Confidential data exposure in public spaces

While protecting data on computers is top of mind for everyone, most organizations are focused on conventional security technologies such as anti-virus software, personal firewalls and spam filters, according to Oculis Labs.

Few organizations have solutions to address the vulnerability of their computer displays. Not only is looking at another person’s computer screen a violation of privacy and a profitable way to acquire confidential information, it is now prohibited by a new federal computer fraud and abuse statute.

The impact of individuals not protecting data on computer screens has serious financial consequences for businesses. In 2008 the U.S. Secret Service and Carnegie Mellon CERT performed an in-depth study of insider incidents at a wide variety of government, financial, IT and telecommunication entities.

Their study revealed that 42% of incidents began with simple observation of unprotected computer screens, resulting in an average cost of $400,000 per incident.

The Mobile Worker Privacy survey also found 83 percent of respondents admitted to using a computer in a public place with confidential information on their computer screens.

The top four data types exposed in public places, in order, are:

1. Corporate proprietary information (77 percent)
2. Financial data (53 percent)
3. Credit card information (52 percent)
4. Social security numbers (32 percent).

“The results of the survey are clear: people need a privacy solution to stop visual intruders from looking at their screen,” said Bill Anderson, CEO, Oculis Labs. “Despite strong privacy concerns, people are not aware of the latest security products available to secure their information and maintain corporate compliance with regulations. When an eavesdropper can steal valuable information in mere seconds by looking at a computer screen, it is time to upgrade your security approach.”

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