Watch your screen, because someone else is too
When considering the various complex and sophisticated ways cyber criminals can steal data, it can be easy to overlook more mundane risks. Take a simple screen, for example. When you use an ATM, it’s often recommended that you take care to obscure the screen, so that potentially curious eyes around you can’t glance at the data you input. Even when you’re alone, it’s advisable to do so, on the off chance the security cameras above are ever compromised.
A mobile business environment necessitates movement, and business travelers these days are reporting a similar thread of data security risk. This information comes courtesy of a survey from 3M and SMS Research, which consulted 1,000 such employees around the world. They call it “visual hacking.” It’s essentially the same thing. Working travelers in airports or taking public transportation can’t avoid displaying company information on their screens, according to a vast majority of the respondents. As many as 87% say they have noticed people glancing at their screens, and some have seen exposed company information themselves. It’s a concerning but unsurprising trend. But even more concerning is the fact that the respondents believe around one-third of data breaches occur through this method.
Whether this figure is actually accurate, I’m not entirely sure. A white hat hacker in a 3M trial, however, was able to use visual hacking to obtain sensitive data in 91% of the global trials, often in 15 minutes or less. The hacker was only stopped 32% of the time. What’s more important is that less than 70% say their companies have provided crucial training to help circumvent this vulnerability. According to 3M, privacy policies for this situation might not be enough. Their main suggestion seems to be for mobile travelers to use physical privacy filters, to block side views of your screen. And honestly, off the top of my head I can’t think of another, stronger method.
Because really, what else can you do to solve such a tangible, non-digital problem as the fact that people can see things? Other than blocking their line of sight, that is. The big question is, what is your company doing to prepare it employees and educate them about the risks during their travels?