Study: No Hacking Needed when Modern Spies Steal Corporate Data

A new study reveals two-thirds of employees expose sensitive data outside the workplace, some even revealing highly confidential information such as customer credit card and Social Security numbers.

Conducted by People Security, the Visual Data Breach Risk Assessment Study also found most companies lack policies or measures to safeguard sensitive information from computer screen snooping when employees are working outside of their offices. Seventy percent of the 800 respondents said their company had no explicit policy on working in public places, and 79 percent reported no company policy on the use of privacy filters to prevent visual data breaches.

With the increase of mobile workers carrying confidential data with them outside the office, snooping is no longer a harmless hobby and may represent a weak link in corporate data security practices, said Dr. Hugh Thompson, chief security strategist of People Security.

“Today’s latest smartphones now make it possible for a data thief to take a high-resolution picture of confidential information on a computer screen and retrieve readable data without any hacking necessary,” he said. “Information revealed on mobile devices outside the workplace now creates a window into a corporation’s most confidential data – whether it is regulated or simply company secrets – and significantly raises the threat level of visual data breaches.”

However, more than half of survey respondents are aware of the security issues of using their laptops for work purposes outside their place of employment. Fifty-seven percent said they have stopped working on their laptops because of privacy concerns in a public place, and 70 percent said they would be more productive in public places if they thought no one else could see their screen.

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