For Data Privacy, Set Your Sights On Visual Hackers

You can protect your personal and company data from prying eyes with a few simple precautions. (NAPS)

(NAPSI)—You’ve probably felt it when checking your e-mail or working in a public space: the leering eyes of strangers on your device screen.

The glimpses that others get of your screens—whether on an airplane, in a coffee shop or on a train—may be fleeting and harmless. After all, humans are curious creatures.

But these views may also be much more than curiosity. Especially as cyber defenses become ever stronger, device screens can be luring targets for hackers seeking new ways to obtain valuable data from people and organizations.

And it only takes one quick glance—or a stealthy snap of a smartphone camera—to capture your personal account details or sensitive company information, such as unreleased financial numbers or confidential communications.

This act is known as visual hacking. It involves the viewing or capturing of private, sensitive or confidential information for unauthorized use. And the opportunity for it to occur is much greater than you may think.

Nearly nine in 10 mobile workers recently surveyed by Ponemon Institute said they’ve caught someone looking at their screen in public spaces. At the same time, more than half of those surveyed also said they took no steps to protect information when working in public.*

Given the lack of action to prevent visual hacking, what better time than Data Privacy Day to make visual privacy a priority in your life? Data Privacy Day is an international effort annually held on Jan. 28 to create awareness about the importance of privacy and protecting personal information.

Whether you work on the go or are someone who needs to protect your personal information, there are a number of simple steps you can take to safeguard the display of information and help prevent visual hacking. Some of these steps include:

• Being mindful of your surroundings when working in public spaces. If you’re working in a coffee shop, hotel lobby or airport, for example, seek out workspaces that provide the most privacy from prying eyes. This can reduce opportunities for a visual hacker to see and steal valuable information from your device’s screen.

• Using privacy filters on your device screen to blacken out the angled view of onlookers. Privacy screens are available for all device types, including monitors, laptops, tablets and smartphones. For those who travel or work on the go, these filters may be available from your workplace’s IT department and are also available from popular online retailers.

• Adopting security best-practices from the workplace. One of the easiest practices you can adopt is a clean-desk policy—only applied to mobile devices. Think of it as a “clean screen” approach, with sensitive information being displayed on your screen only when it’s needed. For example, don’t leave confidential work data or private personal information up on your screen while you take a phone call or talk to your seatmate.

Visual hacking is already happening—and it might be targeting you if you use mobile devices or laptops in public spaces.

This Data Privacy Day, make a personal commitment to safeguarding your visual privacy and reducing opportunities for visual hackers. Taking small steps today can save you—or your company—significant costs and headaches down the road.

Learn more at

* Poneman Institute, “Public Spaces Interview Study,” 2017, sponsored by 3M. Study based on responses from 46 professional mobile workers.

On the Net: North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

All comment authors MUST use their real names. Posts that cannot be ascribed to a real person
will not be moderated.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.