Safer Surfing | OEC News

How to keep you and your information secure online

Cyber security is more critical now than ever. Stories of data breaches and compromised logins splash across the headlines regularly.

“At OEC Fiber, we value our subscribers’ security and online safety above all else,” said David Goodspeed, president of OEC Fiber. “We actively monitor for threats and do our best to block them before they gain access to the network. We want everyone to feel safe online, and educating our subscribers on what to do is part of that.”

Ready to make sure you stay secure when browsing online? A few preventive measures can help protect you against cyber threats before they strike!

CHECK YOUR PASSWORDS

Hackers love it when we get lazy with our passwords.

According to pcmag.com, 70% of people use the same password on more than one online account. While it may make them easier to remember, using the same password on multiple logins gives hackers more access to your sensitive data. Use a unique password for each account to help keep them secure.

While having multiple, unique passwords is ideal, remembering all of them can be difficult. Using a password manager such as LastPass, BitWarden or 1PAssword can be an excellent solution for remembering unique, secure passwords for every site. Password managers allow you to store all your passwords in one secure vault and automatically fill in your login information on each website with just one click. Not only that, but they also help protect against malicious hackers by preventing brute-force attacks and other cybercriminal techniques used to glean user data.

Remember, two-step authentication! Have a code sent to your email or phone; some services may have you answer a security question for an extra layer of protection. Two-step authentication will ensure only YOU can access your account and give you the heads up if someone else tries to get in.

SCAN FOR SCAMMERS

“When it comes to your online safety, scammers are getting smarter all the time,” said OEC Fiber’s senior manager of technology services and network operations, Michael Tomas. “They can make malicious emails look nearly identical to the real thing. That’s why you should always double-check any email addresses or content for anything suspicious before clicking on a link.”

Stay vigilant. Look for strange punctuation, spelling mistakes and email addresses from odd domains. Why would Amazon be sending you something from a Gmail account? These are all signs of a scammer trying to get their hands on your data.

SAFE SOCIAL SHARING

Stay connected to the people you care about while still practicing caution online. Social media is an excellent tool for communication and a source of entertainment. Still, only some people need access to our lives. 

“Don’t post everything online,” said David Madden, OEC Fiber’s supervisor of subscriber support. “Keep personal information private.”

From geo-tagging your vacation photos to live-tweeting an event, social media can be a great way to express yourself and document memories. But before you hit post, it is important to remember the potential danger of oversharing location information. You could tell unwelcome individuals where they can find or take advantage of you!

Limit the information in your profile. Even if the platform suggests it, try to leave any personal details off. When in doubt– keep it out; the fewer specifics you share online, the less likely someone can use that info for something nefarious.

Taking cyber security seriously is more important than ever. OEC Fiber is committed to doing all we can to keep you and your information safe. To learn more about online safety and the steps you can take to keep yourself safe online, visit oecfiber.com/blog to find more articles with online safety tips.

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Into the Sunset | OEC News

As the chair of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Engineering Subcommittee for Power Quality and Reliability, Nick Shumaker will help electric cooperatives face the challenges and opportunities of the future.

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Safer Surfing | OEC News

Learn about cyber security and how to stay safe when browsing the web. Find out what you can do to protect yourself from data breaches and compromised logins.

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Life at a Crossroads | OEC News

Fiber enables local shelter to better care for at-risk youth.

On Tecumseh Road in Norman, just off Interstate 35, hides a beacon of hope for children and teens in crisis. Crossroads Youth & Family Services offers a safe place to learn, grow and discover when a permanent home is unavailable.

“We are the only emergency shelter in Cleveland County,” said Executive Director Wendy Swatek.

Founded in 1969, Crossroads operates 33 other service agencies, additional shelters and services across the state. However, this eight-bed shelter is the only one Cleveland County has to offer for teens. Brightly colored, hand-painted murals and a warm, inviting atmosphere provide a sense of safety and security at a time when the young people within its walls need it most.

“The purpose of our shelter is kids have a place to stay until a permanent placement is found. Either in a foster home, an adoptive home or possibly a group home,” Swatek said.

This all-in-one facility houses a variety of spaces designed to give children and teens everything they need to thrive during a difficult time. Walking into the shared living space, it is not uncommon to see anime playing on the TV in one corner while someone plays a video game in another.

Teens have access to a full kitchen, art room and a resource closet where they shop for clothes, bedding and other essentials. A fullservice classroom sits on the far side of the shared space along a glass wall. Teachers from Norman Public Schools come here to keep the children’s education on track.

“Our shelter kids, it’s their home,” Swatek said. “They play here. They sleep here. They watch movies here. All the things you would do in your normal home. We have kiddos here that need all the support they can get, and we’re here providing a safe environment for them.”

To provide this support, Crossroads offers counseling and other family services designed to give children and families the best opportunity for success. They integrated the Head Start program, an income-based service for 0 to 5-year-olds, into their services in 2008. This program gives children a step up when they reach kindergarten.

“What’s unique about Head Start is that it’s a wrap-around service,” Swatek said. “Not only do we educate children in the classroom, but we also have family advocates that serve families as a whole. We goal set with families and help them find resources.”

With 200 to 250 kids coming through the shelter each year, the staffing and resources needed to ensure things run smoothly are hard to come by. With 275 employees serving over 1,050 kids in Head Start, staying on top of things is difficult. It is even harder when an unreliable internet connection hinders staff’s ability to access vital information.

“We use OEC Fiber because it’s the only service we found that works,” Swatek said. “When the internet works, our staff can print, get on their computers and do their intakes with their counseling clients. It’s really changed the way we’ve been able to do business.”

Staff are not the only ones affected by poor internet connection. Kids in the shelter are encouraged to engage in everyday activities like video games, streaming movies and YouTube. All of which require internet. Losing connectivity limits their options and can amplify feelings of ostracization during an already difficult time.

Due to the high-quality service OEC Fiber supplies, on-site safety at Crossroads has improved.

“We have cameras at our facility for safety purposes,” Swatek said. “There’s times we have to pull footage up, and we’re able to see it with a lot of detail because of the strength of our internet service.”

It takes more than good Wi-Fi to make this facility run. Volunteers engage in various activities, from general maintenance and landscaping to mentoring children.

“I always tell people to think about the needs around your house,” Swatek said.

The areas in which people can help are vast. Everything from assisting residents “shopping” in the resource room to keeping the facilities in top shape is encouraged.

Crossroads Youth & Family Services’ number one goal is to provide children with a safe environment where they can flourish. If you want to get involved in their mission, visit their website at crossroadsyfs.org to learn more and volunteer to improve lives.

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Into the Sunset | OEC News

As the chair of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Engineering Subcommittee for Power Quality and Reliability, Nick Shumaker will help electric cooperatives face the challenges and opportunities of the future.

Read More »

Safer Surfing | OEC News

Learn about cyber security and how to stay safe when browsing the web. Find out what you can do to protect yourself from data breaches and compromised logins.

Read More »
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Shop Local for the Holidays

Support local, OEC Fiber-connected businesses this season

What would you say if we told you it was possible to find the perfect holiday gift and support your local community this holiday season? The solution is simple. Shop local.

Shopping online retailers has become the norm for many of us over the last few years, mostly because it’s quick, convenient and lets you shop in your favorite pair of footy pajamas. As easy as it can be for some of us, shopping online hurts the places we live more than we might think. 

Oklahoma funds its communities through local sales tax. Nearly 33% of state and local income comes from sales tax. By shopping local, you are helping fund things like education and road repairs.

OEC Fiber is proud to partner with a variety of local businesses to help them better serve their customers and engage in their communities. Here is a small spattering of local businesses to consider supporting this year when you’re looking for something special to put under the tree this holiday season.

218 W Main St, Purcell, OK

It is your one-stop shop for signs, apparel and other printing services. Each piece is custom-made to fit your needs. Don’t worry about who you’ll be dealing with. Every customer deals directly with the owner to ensure the best possible experience.

Visit sheehysigns.com to see their work and learn how to place an order today.

1805 S Morgan Rd, Oklahoma City, OK

A small boutique specializing in women’s apparel, accessories, and home décor, this one-of-a-kind shop truly is the heart of the community. Customer service is a priority here. They take the time to get to know you to help you find what you need.

Use discount code OEC10 online at okierootscc.com or mention it in-store to get 10% off!

2201 W Main St, Norman, OK

The place “Where Oklahoma Gets Engaged!” offers custom designs and ready-made items to ensure customers have what they need for that special moment. They are devoted to providing an exceptional experience for all who visit their store.

Shop savings of 20-50% off with other events throughout the holiday season. Visit mitchells-jewelry.com to learn more.

757 NW 32nd Pl Newcastle, OK

This local favorite offers high-quality premium cuts of beef, pork and poultry, along with specialty cheeses and in-house-made sausage. Their friendly service and welcoming atmosphere make finding what you need a delightful experience.

Follow Butcher’s Block Meat Market on Facebook to see special offers on hams, turkeys and prime rib roasts this holiday season.

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Into the Sunset | OEC News

As the chair of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Engineering Subcommittee for Power Quality and Reliability, Nick Shumaker will help electric cooperatives face the challenges and opportunities of the future.

Read More »

Safer Surfing | OEC News

Learn about cyber security and how to stay safe when browsing the web. Find out what you can do to protect yourself from data breaches and compromised logins.

Read More »
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Be Our Guest

Keeping your Wi-Fi secure over the holidays

The holidays are prime time for visits from family and friends and sharing Wi-Fi passwords, but think twice before handing over your password. Setting up alternative access points, such as guest networks or passwords, help keep your network secure and your information safe.

Every device connected to your Wi-Fi, from cell phones to computers, is a potential gateway to your information. Hackers can use them to spread malware and establish unauthorized access to your network from a remote location, giving them access to passwords, bank records and other personal information you want to protect.

Setting up alternative access points for your guests helps prevent these security risks. It severs the direct connection between their device and yours while giving them access to your Wi-Fi. It does not limit what they can do online. It’s just adding cybersecurity to provide you with peace of mind during the chaos of the holiday season.

The best part? It doesn’t take a technical guru to set up a guest network. OEC Fiber makes it as easy as a tap on a screen. Our app walks you through the process in a few simple steps and gives you the power to turn your guest access on and off whenever you want.

Are you having a hard time setting it up? Find step-by-step instructions at www.oecfiber.com/access.

A holiday gathering filling a home with loved ones is a beautiful sight. Keeping your Wi-Fi secure is equally as magical. Set up a guest network or password this holiday season to keep your season bright and your network secure, so the only thing you have to worry about is what to put on your holiday menu.

Share this article

Into the Sunset | OEC News

As the chair of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Engineering Subcommittee for Power Quality and Reliability, Nick Shumaker will help electric cooperatives face the challenges and opportunities of the future.

Read More »

Safer Surfing | OEC News

Learn about cyber security and how to stay safe when browsing the web. Find out what you can do to protect yourself from data breaches and compromised logins.

Read More »
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Banding Together

Oklahoma co-ops come together to form the Cooperative Broadband Coalition

The Cooperative Broadband Coalition (CBC) is a statewide organization dedicated to advancing the mission of expanding rural broadband across Oklahoma. This group works to provide fast, reliable internet service to all Oklahomans by bringing fiber subsidiaries together to combat the unique challenge of staying connected in the twenty-first century. 

Electric cooperatives have been powering the homes of rural Oklahoma since President Franklin Roosevelt enacted the Rural Electrification Act in 1936. Each of these electric cooperatives provides essential services to people in their area, but they have not always had enough influence on their own to overcome every obstacle set before them. That is where the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives (OAEC) steps in. This statewide organization helps co-ops pool their resources and band together to ensure we all have the necessary resources to provide our collective members with top-tier service.

One of the most recent examples is House Bill 3835. You may remember receiving emails asking you to contact your representatives. Because of the widespread effects of the bill, OAEC provided valuable resources for all co-ops to encourage the members they serve to help defeat this bill.

In a similar fashion, 10 electric distribution cooperatives with fiber subsidiaries, like OEC and OEC Fiber, banded together to create the CBC, an affiliate of OAEC. Together, they provide service to 46 counties in Oklahoma and Arkansas, with over 78,000 subscribers and more than 16,000 miles of fiber line.

While these groups differ in size, their missions are the same. The CBC exists to ensure everyone can access the reliable high-speed broadband service they need. Each subsidiary sees this as an extension of the cooperatives’ directive to bring much-needed service to underserved areas. The core principle of Concern for Community is the driving force behind what these subsidiaries do.

Coming together to form the CBC demonstrates another cooperative principle, Collaboration Among Cooperatives. By forming the CBC and meeting with several legislative groups, they have ensured the construction of a network that will provide exceptional service for years to come.

OAEC and CBC help ensure OEC and OEC Fiber have the resources to provide our members and subscribers with the services they need. These statewide organizations are integral to what sets us apart from other service providers. They ensure our voices are heard and we are given a seat at the table. They prove that, like the cooperatives that came before, we can accomplish far more together than we ever could apart.

Share this article

Into the Sunset | OEC News

As the chair of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Engineering Subcommittee for Power Quality and Reliability, Nick Shumaker will help electric cooperatives face the challenges and opportunities of the future.

Read More »

Safer Surfing | OEC News

Learn about cyber security and how to stay safe when browsing the web. Find out what you can do to protect yourself from data breaches and compromised logins.

Read More »
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