How to Protect Your Business Against Visual Hacking

November 25, 2019 Staples Business Advantage

Cybersecurity is a great concern for modern organizations. Among these threats is a low-tech attack known as visual hacking. It refers to the unauthorized capture of private, sensitive or confidential information by viewing it. This form of hacking is common because most organizations are unable to detect and prevent visual hacking in their offices.

How Does Visual Hacking Occur?

Visual hackers look for fully visible information on device monitors, desks, and other exposed locations such as printers or copiers. An unauthorized person can steal confidential documents or use a phone to take a photo of visible confidential or sensitive information. These attacks take place in full view of office workers, who are often unsuspecting because it happens quickly.

Certain situations — such as sensitive information on an employee’s computer screen — lend themselves more easily to visual hacking. The office layout is also a risk factor. Traditional office layouts such as cubicles make it hard to access confidential paper documents and computer screens. In contrast, open-plan offices are highly susceptible to visual hacking.

Protecting Your Business Against Visual Hacking

Companies can sensitize employees to the threat of visual hacking by implementing visual privacy protocols and policies. Effective visual security practices include the use of office security solutions. Two common and useful solutions are privacy filters for computer screens and document shredders for paper documents.

Paper shredders cut paper documents into thin strips or fine particles. Organizations and individuals use these devices to destroy private and confidential documents. When choosing a paper shredder for your business, you need to consider several factors. These include how much paper you want to shred, how fine you want to cut the paper, and special features such as anti-jam technology, energy savings and ability to shred other items (staples, paper clips, credit cards and CDs).

Privacy filters cover a computer screen and obscure it’s contents when viewed from the sides or top. This low-tech privacy solution uses polarized plastic to block out light from these angles. Few computer monitors come with built-in privacy filters so you need to buy a third-party filter. When choosing privacy filters, consider image clarity, your use case, size, matte finish and color.

In addition to using the above security tools, your business should set up procedures to report suspicious visual hacking behavior. Finally, regular organization-wide visual privacy audits have also proven useful in address visual hacking and other security threats.

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