Microsoft warns of widespread scam around COVID

Microsoft’s Security Intelligence team has warned that it has been tracking a “massive” phishing campaign that attempts to install a remote access tool onto PCs by tricking users into opening email attachments containing malicious Excel 4.0 macros.

Microsoft said the COVID-19 themed campaign started on May 12, and has so far used several hundreds of unique attachments.

The emails being sent out claim to come from the Johns Hopkins Center bearing the title “WHO COVID-19 SITUATION REPORT.” If the recipient attempts to open the attached Excel files it will open with a security warning, and show a graph of supposed coronavirus cases in the US. But if allowed to run, the malicious Excel 4.0 macro also downloads and runs NetSupport Manager.

While NetSupport Manager is a legitimate remote access tool, it’s known for being abused by attackers to gain remote access to – and run commands on – compromised machines, Microsoft said.

“For several months now, we’ve been seeing a steady increase in the use of malicious Excel 4.0 macros in malware campaigns. In April, these Excel 4.0 campaigns jumped on the bandwagon and started using COVID-19 themed lures,” Microsoft’s Security Intelligence team said.

Loris High School Senior Receives The Foundation for Rural Services Scholarship

A senior from Loris High School was selected as the recipient for The Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) Roger Allen Cox Scholarship. Colby Gerald will receive the $500 award to go toward his expenses to attend Southern Wesleyan University, where he plans to study music education.

Colby Gerald

The FRS Roger Allen Cox scholarship award is named for the late Mr. Cox, former Chief Operating Officer and General Manager of Atlantic Telephone Membership Cooperative in Shallotte, NC and is intended to honor Mr. Cox’s passion and endless drive to help ensure that rural Americans have equal access to quality technology and education. HTC supports the youth of our community and is proud to be a part of this worthy program.

The FRS scholarship program is open to all graduating high school seniors who receive local telecommunications service from HTC and have a desire to return to their community once their studies are complete. Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited two-year or four-year college or university, or vocational technical school, and have at least a C-grade point average.

“We are honored to be a part of this program,” said Tom Vitt, HTC director of public relations. “The FRS Scholarship program is one more way telecommunications providers show their support of the youth living in the communities they serve. We are proud to have a local candidate selected this year.”

Scholarship recipients were selected by an independent team of national reviewers from the education field.

Isn’t It Time Your House Got a Little Smarter? 

Living in a smart home may sound like a futuristic idea, but it’s much closer and more accessible than you might imagine. From programming your garage door to open when you pull onto your street, to being alerted to an open window or door in your home, or seeing who’s on your porch with a doorbell camera — the benefits of a smart home aren’t reserved for the movies. You can easily add safety features to your home while controlling nearly every aspect of how it operates with HTC Connected Home Security. As our community begins to re-open and we attempt to return to a sense of normalcy, now is the time to transition to home security and automation.

Simplifying Safety

HTC home security is even more important as you transition back to work and your older children are allowed to spend time alone. With an integrated security system, you’ll have complete access to the home and your child’s movement. HTC Connected Home Security uses motion sensors, video monitoring and automated door locks. This lets you, for example, watch live video of the interior or exterior of your home with high-definition cameras that operate via your high-speed Internet.

Home security and automation work together to protect your loved ones. With a smart home smoke detector, you’ll get professional monitoring for emergency response and real-time text alerts if smoke is detected. When you or your children are home, you can use the 7-inch color touchscreen keypad, when integrated with a doorbell camera, to speak to an unexpected visitor without opening the door. Whether your concern is for children or elderly parents, the HTC Connected Home Security features make your life exponentially easier and give you peace of mind.

Convenient Accessibility

The days of leaving a spare key under the welcome mat are long gone. HTC Connected Home Security allows you to reduce the chance for a crime of opportunity while still making your home accessible to guests. As we all become more comfortable with visits from friends and family, you’ll be able to remotely unlock and lock your doors. With the touch of a button on your cell phone, you can welcome guests into your home or allow the neighbor to set a delivery inside the house. Once the package is delivered or guests are inside, you can lock the door remotely.

Enhance Energy Efficiency

The average home spends north of $2,000 each year in energy costs, according to Energy Star. As you may have guessed, the majority of that is spent on heating and cooling, especially during the heat from South Carolina summers. When 43% of your energy cost revolves around your home’s central heating and air, finding a way to make the system operate more efficiently can be a welcome relief to your wallet. 

The EPA’s Energy Star program has determined that homes with programmable or smart thermostats can save up to $180 per year on heating and cooling. As we enter the summer season, a smart thermostat allows HTC Connected Home Security to automate and remotely control your home’s climate. This allows you to schedule your energy settings — in the warmer months, for example, increasing the temperature when no one is home and cooling your home when it’s time for everyone to return. Plus, you’re alerted to any opened windows or doors, letting you know when energy is being lost. 

All the features of HTC Connected Home Security work together to make your life easier and more secure. Turn lights on and off, alarm your home, respond to a visitor’s knock, and much more. Gain peace of mind this summer as your children spend time at home, guests arrive for weekend visits, and you’re returning to life back in the office. Explore an interactive map of the HTC Connected Home Security possibilities.

Phishing attempt targets @sccoast email users

The following message has been received by some with @sccoast email accounts.

The message is a phishing attempt and users SHOULD NOT click on the link. HTC would never send a message asking you click a link to proceed.

Always be wary of unsolicited emails attempting to scare you into taking action.

THE FOLLOWING IS AN IMAGE OF THE SPAM EMAIL

HTC sponsoring 2 students for FRS 2020 Youth Tour

HTC is offering an opportunity for two local high school juniors to be a part of a 5-day Youth Tour in Washington D.C. HTC is excited to partner with the Foundation for Rural Service’s (FRS) 2020 Youth Tour, designed to give 100 students an inside look at the telecommunications industry and historical landmarks at the nation’s capital.

Two high school juniors, carefully screened and hand-selected for the experience, will become familiar with the legislative process by visiting Congress, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other governmental agencies.  The Youth Tour will also include visits to some of the capital’s historic landmarks, including the Washington Monument, Smithsonian Institution, Jefferson and Lincoln memorials, U.S. Capital, Arlington National Cemetery, Washington Cathedral and Supreme Court. 

“The Foundation for Rural Service’s 2020 Youth Tour is just one of the many benefits exclusive to HTC members and their families,” said Tom Vitt, HTC director of public relations. “We’re happy to support the young people in our communities and enhance their learning with such a unique experience.”

The tour is scheduled for June 6-10, 2020, and will immerse the students in the telecommunications industry while also allowing them to learn through hands-on experiences.

HTC will select the two exemplary candidates who meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Have a parent that is an HTC Member
  • Be a high school junior under the age of 18 at time of trip
  • Have at least a C grade point average (GPA) or better
  • Demonstrate leadership in organizations and interest in community through volunteer activities
  • Write a letter explaining why he or she would like to attend and stating his or her future plans beyond high school
  • Obtain a letter of recommendation from a teacher or school official

High school juniors interested in being nominated for the Youth Tour should speak with their school’s guidance counselor about the opportunity. Guidance counselors will submit their suggested nominees no later than Monday, February 24, 2020.

HTC will carefully review each application and select two model students to participate in the Youth Tour. The chosen applicants will be notified by the end of March.

HTC Employees Celebrate Heart Month With Successful Blood Drive

Conway, SC – What better way to celebrate National Heart Month than by offering the gift of life to those in our community? HTC is committed to partnering with the American Red Cross to save lives through blood donation.

HTC employees donated 27 units of blood during the event February 5. Those who donated will potentially save 81 lives, as each unit has the power to save up to three lives.

“HTC employees know how important it is to partner with the American Red Cross to positively affect lives in our communities,” said Lisa Martin, HTC senior marketing coordinator. “We come together throughout the year to offer eligible blood donations that can immediately make an impact for those in need.”

HTC employees have donated more than 2,935 units of blood since 1999, potentially saving over 8,800 lives.

The next regularly scheduled quarterly blood drive at HTC will be May 12.

For more information about how you can participate in the quarterly blood drives at HTC, please contact said Lisa Martin, HTC senior marketing coordinator, at 843-369-8714.

AT&T Open Enrollment begins for Device Protection

Broken phone

Have you ever cracked a screen on a mobile device and wish you had purchased the insurance policy?

For a limited time, eligible AT&T customers outside of the 30-day window can sign up can get Device Protection in the Open Enrollment program.*

If you have an active postpaid wireless account, your device is not damaged and in good working condition and the program claim limit has not been reached, you qualify to sign up against loss, theft and damage.

Visit one of our HTC Retail Locations today to inquire or sign up. Open Enrollment ends March 31.

*Certain restrictions apply

FoxNews contract talks under way with HTC, other companies

HTC is working with FoxNews and other Fox channels to renew programming for 2020 at rates and terms that are fair.

FOX is seeking a double-digit rate increase that we do not believe is fair to our hard-working members.

Along with other cable companies, we will continue to negotiate with the hope of no downtime for the channels when the contract expires on Jan. 1.