Category Archives: Cruzio Blog

Don’t Fall for Phishing — Some Tips

Did you notice phishing email that tried to use Cruzio’s logo recently? They must have grabbed it off our website. But they squished it, so the fake was easy to spot!

Fake logo. This kitty is squished:
narrow kitty logo, incorrect

Real logo, see the difference?:
normal kitty logo, where the kitty is in a circle, not a narrow oval

Once again, a reminder to stay alert. Scammers are getting more convincing with email pretending to be from a trusted organization. Be suspicious of unexpected email, whether it’s supposedly from your bank, from an online store, or even from Cruzio.

Whenever you have the slightest doubt, please contact us. Note that by the time you see the phishing, most often we’ve already handled it and the link has been disabled. But it’s better to be safe and not click unless you’re sure.

What are some signs? The biggest is that when you hover your cursor over the “from” field or any links in the email, you’ll see a weird non-Cruzio address. The website they send you to is probably buried deep in the computer of some previous victim. We’ve illustrated what hovering looks like here.

Another sign that email is fake: when you look closely, it doesn’t look right. There may be lots of misspellings (which we rarely do!), or odd wording. Phishing emails are often written by non-native English writers, though they’ve gotten more sophisticated.

We’ll Match Holiday Food Donations

canned good for hungry people in Santa Cruz and San Mateo

Food banks are do efficient bulk buying of food. Your dollars go a long way!

Double your holiday donation to Second Harvest Food Bank!

As Cruzio’s long-time subscribers know, we contribute throughout the year to the Second Harvest Food Bank to feed local people in need. In fact, if you are late with a Cruzio payment, we will take cans of food in lieu of a late fee any time of year!

Second Harvest Is a great organization that does a lot of good in the community — Charity Navigator describes it as “a sustainable, high performing food distribution network.”

Here’s how:

If you send us a check with your donation made out to Second Harvest Food Bank, Cruzio will match your donation up to $1,500 total. Send the check to Cruzio, attn Finance Department, 877 Cedar Street Suite 150, Santa Cruz, CA 95060.

Even easier: if you prefer to donate online, just send us a screen shot of your donation and we’ll match it with ours.

We’ll count any donations made before 1/1/2023!

Use Your Internet Connection to Help a Neighbor Afford Internet

And one last pitch for local folks in need: if you’re a Cruzio subscriber, it’s super easy to help very-low-income families afford good internet. Cruzio’s Equal Access uses small donations — even a few dollars a month — to keep costs for qualifying local households under $15/month.

That’s helping kids do their homework and seniors access health information and all kinds of meaningful things. Here’s the link to set up a contribution.

Changes in Government: Redrawn Districts

map of new Central Coast congressional districtsCruzio has subscribers all around the Tri-Bay Area: Half Moon, San Francisco and Monterey Bays. And as we researched which elected representatives could help us identify and solve deficiencies in internet access, we found lots of districts changing — many significantly.

This does affect who to talk to about using broadband funding in your neighborhood. Note that we’re not trying to advocate for anything or anyone except better internet.

The 2020 Census Brought 2022 Changes

This year, as a result of our 2020 census results, our district borders have been redrawn for congressional, state senate, and state assembly representation. In some cases the changes are quite significant. Folks in the San Lorenzo Valley, for example, will now be in Representative Jimmy Panetta’s district rather than that of Anna Eshoo. At the same time, the city of Salinas was in Panetta’s district — but is now in Zoe Lofgren’s.

The district changes took place for the election we just had. The actual representation will change with the next session.

The best way we’ve found to look at all the district changes is this map, where you can click on “Current Day” to see the pre-2022 districts and “Final Map” to see the new ones. It shows Congressional, State Senate, and State Assembly districts.

Representatives Will Need to Get Acquainted with Different Internet Needs

The changes could have an effect on our internet prospects, because Representative Anna Eshoo is the senior member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee in Congress. She has been very effective helping folks in the Santa Cruz Mountains when their internet was threatened.

Internet in mountain communities is still a huge area of concern and now it will likely be up to Jimmy Panetta. Panetta has a great staff and has done good work on internet expansion further south, in Monterey County. He may be less familiar with the mountains but we have high hopes. We’ll continue to work with residents of the San Lorenzo Valley and other mountain communities, as well as farming and coastal towns, to secure funding where it’s needed.

Fortunately for our more rural San Mateo customers’ internet prospects a bit further north, Eshoo’s district will be covering their neck of the woods. If Eshoo is re-elected as projected, there will be a powerful voice for local telecommunications representing them. Cruzio will certainly be identifying needed internet improvements in San Mateo County,.

Wherever you see a need for internet, please let us know where we can help.

Let Your Representatives Know Where Internet is Most Needed

Whoever’s in the new seats, we urge you to check their statements about equitable internet access and to contact them for upcoming funding. Money from the federal and state governments will be coming available in the next couple of years and congressional representatives have a lot of influence on where and how the funds are spent.

Sadly for internet equity, we are losing a tremendous advocate in Santa Cruz County, Mark Stone. Stone was a strong and, at times, lonely voice in the State Assembly insisting that old DSL speeds of 6 Mbps down, 1 up, weren’t sufficient for future needs. Thanks for recognizing the importance of rural internet, Mr. Stone!

Pumpkins: Just the Facts

  • in 1584 a French explorer first called pumpkins “gros melons”  :nice:which was translated into English as “pompions” and around the 17th century they were finally referred to as pumpkins :croissant:
  • the word “pumpkin” comes from the Greek word “pepon” which means “large melon” :very_nice:
  • pumpkins are grown on every continent on earth except Antarctica, as they’re not really a fan of 24/7 icy conditions :cold_face:
  • pumpkins are 90% water :droplet:
  • they also have more fiber than kale, more potassium than a banana and are full of magnesium and iron :muscle:
  • even the stem of a pumpkin is edible, meaning every part of a pumpkin can be consumed- skin, leaves, flowers, pulp, seeds… :star-struck:
  • *record scratch… pumpkins are technically FRUIT and belong to the same family, Cucurbitacae, which includes cucumbers and melons :cucumber::melon:
  • there are over 45 varieties of pumpkins :randy_marsh_shook_astonished:
  • Delaware used to hose an annual “Punkin Chunkin” which is just delightful to say, but, unfortunately, they’ve taken a few years off as someone died in 2017 :disappointed:
  • pumpkins take between 90 and 120 days to grow :calendar:
  • each pumpkin has about 500 seeds :five::zero::zero:
  • the heaviest pumpkin EVER was grown in Italy and weighed 2,702lb 13.9 oz… think of all the PIE :astonished::exploding_head::pie:
  • suffering from freckles or a snakebite? back in the day, pumpkins were considered a remedy for both! not sure what happens if you’re freckled AND get bit by a snake, but hopefully it’s a 2 for 1 deal :snake:
  • in 1663, the term jack-o’-lantern was used to refer to a night watchman who carries a lantern, and apparently doesn’t even have to be named Jack! :spongebob_wtf::jack_o_lantern:
  • the Irish folktale of Stingy Jack was the inspiration of jack-o’-lanterns. the TLDR version is a blacksmith named Jack made a pact with the devil and after he died he was cursed to walk the earth without an end. however, homeboy was scared of the dark so he went BACK to the devil, cuz that clearly worked out so well the first time, and asked him for a light to bring with him as he roamed the earth. he got hooked up with a burning ember which he put into a hallowed out turnip as a makeshift lantern, and the rest is history… :devil:
  • during the Samhain feast put on by the ancient Celtics, the celts would wear costumes and light bonfires and walk around to ward off bad and evil spirits. the bonfire eventually evolved into lighting of carved turnips, which then evolved into the jack-o’-lanterns we know and love today :mage:
  • some think that the jack-o’-lantern represents souls in purgatory and prayers would be said after the lantern was lit :pray::dancing-pumpkin:
  • Punkie Night (not a thing at the Blue Lagoon, but could be cool if it was….) was a 19th century tradition in Somerset, England, where on the last Thursday in October, children would walk through the streets carrying jack-o’-lanterns and singing “give me a candle, give me a light, if you haven’t a candle a penny’s alright” which can probably be translated directly into “trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat” :frog_halloween:
  • Keene, New Hampshire holds the world record for most lit jack-o’-lanterns on display at a chill 30,581 of them :astonished::dizzy_face:
  • don’t forget about the Great Pumpkin, who Linus van Pelt from Peanuts believed was a supernatural figure who rises from the pumpkin patch on Halloween evening and flies around bringing toys to good kids that believe in it :ghost_peek_a_boo:
  • there are A LOT of sweet jams that mention pumpkins and jack-o’-lanterns, but the ones that come to mind are- Halloween by The Misfits :misfits: (duh) “Bonfires burning bright, Pumpkin faces in the night, I remember Halloween” and the song Pumpkin by The Regrettes, so here’s a live version of that bop, “Pumpkin, pumpkin, You’re gonna kill me, Pumpkin, pumpkin, La-da-da-da-da-da” :dancing_pumpkin::dancing-pumpkin:

Cruzio Newsletter #212

Cruzio Newsletter, Number 212, July 28th, 2022


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How NOT to Fall for Phishing, or Fake Email

Here’s a good way to tell whether an email is fake or not. We’ll use a real example of someone using a fake Cruzio email to try to trick you.

Usually you’ll get an email that looks like it’s from a trusted business or a friend. In your mailbox, it looks like the first screen shot below.

But if you hover your cursor over the “from” address — in this case, “Cruzio Internet” — you’ll see something like the second picture. The email isn’t really from Cruzio. It’s from “serviceonlinepayment64@gmail.com”.

So ignore that email, or send it to us! We collect these, and we report them. Other ISPs do the same. Usually by the time you see email like this, we’ve already gotten the site taken down.

But just to be sure: check the details, and if you have any doubts at all, contact us!

Looks like this email is from Cruzio:
Example of a scam email

Hover over the sender… that’s not a cruzio.com address! Delete the email!

Example of a scam email

This works with any spam. It’s not 100% — sophisticated hackers can spoof email addresses — but that’s hard to do. You’ll catch most phishing with this trick

Oh the Places We Go!

From Half Moon Bay in the north to Monterey in the south, from the Pacific Coast into the mountains, Cruzio’s been sending our techs out to connect people to high-speed internet.

Because our wireless services depend on line-of sight, we’ re often up high where the view is spectacular. We take photos for technical reasons — to help locate a connection between sites.  In some of these photos you can see we’re in a rural area but trying to get a peek at a town or a mountaintop facility so we can make that connection.  When taking work-related pictures we also get some shots of the countryside. And wow, we live in a beautiful place!

When we’re in a gorgeous spot,  we take a gorgeous picture. Here are views from our service area as photographed by some of our tech staff:

Pescadero farm

Photo by Antonio

 

City at night

Photo by Alison

 

View of the Pacific

Photo by Antonio

 

Mount Umunhum

Photo by Alison

 

Winery

Photo by Rob

 

Sunset over Santa Cruz, complete with palm trees

Photo by Alison

Santa Cruz Wharf

Photo by Bishop

 

Magnolia flower

Photo by Luis

 

View from Mountains

Photo by Bishop

Santa Cruz Wharf

Photo by Sonya

 

 

Mountains

Photo by Cameron

 

california poppies by the road

Photo by Alison

 

Mountain view

Photo by Alison

 

Ocean View of Half Moon Bay

Photo by Alison

Keep an Extra Eye Out for Scammers

internet security logo

Whenever there’s a crisis — like the current war in Ukraine — spammers and scammers take advantage. You may receive extra email or calls soliciting donations, or you may find a higher amount of more convincing phishing email.

We’re even being warned, in a very general way, about possible hacking by Russia. Earlier this month the FBI announced it had prevented a massive hacking project on American routers and firewall devices by the Russian military. Many forms of computer hacking and interruption depend on large networks of virus-infected computers (“botnets”), whose owners don’t know their machines are carrying out nefarious tasks. That can affect home and office computer equipment.

Internet security experts around the country are urging extra caution.

Our users and community are not likely to be the specific target of any particular scheme, but large sweeps looking for access to private and small business computers can sometimes catch unsuspecting people.

Resist hacking! Some principles to remember:

  • The more urgent it seems, the more likely it is to be a scam
  • Don’t submit personal information and passwords to forms you’re directed to in unexpected email or texts, even if the sender seems familiar
  • Directly contact whoever supposedly wrote the email (bank, relative who’s apparently in trouble, technical service) directly if you have any doubts. Don’t just answer the email or stay on the phone, use an independent way of reaching them
  • Check whether you have compromised accounts or passwords by visiting haveibeenpwned.com
  • If your personal data has been compromised, or just every so often for the heck of it, change your passwords. Use different, unusual passwords for sites where security is most important (like a bank)

If you have one of those moments when you suspect you’ve fallen for an internet scheme, don’t panic. You’ll need to change your passwords right away. Feel free to contact Cruzio to ask for advice.

Note from Cruzio’s CEO

Kitten at the laptopWhat area does Cruzio serve? Well, that’s changing. Our footprint is getting bigger.

Cruzio recently merged with neighboring best-buddy ISP Coastside Net. Coastside is based in San Mateo County, and Cruzio realized we’re not hyperlocal anymore.

Now we’re regional. But what’s our region called?

Our marketing staff have puzzled over this change. We used to say, “Santa Cruz County” in front of everything we did.

And we loved highlighting Santa Cruz County, although it’s a bit difficult having a city (Santa Cruz) and a county (Santa Cruz) with the same name. That’s challenging for advertising because people tended to think we provided internet just in the City. They didn’t realize Cruzio reaches a lot of odd places where you wouldn’t expect great internet to be.

We get around.

Now we’ve got even more territory to name. We all have a lot in common. The stretch of mountains-to-sea running from Pacifica all the way down and around Monterey Bay is an area of great natural beauty dotted with charming towns. Yes, if you are reading this, you likely live in a charming town. Or at least near one.

In the springtime we’ve got fields of brilliant yellow cowslips and starry purple ice plants. Cedars give way to scrub oaks give way to towering redwood trees, each with a distinct color, shape, and smell. Seals or sea lions nap at our beaches — some beaches even host elephant seals.

We surf. We sail. We bicycle. Our roads zigzag up into the mountains, our farms draw straight furrows below, and some of us may work in Silicon Valley but we’re much happier when we’re home.

We have common struggles, too. It’s hard to find housing. It takes way too long to get from one place to another on our crowded highways. We worry about fire in one season and flood in another. A lot of us struggle with the cost of living in such a beautiful place. We’re often far from needed services, especially during crises like fires or heavy storms.

As a region, we have a lot of decisions we need to make, and we do better when working together. More reliable internet reaching more places should help us.

So what’s the name of our new service area? We’re cogitating on that, but we don’t know yet. If you have any suggestions, send them in! Meanwhile Cruzio will continue to connect people from all around our unnamed region with the best internet possible, because we live here, too.