White Papers Index

What is Screen Privacy?

threat level bar graphData security is a concern for every company which handles sensitive information. An information breach can have far more serious consequences than an employee getting kicked off the annual company golf trip.

Data theft puts companies in danger of lawsuits from unhappy clients, and that’s paperwork that no one wants to fill out. Some major businesses will even go as far as to hire individuals for pen-testing (also coined “ethical hacking’) to ensure that their computers are properly shielded. Though far less flashy than in the heist movies, hacking and its ethical counterpart are responsible for the consistent development in firewall shielding for company data.

What may be a surprise to some is that proper data protection requires two shields.

Information can be breached through extensive server hacking (hence the development of highly advanced firewalls), but information is always exposed by the external display.

Going back to the heist movies, though the real hackers may crack codes in mere seconds, they could plausibly have actual people on the inside gathering intel.

That’s right — computer monitors are the small cracks in every company’s security wall because of a phenomenon known as visual hacking. You may know it better as spying.

Visual hacking is the theft of data garnered from looking at and possibly recording an employee’s computer screen. It may seem insignificant at first, but screen privacy is a serious issue for hospitals, banks, and other institutions where sensitive information is exposed to an evident traffic of strangers. Imagine the information that people do not want falling into the hands of strangers looking to make a dime; medical records, bank account numbers, possibly the bizarre items that they’ve purchased online.

People may wonder if this sensory version of hacking is a palpable threat. In 2015, the Ponemon Institute conducted a study to examine the prevalence and danger of visual hacking. Here’s what they found:

  • 68% of visual hacks are either unseen or unreported by employees
  • 3.9 pieces of sensitive information are stolen from each hack, such as phone numbers, addresses, and even Social Security numbers.
  • 91% of visual hackers are successful.
  • 52% of screens are at risk of visual hacking
  • 15 minutes is all it takes for visual theft to occur.

It seems rather clear — Data protection has to cover the internals as well as the externals of company computers. But how?

threat level bar graphOne solution is privacy screen filters. These plastic filters are polarized so that from peripheral angles, the screen appears blank. With a polarized filter, the screen is only visible to the person sitting in front of it, which shields sensitive data from potential prying eyes. Like a dry erase board, employees can have information ‘wiped’ without even keying in a password.

There are a couple types of external privacy filters:

  • Stick-on style filters come with tabs that permanently attach to the edges of the monitor. The filter sticks to the tabs and can be removed at will, but the tabs remain on the monitor. While the tabs work for some employees, others find them distracting and inconvenient. The stick-on style is to other filters like safety goggles are to glasses; a bit bulkier.
  • The hanger style fixes the filter to a monitor for easy application and removal. When the screens have to be periodically shared for collaboration, this filter might be a good choice. The easy removal however, may not meet compliance standards with stricter industries. If an employee is caught taking the finicky filter off unauthorized, the rest of their day may not be a walk in the park.

We know that computer personnel are routinely removing external, cumbersome privacy filters from monitors which require on-screen data protection. It simply is not the most user-friendly option. This issue creates serious compliance violations and often results in filter loss and damage.

That is why we have created PrivateVue to be the solution for sensitive-data institutions. We have every major brand of monitor available with an internal privacy screen built right in.  The permanently installed internal privacy filter prevents filter removal and allows companies to maintain compliance with industry standards.

The PrivateVue process eliminates the need to repeatedly replace external filters, saving money, time, and hassle.

At PrivateVue, we give you options. Whether you would like your own monitors retrofitted with permanent filters, or would like to purchase monitors with pre-installed filters, we can supply you with the security you need to maintain data privacy.

For more information, call us today at 800-466-7636.