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Phishing Alert Regarding IAMU Email Correspondence

Posted By IAMU, Tuesday, August 22, 2017

It has come to IAMU’s attention that some members may be receiving phishing emails that appear as if they are coming from IAMU. The emails in question include alleged invoices. IAMU is investigating the origination of the phishing emails. IAMU will keep you up-to-date on this issue as we have more information to share. IAMU is working diligently to ensure continued safe electronic communication with its members. IAMU is also in the process of adding a Security & Preparedness resource page to our website where members can log in to access resources to help better prepare your organizations from physical and cyber security threats as well as other potential natural or man-made disasters.  

If you have received a suspicious email that appears to be from IAMU, please contact Russ Saffell, IAMU Director of Member Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection

rsaffell@iamu.org or by phone at Office: (515) 289-1999, Cell: (515) 971-2653.

Here are some tips for identifying other suspicious email:

Tip 1: Don’t trust the display name

A favorite phishing tactic among cybercriminals is to spoof the display name of an email. Return Path analyzed more than 760,000 email threats targeting 40 of the world’s largest brands and found that nearly half of all email threats spoofed the brand in the display name.

Here’s how it works: If a fraudster wanted to spoof the hypothetical brand “My Bank,” the email may look something like:

Since My Bank doesn’t own the domain “secure.com,” DMARC will not block this email on My Bank’s behalf, even if My Bank has set their DMARC policy for mybank.com to reject messages that fail to authenticate. This fraudulent email, once delivered, appears legitimate because most user inboxes only present the display name. Don’t trust the display name. Check the email address in the header from—if looks suspicious, don’t open the email.

Tip 2: Look but don’t click

Hover your mouse over any links embedded in the body of the email. If the link address looks weird, don’t click on it. If you want to test the link, open a new window and type in website address directly rather than clicking on the link from unsolicited emails.

Tip 3: Check for spelling mistakes

Brands are pretty serious about email. Legitimate messages usually do not have major spelling mistakes or poor grammar. Read your emails carefully and report anything that seems suspicious.

Tip 4: Analyze the salutation

Is the email addressed to a vague “Valued Customer?” If so, watch out—legitimate businesses will often use a personal salutation with your first and last name.

Tip 5: Don’t give up personal information

Legitimate banks and most other companies will never ask for personal credentials via email. Don’t give them up.

Tip 6: Beware of urgent or threatening language in the subject line

Invoking a sense of urgency or fear is a common phishing tactic. Beware of subject lines that claim your “account has been suspended” or your account had an “unauthorized login attempt.”

Tip 7: Review the signature

Lack of details about the signer or how you can contact a company strongly suggests a phish. Legitimate businesses always provide contact details.

Tip 8: Don’t click on attachments

Including malicious attachments that contain viruses and malware is a common phishing tactic. Malware can damage files on your computer, steal your passwords or spy on you without your knowledge. Don’t open any email attachments you weren’t expecting.

Tip 9: Don’t trust the header from email address

Fraudsters not only spoof brands in the display name, but also spoof brands in the header from email address. Return Path found that nearly 30% of more than 760,000 email threats spoofed brands somewhere in the header from email address with more than two thirds spoofing the brand in the email domain alone.

Tip 10: Don’t believe everything you see

Phishers are extremely good at what they do. Just because an email has convincing brand logos, language, and a seemingly valid email address, does not mean that it’s legitimate. Be skeptical when it comes to your email messages—if it looks even remotely suspicious, don’t open it.

Tags:  Cyber Security  Email Scam  Phishing 

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Toolbox Talk - What's So Special About a Safety Can?

Posted By IAMU, Tuesday, August 22, 2017

You may have noticed many differences between a metal safety can and a plastic or
“consumer” can that can be purchased almost anywhere. The first noticeable difference is the price – plastic cans can be found for around $20 while the metal safety cans range from $40 - $80.

Safety cans are equipped with three distinct accessories that are designed to protect the user from explosive vapors that may escape while in storage or even during use.
OSHA’s definition of a safety can includes those three accessories –

“Safety can means an approved closed container, having a flash-arresting screen, spring-closing lid and spout cover and so designed that it will safely relieve internal pressure when subjected to fire exposure.”

The flash-arresting screen or flame arrestor is a perforated metal screen that allows
liquid to pour through. The purpose of this screen is to absorb and dissipate any heat
or flame introduced outside of the container so that it will not ignite the vapor on the
inside of the container. Think of the flame arrestor like the screen in front of your
fireplace; it doesn’t allow sparks to pass through from either side.

They are also equipped with a spring-loaded cap that closes the spout automatically
when released. Tension in the spring forces the cap closed and provides a leak-proof
seal. The spring tension is also designed to lift the cap slightly in the event of excessive
internal vapor pressure inside the can. This automatically vents off vapors at approximately 5PSI internal pressure, to prevent the can from rupturing or exploding
if it is exposed to excessive outside heat.

Think About It: There are many instances where plastic “consumer” gas cans exploded while the victims were simply walking with the can. The movement or flow of gasoline creates an electrical charge that will create a spark when it discharges and cause
the vapor to explode.

Tags:  Safety  Safety Services  Toolbox Talk 

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Common Ground Alliance Releases DIRT Report and Interactive Dashboard

Posted By Josh Trout, Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Efforts Seek to Help with Damage Prevention

Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the stakeholder-run organization dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, people who dig near them, and their communities, has announced findings from its comprehensive 2016 Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) Report.

The report (the sum of all 2016 data submitted anonymously and voluntarily by facility operators, utility locating companies, one call centers, contractors, regulators, and others) estimates that:

The total number of underground excavation damages in the U.S. last year rose 20 percent from the year prior, to approximately 379,000, and conservatively cost direct stakeholders at least $1.5 billion.

You can read CGA’s full press release on the findings of the 2016 DIRT Report here.
 
Be sure to check out the DIRT Interactive Dashboard to filter data through various lenses that are importance to your region, state or stakeholder group. A new dashboard feature centers on PHMSA’s determinations on the adequacy of state damage prevention programs, and users can also now compare 2015 and 2016 data via the Interactive Dashboard.

If you’d like to provide feedback on the most recent DIRT Report or have questions, please click 
here.

Tags:  Common Ground Alliance  DIRT Report 

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Member News - Spencer Celebrates Water Treatment Facility Update

Posted By IAMU, Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Spencer residents’ water quality has improved greatly thanks to the Spencer Municipal Utilities’ recent water treatment facility update.

“We knew this project would take a significant amount of time when we began the additional studies and research back in 2012, and we are excited to have reached the end of the construction project and are pleased with the quality water we’ll be able to serve Spencer for years to come,” said Tony Hall, SMU water manager.

The project goals were to increase reliability, safety and capacity for the Spencer water system. Today, the facility has improved in all those areas, in addition to providing softer water than before the update. Project construction began in early 2014 and was completed this summer.

Financing for the $23-million project was done through a State Revolving Fund (SFF) as a low-interest 20-year loan, and traditional revenue bonds funded the balance.

The public is invited to an open house at the water plant:

1012 32nd Ave. West, Spencer, Iowa
Sunday, Aug. 27, 1 – 5 p.m.

Tours, refreshments, giveaways, and door prizes will be available. Those planning on a tour will need closed-toe shoes, and no high heels will be allowed on the tour.

SMU is a leading provider of cable, internet, and telephone service in the Spencer community and has provided water since 1886 and electric services since 1901.

Tags:  Member News  Spencer  Water 

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2017 IUB CS Fall Meeting Invitation

Posted By IAMU, Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Registration is now open to attend the 2017 IUB Customer Service Fall Meetings. Agenda items will include recent municipal legislation, statute of limitations, LIHEAP update, and other items.

For a list of the nineteen meetings with date, time, and location, click here.

Register online - https://iub.iowa.gov/fall-meeting-registration.

Registration for each location will close two business days prior to the meeting date. Each registered attendee will receive a packet of information at the meeting.

If you have questions, please call Jane Whetstone at 515-725-7358 or email customer@iub.iowa.gov
.

Tags:  CS Fall Meeting  IUB 

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