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learn more about the 3M global visual hacking experiment and how to stay protected from visual hackers with 3M privacy and protection products

Visual hacking is real.

It’s happening globally. Computer screens are at risk of exposing sensitive information, but 3M can help.

Learn how to protect your devices from visual hackers.
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Visual hacking is a low-tech method of capturing sensitive, confidential and private information for unauthorised use. This is happening right now due to an employee’s carelessness with confidential information or the lack of awareness of such security threats. With confidential information displayed virtually anywhere, organisations can no longer ignore this issue and should consider making visual privacy a key priority, as part of their data security measures. A hacker may need only one piece of information to expose an organisation to a data breach. It is important to educate employees on the proper privacy solutions available, including the use of 3M Privacy and Screen Protectors.

Public Spaces Survey

Recently the Ponemon Institute completed a survey focused on professional mobile workers’ perceptions of visual hacking in public spaces.


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The Global Visual Hacking Experiment1

An eye-opening look at the need for visual privacy in the workplace—all over the world.

In 2015, Ponemon Institute conducted an experiment in the U.S. that revealed how easy it was to capture sensitive company information through visual hacking. To determine if visual hacking was an issue on a global scale, 3M sponsored an expanded experiment in 2016 to include offices in China, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

The worldwide results are alarming and serve as a good reminder of the importance of addressing visual privacy in organisations all over the world.

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See the results.

Learn how to help protect sensitive information from visual hackers.

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Explore the Global Visual Hacking Experiment

  • Visual hacking is easy.

    An undercover white hat hacker was able to visually hack information in 91% of the global trials.1

  • It happens quickly.

    In nearly half of the global trials, an undercover visual hacker was able to obtain information in 15 minutes or less.1

  • Computer screens are at risk.

    Globally, 52% of sensitive information was successfully hacked from employee computer screens.1

  • It often goes unnoticed.

    The visual hacker was stopped in only 32% of global attempts. Meaning 68% of the time, no one did anything to stop them.1

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Explore the U.S. Visual Hacking Experiment

  • Visual hacking is easy.

    An undercover white hat hacker was able to visually hack information in 88% of the U.S trials.2

  • It happens quickly.

    In nearly half of the U.S. trials, an undercover visual hacker was able to capture information in 15 minutes or less.2

  • Multiple types of information are at risk.

    An undercover visual hacker in the U.S. saw an average of 5 pieces of sensitive information per trial, including corporate financials and confidential employee and customer information.2

  • It often goes unnoticed.

    The visual hacker was stopped in only 30% of attempts in the U.S. This means 70% of the time, no one did anything to stop them.2

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  • 1 Average based on global trials conducted by Ponemon Institute during the “Visual Hacking Experiment,” 2015, and the “Global Visual Hacking Experiment,” 2016, both sponsored by 3M.
    2 Average based on U.S. trials conducted by Ponemon Institute during the “Visual Hacking Experiment,” 2015, sponsored by 3M.

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Visual Hacking Risk Areas

Take the risk out of these key risk areas by addressing points of vulnerability in the workplace.

Understanding the methods of visual hackers can help to protect your visual privacy. Organisational leadership should focus on common points of visual hacking to help reduce vulnerability. Login credentials, classified documents, corporate financials and more are all at stake.

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Take a walk through your office.

Virtually any screen you see can also be seen by a visual hacker.

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  • Anyone can be a visual hacker.

    How many visitors and contractors walk through your office every day? Even your employees may see sensitive information.

  • Open office designs are prime targets.

    The low walls and shared spaces in many contemporary open office environments mean more screens are visible to more people.

  • Be aware of common areas and glass walls.

    Lunchrooms, break rooms, conference rooms, and glass office walls and doors are all open season for prying eyes.

  • 59% 3 of employees take their jobs outside the office.

    Think outside your walls. In today’s modern, mobile business environment, having a visual privacy plan is more vital than ever.

  • 3 "Technology’s Impact on Workers”, Pew Research Center, December 2014.

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Explore more on Visual Hacking Risk Areas

More downloads and resources to explore the Visual Hacking Experiment.

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Public Spaces Survey

What do mobile workers think of visual hacking when they’re working out of the office?

  • The Ponemon Institute surveyed professional mobile workers about their perceptions of visual hacking when they’re working in public spaces. The 2017 study was based on interviews with a number of professional workers while they were at work in coffee shops, hotel lobbies, and other public spaces.

    The survey shows that despite the fact that professional workers think the threat of visual hacking is real, they don’t do much to address it.

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  • Visual hacking is happening.

    87% of mobile workers surveyed said they’ve caught a visual hacker looking over their shoulder.4 Maybe the other 13% just didn’t turn around fast enough.

  • It's causing concern.

    3 out of 4 mobile workers surveyed said they were somewhat or very concerned about visual hacking.4 What is your company doing about it?

  • But they're not taking action.

    Don’t think visual hacking is a problem for your company? More than half of the mobile workers surveyed say they take no steps to protect important information while working in public spaces.4

  • A privacy policy might not be enough.

    Only half of the mobile workers surveyed said they were familiar with privacy protection solutions4

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

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Explore the Public Spaces Survey

Coffee shops, hotel lobbies and airports are all high risk areas.


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Preventing Visual Hacking

Encouraging awareness of visual privacy in the workplace and equipping screens with 3M Privacy Products is a great way to help reduce the risk of visual hacking.

  • Keep visual hackers in the dark.

    3M Screen Privacy Products use advanced microlouver technology to block side views while providing a clear view for the intended user.

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  • 3M Privacy Filters and Screen Protectors

    Help protect the information on your screen, and help protect the screen itself against scratches, scuffs and glare.

    See all our privacy products

  • Privacy for Your Organisation

    See how healthcare, education, finance and government organisations can help prevent breaches.

    Learn more

  • Shop Now

    Find a privacy product that fits your device screen now.

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