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Acronym of problem exists between chair and keyboard.




  1. (computing, humorous, also attributively) Chiefly used by technical support helpdesk staff: a problem experienced with a user's computer that is due to user error.
    • 2007, Mike Foster, “Domain Policies”, in The Secure CEO: How to Protect Your Computer Systems, Your Company, and Your Job, Wichita, Kan.: Prime Concepts Group Publishing, →ISBN, page 150:
      Miraculously, all of a sudden, the client's network began behaving beautifully! Before, PEBCAKs were causing a technician to need to visit their company every day, and now—after a simple deployment of basic policies—the client was ecstatic. [] Ask your IT professionals, "What percentage of your time, on a daily basis, do you spend solving PEBCAK issues?" Don't be surprised if you hear answers of 30% or more. Now, calculate how much money PEBCAKs are costing you in IT expense as well as lost productivity for the employees. Then deploy policies in a staged rollout to reduce this costly expense.
    • 2014 July 2, Peter W[arren] Singer, Allan Friedman, “The 5 Biggest Cybersecurity Myths, Debunked”, in Wired[2], archived from the original on 2 July 2014:
      In the tech support world, there's an old joke about "PEBCAK," or Problem Exists Between the Chair and Keyboard. Cybersecurity really is all about people and incentives. There are plenty of important technical fixes and new tools to adopt, but if organizations and individuals aren't willing to invest in securing themselves, then they will remain insecure.
    • 2015 January 15, Jack Schofield, “Ask Jack: How Can I Make My PC Completely Secure?”, in The Guardian[3], London, archived from the original on 26 July 2018:
      How can I make my PC completely secure from any type of virus and hacking? Juzer You can’t, because of the old computer industry phenomenon known as PEBCAK, or "Problem exists between chair and keyboard". A lot of hacks depend on "social engineering," which means manipulating people into handing over their passwords or other details. [] Linux and Mac OS X are more secure than Windows, but PEBCAK is a problem with every operating system.
    • 2017 August 19, Adam [K.] Levin, “5 Cyber-security Myths We Need to Ditch”, in HuffPost[4], archived from the original on 9 October 2017:
      There is no way to stop every single cyber-attack. That said, for many attacks, PEBCAK is the answer. Unfamiliar with this approach? It's an oldie but goodie that anyone in IT will recognize, the letters forming an acronym that neatly states why countless attacks are successful. PEBCAK stands for Problem Exists Between Chair and Keyboard. While it is true that cyber-threats abound, the only way to contain the pandemic and meaningfully push back is if everybody does what they are supposed to do.
    • 2017 November 17, Simon Sharwood, “Help Desk Declared Code PEBCAK and therefore Refused to Help!: Problem Existed between Chair and Keyboard”, in The Register[5], archived from the original on 3 July 2018:
      The user asked if she could access the appropriate help desk ASAP, but Ben's colleague "simply said 'No' and hung up." And that, says Ben, "was the first time I ever saw a ticket closed with the cause code PEBCAK". Which for those of you with bad memories for acronyms stands for "Problem Exists Between Chair And Keyboard". Ben told us this was "certainly not the last" time his help desk applied code PEBCAK.


  • EBKAC (error between keyboard and chair)
  • PEBCAC (problem exists between chair and computer)
  • PEBDAC (problem exists between desk and chair)
  • PEBKAC (problem exists between keyboard and chair)
  • PEBKAM (problem exists between keyboard and monitor)
  • PEBKAS (problem exists between keyboard and seat) (Britain)
  • PEBMAC (problem exists between monitor and chair)
  • PIBCAK (problem is between chair and keyboard)
  • PIBKAC (problem is between keyboard and chair)
  • PICNIC (problem in chair, not in computer)
  • PLBKAC (problem lies between keyboard and chair)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tim Fisher (5 March 2018, updated 7 January 2019), “How to Tell If You’ve Been the Butt of a Tech Joke?”, in Lifewire[1], archived from the original on 2018-09-13.

Further reading[edit]