Can You Be a Victim of Visual Hacking?


When you hear the term “hacking,” you immediately envision a masked criminal using a computer to bypass security firewalls, and thus stealing valuable information. But what about “visual hacking?”

Visual hacking is a term referring to stealing information purely through sight. Whether accidental or intentional, everyone has either been a victim of visual hacking or performed a version of it.

Have you ever peered over at a co-worker’s desktop, unintentionally perhaps, and read a headline in an open email?

What about a credit card number that you may have glanced at while a customer handed you their credit card to be swiped? Sure, you didn’t memorize the numbers, but you definitely could have if you wanted to.

Visual hacking is a very low-technical method of stealing information using open computer screens, papers on desks, or any other form of information that is visibly obtainable by anyone around it.

And it really is that easy!

3M conducted a study and concluded that there was an 88% success rate when attempting to visually hack sensitive information, and many times under 15 minutes to complete!

Which Items are Visually Hackable?

Any item which has information that can be visually captured can be an accomplice to visual hacking.

Here is a list of common items that you may not think of:

  • Documents left out in plain sight
  • Computer screens
  • Phone screens
  • Tablet screens
  • Any paperwork or statements left unattended or even thrown out

Too many times, items such as these are left out and are inviting visual hackers to steal your information.

Protecting Your Information

The best way to protect your information is to never leave any computer desktops and documents unattended.

You may step away from your desk for just a moment, but you can still find yourself at the mercy of a visual hacker.

Just about everyone in today’s world owns a cellular phone that contains a camera. Basically, you are one snap shot away from the information on your desk ending up in a visual hacker’s phone.

Here are some general guidelines to protect yourself:

  • Close out any computer applications that may contain sensitive information
  • Use a password protected lock screen for your computer devices
  • Keep your smart phones, tablets, and other electronic devices locked
  • Keep any documents locked away in a drawer or filing cabinet
  • Destroy any documents that are no longer needed
  • Implement an organizational protocol to report any suspicious behavior

Aside from keeping any items with sensitive information locked or tucked away, destroying any documents that no longer serve a purpose is a crucial factor for any home or business.

Destroy Your Sensitive Documents

Throwing away old documents in the trash can or recycle bin isn’t the best practice to follow when protecting yourself from identity thieves and visual hackers.

The Supreme Court ruled that once an item enters the trash can and is out on the curb, that item is now considered public property.

Instead of carelessly throwing out sensitive documents, make sure to have them destroyed.

These are paper shredding services all around the nation who can accommodate any type shredding project size and schedule.

Mobile shredding services are one of the most convenient options. A secure truck comes directly to your location with an industrial shredder on board. The local contractors can shred your documents as you watch!

Other options include drop off shredding service locations and off-site shredding services. All these services can be provided by local professionals who are trained in keeping your information safe so that you won’t have any documents lying around for visual hackers to take advantage of.

Get Your Free, No-Obligation Quotes on Shredding Services Near You!

Document-Shredding offers superior shredding services from local service providers who are experienced and reliable. We match you with the right contractors based on your individual requirements and requests.

To get started, give us a call at (800) 503-0576 or fill out the form on the right. In just minutes, you’ll receive free quotes from local contractors ready to help protect your information.