The Rise of the Mobile Worker Increases the Risk of Visual Hacking

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While it is good news that an increasing number of organizations are beginning to implement more robust mobile and BYOD security strategies, there is still one area that is often overlooked: the ability to ‘visual hack’ information on mobile devices. Yet with more and more of us now working out of the office – whether on trains, planes, or in coffee shops or hotel lobbies – protecting screens from prying eyes should be receiving higher priority.

The rise in mobile working and the ability to view other people’s screens is potentially a criminal’s dream. No longer is there a need to be an expert computer hacker; instead discreetly point a smartphone at a screen and click away, or simply memorize what can be seen. In a 2015 survey in which 3M was involved, respondents cited a wide variety of content they had viewed on people’s screens, including confidential financial, HR and contractual information. And in a recent ‘white hat hacking’ experiment by the Ponemon Institute, almost 9 out of 10 instances, visual hacking attempts were successful.

Mitigating the Visual Hacking Risk on the Move

So what can be done to combat this very physical risk? First, think about incorporating visual privacy into overall security strategies. Second, make employees far more aware of their responsibilities to protect corporate information, regardless of location. Encourage them to think about where they are sitting: sitting in a corner or with their backs to a wall is better than sitting in front of the café till where people are queueing up for their skinny lattés. Sitting on an airplane or train? Be aware not just of the people either side, but those behind or walking along the passenger gangway.

Simplicity of Privacy Filters

Also think about giving employees privacy filters, whether for their laptops, tablets or smartphones. Easy to slip on and remove, these ‘fit and forget’ filters use film technology that prevents on-screen information from being viewable in any mode except for straight-on and close-up. Compared to most security software investments, they are also a very cost-effective way to take mobile security up a notch and very quickly too.

Nothing can change the fact that where there is a screen, there is a risk and that when people are working away from the office safeguarding information becomes that much harder. While remote working is arguably a good thing in itself, organizations need to start thinking about the need to protect visual privacy more efficiently in this increasingly mobile world. 

For more information on how 3M Privacy Filters combat the threat of visual hacking while working on the move, or to request a sample visit our website.

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