Research carried out by the Ponemon Institute on behalf of 3M revealed that four out of five mobile workers had caught someone looking at their screen in a public place. At the same time, more than half of those surveyed said they took no steps to protect that information.
A stranger catching a casual glimpse of a screen may prove harmless, but as cyber defences become ever stronger, unprotected device screens can be enticing targets for hackers seeking new ways to obtain valuable data from individuals and organisations.
To help address visual hacking, 3M is supporting Data Privacy Day - an international effort held annually on January 28 to create awareness about the importance of respecting privacy and safeguarding data.
As a Data Privacy Day Champion, 3M recognises and supports the principle that individuals, organisations, businesses and government all share the responsibility of being conscientious stewards of personal information.
“Low-tech threats to data privacy like visual hacking of laptop or mobile phone screens are often overlooked,” said Nicola Stevens, global business director, 3M. “On Data Privacy Day, organisations need to take the time to evaluate these threats as a visual hacker may only need one piece of valuable information to unlock a large-scale data breach.”
3M offers the industry’s broadest range of privacy filters to fit the screens of devices such as desktop monitors, laptops, tablets and smartphones to help organisations prevent visual hacking
The company also gives the following tips to help workers minimise visual hacking:
Data Privacy Day began in the United States and Canada in January 2008 as an extension of Data Protection Day in Europe marking the 1981 signing of Convention 108. This was the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection.
Said marketing executive and product manager for 3M Display Materials and Systems, Georgie Winston-Bray: “We are delighted to be promoting Data Privacy Day and raising awareness of visual hacking, which presents a significant risk to industry. In the international study carried out by the Ponemon Institute, a ‘white hat hacker’ assumed the role of a temporary office worker to visually hack sensitive or confidential information left in plain sight. During the experiment, the hacker was only confronted on an average of 32 per cent of occasions.
“In the UK, 25 per cent of the experiment’s data breaches contained information deemed to be sensitive, such as log-in details, financial and customer data. The results also revealed that 44 per cent of successful visual hacks were carried out because computer screens were not protected.
“This could be prevented by using a solution such as 3M™ Privacy Filters to protect on-screen data. These help to keep data private by blocking the view of everyone but the user sitting directly in front of the screen.”