Visual hacker sneaking a peek at a tablet on train

Visual hacking is real.

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

Learn how to protect your screens from visual hackers.

Public Spaces Survey

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

The Global Visual Hacking Experiment 1

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 organizations all over the world.

Infographic about Global and U.S. Visual Hacking Experiments
View Video

See the results.

And learn how to help protect sensitive information from visual hackers.

Explore the Global Visual Hacking Experiment

  • Infographic about how often sensitive information was obtained

    Visual hacking is easy.

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

  • Infographic about how quickly visual hacking happens

    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

  • Infographic about how computer screens are at risk

    Computer screens are at risk.

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

  • Infographic about how visual hackers were often unnoticed

    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

Explore the U.S. Visual Hacking Experiment

  • Infographic about how often sensitive information was obtained

    Visual hacking is easy.

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

  • Infographic about how quickly visual hacking happens

    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

  • Infographic about how multiple pieces of information are at risk

    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

  • Infographic about how visual hackers were often unnoticed

    It often goes unnoticed.

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

  • 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.

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. Organizational 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.

Illustration of a person walking through an office

Take a walk through your office.

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

  • Illustration of person looking at screens in an office

    Anyone can be a visual hacker.

    How many visitors and contractors walk through your office every day? Even your own employees may see sensitive information.
  • Illustration of a person looking at screens in an open office environment

    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.
  • Illustration of person looking through a glass office wall

    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.
  • Infographic about how 59 percent of employees take their jobs outside the office

    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.

Explore more on Visual Hacking Risk Areas

More downloads and resources to explore about the Visual Hacking Experiment.

Public Spaces Survey

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

  • Illustration of a visual hacker walking behind three people on laptops at a table

    The Ponemon Institute surveyed profesional 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 profesional 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.

  • Stat graphic of visual hacker over shoulder

    Visual hacking is happening.

    87% of mobile workers surveyed say they’ve caught a visual hacker looking over their shoulder.4 Maybe the other 13% just didn’t turn around fast enough.
  • Stat graphic of four people on laptops

    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?
  • Stat graphic of person on laptop at high table

    But they're not taking action.

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

  • Stat graphic of person thinking about privacy filter on their laptop

    A privacy policy might not be enough.

    When only half of mobile workers surveyed said they were familiar with privacy protection solutions4, you have to wonder why you're letting the other half work away from the office.

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

Explore the Public Spaces Survey

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


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.

  • Infographic showing the zone of privacy protection that 3M Privacy Products provide

    Keep visual hackers in the dark.

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

  • 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 Organization

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

    Learn more

  • Shop Now

    Find a privacy product that fits your device screen now.

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