PCS Blog

PCS has been serving the Knoxville area since 1996, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Getting to Know About Phishing Attacks Can Keep Your Business Safe

Getting to Know About Phishing Attacks Can Keep Your Business Safe

There’s a big reason why phishing is a primary threat to businesses, and it’s because this method gives hackers a relatively risk-free way of gaining access to a network or other resources. Even being aware of the issue is often not enough to prevent it, as hackers are known to get quite aggressive and crafty with their phishing campaigns. If only a fraction of the 57 billion phishing emails that go out every year are taken seriously, hackers make quite a bit of profit off of users.

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Top Cybersecurity Threats Right Now

Top Cybersecurity Threats Right Now

Cybersecurity has to be a major consideration for every business owner or manager in business today. The prevalence of people looking to rip your company off has never been higher, and that is the truth for nearly every company that uses the internet for anything. Today, we take a look at some of the most serious cybersecurity threats that everyone should be aware of right now.

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Faxploit: Hundreds of Printers Putting Businesses at Risk of Malware

Faxploit: Hundreds of Printers Putting Businesses at Risk of Malware

Printers, along with every other piece of equipment that is on your network, require careful configuration and regular upkeep to ensure that they aren’t putting your data and users at risk. Security researchers recently discovered two massive vulnerabilities in HP Officejet All-in-One printers that make it incredibly easy for hackers to spread malware and gain access to a company’s network.

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Android Ransomware Kits on the Rise

Android Ransomware Kits on the Rise

The do-it-yourselfers of the world have enjoyed the autonomy that the Internet brings into their lives. They can now look up how-to guides and YouTube videos on how to do just about anything. However, the Internet has also given hackers and other cybercriminals access to all sorts of technology that makes using malware and other threats easier than ever before - even for inexperienced users.

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How to Spot Three Forms of Phishing Attacks

How to Spot Three Forms of Phishing Attacks

One of the crazy things about hackers is that they will do whatever it takes to ensure that they steal as much information and sensitive data as possible. One of the more innovative ways that hackers spread threats is through spam. Unwanted messages have grown from simple annoyances, to the spread of unwanted software and malware, all the way to sophisticated attacks on targeted individuals known as phishing attacks. Do you have ways to secure your business?

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IRS to CPAs - Hackers are Targeting You

IRS to CPAs - Hackers are Targeting You

The IRS has issued a warning to tax professionals to step up their cyber security to prevent sensitive taxpayer information from being stolen. CPA firms, large and small, are being targeted by hackers and identity thieves, especially during the high traffic tax season.

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Tip of the Week: How to Avoid Spam Emails

Tip of the Week: How to Avoid Spam Emails

Would you just give your bank account information to anyone who called you up and asked for it? Probably not. For the same reason, you wouldn’t just download attachments from your email messages without a second thought. This can be a dangerous practice, as some of the most common threats nowadays spread themselves via unwanted email attachments. It’s important that you can identify when it’s the right time to download an attachment, and when it’s best to just leave it be without exposing your business to unnecessary risk.

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Cisco Bug Ranks as One of the Worst

Cisco Bug Ranks as One of the Worst

A new exploit is making the rounds in the security environment, and this time, it affects virtual private networks. According to Cisco, the flaw affects its Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) tool, and it should be patched as quickly as possible. If you don’t do so, your organization could be subject to remote code exploitation as a result of this vulnerability.

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11 Ways to Enhance Android Security

11 Ways to Enhance Android Security

It should come as no surprise that hackers are always trying to get ahead of security developers, just as it should be no surprise that these hackers often target the Android operating system. After all, the Android OS is used on mobile devices all over the world. If your business leverages these devices, there are quite a few security considerations you need to keep in mind.

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Why Spam Is So Bad For Your Inbox

Why Spam Is So Bad For Your Inbox

Spam. It’s detrimental and all businesses have to deal with it. But many don’t know the first thing about how to identify it, or how to work around it. The truth of the matter is that spam can be dangerous for your organization if it’s not dealt with properly, but dealing with it can also be a major waste of resources. We’ll walk you through what constitutes spam and how you can identify it from legitimate messages in your inbox.

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ALERT: Massive Ransomware Attack is the Biggest Ever

ALERT: Massive Ransomware Attack is the Biggest Ever

Run your Windows Updates and be very skeptical about opening unsolicited emails. Failure to do so may result in a very dangerous strain of ransomware that could infect your entire network and spread to your clients, partners, and prospects.

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Tip of the Week: Ways to Be Active and Proactive With Your Network Security

Tip of the Week: Ways to Be Active and Proactive With Your Network Security

Security troubles have many causes, but the only way to protect your business from any of them is to implement a comprehensive enterprise-level security solution. There are two other ways that you can work to protect your business, implementing software patches, and avoiding social engineering attempts.


Applying Software Patches
It should be clear that software patches are designed to fix security problems and improve the functionality of the software, but some organizations simply don’t have time to implement them manually, or they simply don’t understand the purpose for them. Part of the problem is that sometimes the developers aren’t necessarily clear that patches are available, while other times those within your organization may not even know how to administer them. Regardless of the reason, there are usually problems on a network that will go unattended for extended periods of time.

Most hackers only want to take advantage of the issues they can detect. Thus, there could be countless threats out there designed to target countless unpatched vulnerabilities on your network that not even the hackers can know about. It makes sense for a hacker to use just one exploit to target a handful of vulnerabilities. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that all software that you use is updated and patched.

Additionally, your systems shouldn’t be running unused programs. The more software you have, the more ways hackers can take advantage of your organization’s network vulnerabilities. Moreover, you might even be wasting revenue on renewing software licenses that you don’t even need, so it’s best perform a network audit from time to time to get the worthless software off your infrastructure.

Dodging Social Engineering Attempts
Social engineering is broadly categorized as any method that takes advantage of unprepared users or those who are ignorant of solid network security practices. Examples include a phone call or email message claiming that the network has been breached by a foreign entity and that “tech support” needs to remote into the computer and resolve the issue. There are other, more subtle methods as well, such as targeted spear phishing attacks that go after specific users with personal information that convince them that the hacker is someone in authority.

These types of attacks vary in sophistication, but they can range anywhere from an employee receiving a message claiming that they’ve won a prize, to the intruder physically following your employees into the office and stealing sensitive data manually. In instances like these, a little bit of employee training can go a long way. Teach them to look for anything suspicious, and inform them that vigilance is incredibly important in the workplace.

These two security improvements barely scratch the surface of what your organization should be focusing on for network security. If you want to fully protect your business to the best of your ability, give us a call at (865) 273-1960.

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Tip of the Week: Worried About Identity Theft at Work? Follow These Tips for Peace of Mind

Tip of the Week: Worried About Identity Theft at Work? Follow These Tips for Peace of Mind

The Bureau of Justice estimated that five percent of the entire U.S. population were victimized by identity thieves, a total of 11.7 million people. While the methods of collecting the data that identity thieves need to commit their crime vary from dumpster diving for carelessly discarded documents, to email phishing scams, there is a particular target that can easily supply them with the data they will need: the workplace.


While many businesses must collect a lot of personal data from their clients for billing purposes, their employees are also made vulnerable if some of that data was to be absconded with. After all, in order to properly pay an employee for their work, an employer will need a lot of their personally identifiable information on record. As a result, a workplace becomes a high-value target for someone seeking the data necessary to complete fraudulent actions in someone else’s name and becomes the responsibility of the entire business to safeguard that data, for the sake of their employees and their clients.

To that end, every employee should be educated in the best practices for protecting a company’s trove of sensitive information, and policies need to be implemented and enforced to ensure that these best practices are followed. To get you started with securing your office, make sure these four best practices are followed by everyone associated with your company.

Don’t Leave Workstations Unattended
Computers need to be locked and only accessible by its user’s password. Otherwise, anyone (be it a less-than-trustworthy employee or someone off the street stumbling across an opportunity) could access that workstation and any company documents available to that employee.

Go Paperless
Identity thieves love paper trails. Whether it be copies of sensitive files that make their way to the trash, or even documents that get left lying around the office, the fact of the matter is that having paper copies of sensitive information only increases the risk that this information will get stolen. Going paperless is a way to minimize this risk entirely.

Train Employees to Know What Email Scams Looks Like
Scams targeting email inboxes are some of the top ways that identities are compromised. Therefore, in addition to having a good spam blocking solution in place, you’re going to want to make sure that every worker knows what an email scam looks like so they won’t fall for one. You may know how to spot an obvious email scam, like an unsolicited email requesting sensitive information, but how sure are you that your staff knows what a scam looks like as well?

Implement Enterprise-Level Security Solutions
Without proactive solutions in place to protect your company's sensitive data, it could easily fall into the wrong hands if a hacker breached your network. Every business needs to have security tools in place like antivirus, firewalls, spam-blocking, and content filtering. Thankfully, a solution like a Unified Threat Management tool offers businesses an easy way to get this kind of comprehensive protection in one easy-to-implement package!

Of course, there are many other steps to take to prevent your workplace from becoming an identity thief’s jackpot. PCS can help advise you on the other steps your business needs to take in order to keep the identities it deals with properly protected. Call us today at (865) 273-1960 for more information on the steps you need to take to prevent identity theft.

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Even Small Businesses Need a Big Security Solution

Even Small Businesses Need a Big Security Solution

One of the main benefits of a small business is that it’s small. You can make decisions quickly regarding all sorts of matters. Your workforce isn’t nearly as large as other organizations, meaning that you’re a closer, tight-knit group. However, one of the misconceptions of small business is that they’re not as susceptible to hacking attacks, which can be a dangerous assumption to make.

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Alert: 7-Zip Software Can Leave Your System Vulnerable

Alert: 7-Zip Software Can Leave Your System Vulnerable

Software vulnerabilities can cause major issues for individuals and businesses. Cisco’s Talos Security Intelligence and Research Group, which is designed as an organization to “protect consumers from known and emerging threats,” has found such a vulnerability with 7zip.


The 7zip software is an open-sourced file archiver and decompressor, and has many software developers scrambling to patch their products. Since 7zip is freeware, it is naturally used in the development of other applications’ code, and that is making this particular vulnerability more than your run-of-the-mill code malfunction. Currently there are two discovered vulnerabilities with the software. ZDNet explains the issues in stark detail:

  • “The first vulnerability, CVE-2016-2335, is an out-of-bounds security flaw caused by the way 7zip handles Universal Disk Format (UDF) files. When partition maps are scanned to find objects within the file system, there is a lack of proper checking which can cause a read-out-of-bounds problem. If exploited, cyberattackers could use the vulnerability to execute code remotely.”
  • “The second security flaw, CVE-2016-2234 , is an exploitable heap overflow vulnerability found within the Archive::NHfs::CHandler::ExtractZlibFile method functionality of 7zip. In the software's HFS+ system, files can be stored in a compressed format using zlib, and depending on the size of the data, this information may be stored in blocks.”

In layman’s terms, the vulnerabilities affected the way that many programs utilizing 7zip function. In particular, software programs like antivirus solutions are affected. The vulnerabilities change the way that files are compressed and decrypted, and since the 7zip code was used as a part of so many other pieces of software, the opportunities are real and prevalent. While this vulnerability may not present network administrators with as much fear as 2014’s Heartbleed vulnerability, the potential for data and network breaches is concerning.

Working with Talos, the 7zip developers have patched the problems, with their latest offering, 7zip v. 16.00, being free of these vulnerabilities. Any other version of the software needs to be updated immediately to ensure that users are not subject to data breaches as a result of this vulnerability. Any other software that has the 7zip code needs to be patched as well.

For more information on the latest security vulnerabilities, as well as information on how to protect your organization from potential threats, call us today at (865) 273-1960.

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How Safe is Your Email?

Email is (and has been) a primary method of communication for businesses of all sizes for many years. With email comes a whole slew of issues that are essentially synonymous with the technology - spam, information overload, phishing, and information privacy. Even small businesses that only do business locally are at risk of these issues. Personal email accounts are equally at risk. Employing proper precautions and practices whenever communicating via email is very important to prevent the risk of security compromises, monetary loss, and even legality issues.

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What is Your Identity Worth to You?

Your identity has quite a lot of value, especially in the wrong hands. Security firm ZoneAlarm put together some numbers in 2011 concerning identity fraud, and it even shocked us. Let's talk about a few of these statistics and what it means.

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