just $60/month with the more affordable “Basic Broadband+” available at just $25/month. Race also offers phone and TV services as optional add-ons.

ALERT: Router Malware with destructive capabilities – check to see if you’re at risk!

A new threat which targets a range of routers and network-attached storage (NAS) devices is capable of knocking out infected devices by rendering them unusable. Customers who have a Race router can rest easy – their devices are not affected by this threat.  However, if you do not own a Race provided router, you may want to take a look at the list below to see if you may be at risk.

To date, VPNFilter is known to be capable of infecting enterprise and small office/home office routers from Linksys, MikroTik, Netgear, and TP-Link, as well as QNAP network-attached storage (NAS) devices. These include:

  • Linksys E1200
  • Linksys E2500
  • Linksys WRVS4400N
  • Mikrotik RouterOS for Cloud Core Routers: Versions 1016, 1036, and 1072
  • Netgear DGN2200
  • Netgear R6400
  • Netgear R7000
  • Netgear R8000
  • Netgear WNR1000
  • Netgear WNR2000
  • QNAP TS251
  • QNAP TS439 Pro
  • Other QNAP NAS devices running QTS software
  • TP-Link R600VPN

What should you do if you own an infected device?

The FBI recommends that users of affected devices  reboot them immediately. If the device is infected with VPNFilter, rebooting will remove Stage 2 and any Stage 3 elements present on the device. This will temporarily remove the destructive component of VPNFilter. However, if infected, the continuing presence of Stage 1 means that Stages 2 and 3 can be reinstalled by the attackers.

You should then apply the latest available patches to affected devices and ensure that none use default credentials.