How to Protect Your Screen Data: Do Privacy Screen Protectors Work?
Screen privacy is an urgent problem for a society. We get access to a huge amount of confidential information through our screens, from online banking and business transactions to social networks and personal communication. But, have you ever wondered who can look at the screen “over the shoulder?”
Given the current emphasis on cybersecurity protecting us from online threats, it’s easy to forget about low-tech security vulnerabilities, such as the fact that people can physically see something on your display or in important documents that you throw on the table.
How to protect your screen and do privacy screen protectors work? Let’s consider together.
The real guide on how to protect your data online is here.
What is visual hacking?
Visual hacking can be attributed to one of the most low-tech ways of stealing information. (It’s only a little more complicated than just stealing a paper document from a desk.) However, simplicity does not mean that it is not dangerous.
In the simplest case, visual hacking is simply to see the information on the screen and remember it. However, given the prevalence of smartphones, it is not difficult to take a picture or record a video under the pretext of checking a text message. You may not even need to pretend. Do you really know what everyone is doing on their devices around you at any given time? Did you just look over your shoulder?
Despite its simplicity, visual hacking creates a real risk of data leakage, and you need to be on your guard.
Do privacy screen protectors work: What can you do to improve screen privacy?
There are many solutions to reduce the risk of visual hacking and increase the privacy of the screen. They vary in complexity and are not all universally applicable.
- 1. Use partitions or screens. Open workplaces greatly simplify visual hacking. Booths and individual offices provide data protection by blocking the viewing of displays and paper copies.
- 2. Hide the screens from the public view. If possible, keep the displays away from the aisle and places with heavy traffic to restrict access.
- 3. Don’t forget to turn off the automatic display shutdown. Whenever you step away from your computer, don’t forget to put it into password-protected sleep mode.
- 4. Keep your desk away from confidential documents. Visual hacking is aimed not only at screens. It can also focus on paper documents and information. At a minimum, remove all folders, documents, or notes containing confidential information.
- 5. Set a privacy filter for your computer screen. This will help protect your work from unwanted attention. This is a hardware solution that is easy to implement and then maintain without any additional actions other than installation.
What is a computer privacy screen filter?
The protective screen filter of the computer is a thin layer of polarized plastic, which significantly reduces the viewing angle of the screen. Ideally, this means that the content of your screen is completely clear to you as a user, while others on the sides see only a dark screen. All your visual data is hidden unless you are looking directly at the screen.
A monitor filter is one of the best ways to protect yourself from visual hacking.
How do you use the privacy screen?
The privacy screen is functionally just a screen covering that blocks light at certain angles. However, there are several different ways to install it, and each has its own use cases.
Suspended filter makes it easier to add and remove a filter. This is a good option for people who sometimes have to collaborate with others, and therefore they need to periodically remove the privacy filter. In addition, this version is useful if you plan to use privacy filters for multiple devices.
Glued slats are a more reliable way to ensure the privacy of the screen. The protrusions are permanently attached to the monitor, but the filter itself is removable. It’s also a good option for people who have to work without a privacy filter. However, it is not so convenient to share them, since the slats are attached to your device.
Permanent is an option for cases where additional protection from visual hacking and unwanted attention is always required. Like the protective film for the phone screen, the filter is permanently glued to the display and cannot be removed or transferred to other users. However, this is a convenient “installed and forgot” option.
5 tips for protecting data from visual hackers
The threat of stealing confidential data from a computer screen or phone exists in all organizations. According to the results of the study, 34% of IT specialists have been subjected to visual attacks for commercial espionage within the company, and 74% are concerned about malicious or negligent employees.
Confidential information of companies is becoming more vulnerable to visual hacking due to the development of several trends. With the transition of offices to the open space format, it becomes easier to spy on information due to the small number of protective partitions in the room or their absence.
Visual hacking tools are being improved, their number is growing along with the development of consumer technologies. Most gadgets are equipped with professional cameras, and for drones with powerful optics, even high-rise buildings are not a hindrance to reading information from screens. Finally, an equally serious threat to confidentiality is posed by unscrupulous employees and contractors who are negligent about storing and protecting data of commercial value.
To protect confidential information from visual hackers, follow the five rules:
1. Verification. To assess the current level of information security and identify risk areas, conduct an audit of the security status of confidential data in the organization. Try to look into other people’s monitors from public access zones. Check access to the printers on which the documents are printed. It is also important to determine how easy it is to read information from remote employees’ gadgets and find out how contractors and partners protect data.
2. Mechanical methods of protection. For computer screens, use a special information protection film that darkens the screen when viewed from the side at an angle of more than 30 degrees. This will allow the user to see a clear image on the screen in front of him, while the peeper will see only a black background and will not be able to view the information. Document shredders and paper containers should also be located where there is no free access to them.
3. Policy for employees. Make a manual for visual protection and conduct staff training. Adhere to the “clean desk” policy — indicate to employees what can be left at their workplace after the end of the day, and enter a rule so that the staff removes documents and closes files on the computer when they leave the workplace.
4. Compliance with the rules. Motivate employees to comply with the provisions of the developed policy. With the regularity of such messages, compliance with the rules will become a habit. Check employees, for example, by simulating a situation of visual hacking, and see how colleagues adhere to the accepted provisions of protection. Don’t forget about the encouragement.
5. Adaptation and improvement. Regularly update step-by-step guides to monitor new risks and identify employees who need additional training. Track the technological trends and tools of visual hackers and analyze the work on the development of staff skills to counter this threat.
Visual hacking is often carried out using the simplest technologies, but its consequences can be as serious and costly as any other actions of hackers when they gain access to confidential information.