Sevierville Staples sees an increase in the number of customers affected by cyberattacks


SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Cyberattacks have been on the rise, in fact, over the past five years the FBI has reported there have been more than 2.2 million internet crime complaints. This increase is even observed locally.

Sevierville Staples sales manager Todd Heim said this was a growing concern among their staff as they saw more and more customers asking for their help.

“Some of the most common things we see are just pop-ups on the computer disguising themselves as well-known companies that you might be using on your computer,” Heim said.

It may look like subscription renewals or companies claiming the user has a virus. Heim said he sees about 2-3 clients a week, in addition to the phone calls they receive from concerned residents.

“While we have the ability to help these customers, and we hope to be able to do so for a long time, we want to protect them and be part of them in our community, he said.

Rob Glass, CEO of Computer System Plus, said there was a major red flag to consider when determining if there was a possibility of a cyberattack.

“Bad emails, bad pop-ups always have a sense of urgency about them,” Glass said. “Click now, buy now, do this, you’re infected – threat actors love to use urgency to trick people into clicking and moving forward.”

For those who click and think their computer has fallen into the hands of hackers, Glass said there are steps you can take to prevent further destruction.

“Turn it off, just turn it off and take it to a professional to be cleaned,” he said. “In the meantime, it is always advisable to change passwords.”

Glass also advises using multi-factor authentication. It is a method that only allows a user to access a website or application after successfully presenting two or more pieces of evidence that show that you are really the one trying to access it.

Users can also file a credit report or ask their bank or credit card company to closely monitor their account. Finally, Glass suggests getting good antivirus or anti-malware protection, as well as making sure data on the device is backed up via backup and cloud services. This can be useful not only for malware and hacks, but for all computer failures in general.

“Be careful with everything. Every email, every banner, every pop-up, think twice, think thrice before you click and move on,” Glass said.

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