Reduce the risk of ‘visual hacking’
3M, the science-based technology company has put together five ways in which organisations can improve visual privacy to better protect their workers and valuable data. ‘Visual hacking’ is the act of viewing or capturing information displayed on a screen for unauthorised use. It includes someone seeing and remembering log-in details, using a smartphone to take a snapshot of confidential on-screen information, or accidentally overlooking employee or financial data.
“One of the challenges of visual hacking is that it is relatively fast and easy to achieve,” says Peter Barker, EMEA Market Development Manager, 3M. “In a Visual Hacking Experiment commissioned by 3M and carried out by the Ponemon Institute across eight countries, visual hacking was successful in 91 per cent of attempts, with approximately half taking less than 15 minutes. Furthermore, with the rise of mobile working, the risk of visual hacking increases. Visual privacy is only one aspect of security, but it’s an easy one to address, not just through installing our range of privacy filters, but other techniques too.”
Five tips to help prevent visual hacking
ONE: Audit – Evaluate areas of risk and vulnerability. Walk through your organisation’s workspaces and look for vulnerabilities, such as monitors that are exposed to high levels of possible viewers walking by, or unlocked rooms where sensitive documents are often printed. Include the visual security risks posed by mobile workers and contractors.
TWO: Guide employees – Put in place the right policies and procedures to help employees reduce the risk of visual hacking, such as clean desk policies at the end of the working day; encourage use of shredders and secure waste containers. Let staff know they can confront visitors who are acting suspiciously or accessing restricted areas.
THREE: Encourage employee compliance – Train, communicate and reinforce that process on a regular basis. This will help visual privacy measures to become second-nature and part of the corporate culture. Provide incentives to reward employees who demonstrate compliance.
FOUR: Adapt and improve – Visual hackers are like any other hacker, they will evolve to changing security and privacy practices. Carry out regular office walkthroughs to look for any new vulnerabilities; identify employees who need additional training; review and improve training and communications as needed. Make visual privacy an integral part of general security reviews.
FIVE: Apply physical safeguards – Fit desktop monitor, tablet and smartphone screens with privacy filters which blacken out the angled view of onlookers. In other words, what’s on the screen is only visible straight-on and at short-range. Easy to install and remove, these filters also prevent scratches and scruffs to valuable IT equipment and phones.
To trial a 3M privacy filter, please request a sample via this website: www.3m.co.uk/privacyfiltersample