Visual hacking is the act of physically spying on someone’s desk or computer screens. Visual hacking is a low-tech threat as compared to malware, ransomware, or other high-tech threats, however, the repercussions can be just as detrimental.

According to a survey recently completed by Ponemon, 91% of visual hacking attempts are successful, the attacks can happen quickly, and it can be nearly impossible to detect when someone steals a glimpse at protected health information (PHI). In nearly half of all hacking attempts, it can take less than 15 minutes to complete an initial hack.

During the Ponemon experiments, 52% of sensitive information captured was visually hacked from an employee computer screen and 27% of the visually hacked data was sensitive in nature which meant it included login credentials or other confidential data.

In 68% of the hacking attempts, employees didn’t notice, question, or report visual hacking – even when combined with suspicious behavior. The survey also uncovered that open floor plans increase the risk of visual hacking when compared to traditional offices with cubicles.