Be aware of your surroundings
When it comes to shielding your screen from a nearby snoop, you are your own first line of defense. Keep an ear and eye open to anyone who is sitting a little too close, and move locations or switch what you’re working on if necessary. It might not be a big deal if someone sees you pulling up a news article, but your taxes or confidential business documents are another story. Even worse, your screen could display login information that could be copied and used later.
Minimize risk in public spaces by choosing a seat where no one is behind you and locking the screen any time you get up. For additional protection when moving around isn’t possible, like on an airplane, plastic screen protectors that make your screen difficult to see from the side can help — but only if you always have them on hand. Devices equipped with an integrated privacy screen like HP Sure View give you built-in protection, with a touch of a button you can automatically darken the edges of your screen so it’s unreadable from any angle.
While obscuring what’s on your screen can help, it’s still no substitute for situational awareness. The best way to protect against screen creepers is to see them before they can see your screen.
Protect your prints
Screens aren’t the only things that could be viewed without your knowledge. In the HP-commissioned survey, more than half of American office workers said they rush to the printer every time they print something personal to prevent someone else from seeing it.
That concern seems to be well-founded: Seventy-five percent of respondents admitted they intentionally look at documents they find left in their office’s printer tray. Forty percent said they would not only look at an obviously confidential document, but would consider taking a picture, making a copy, or even taking it.
While working in communal spaces, you can avoid exposing sensitive information by using a tool like HP’s Access Control Secure Pull Print software, which lets users keep documents waiting in the cloud until the user is present and can release it with a touch from an employee’s ID badge or by entering a PIN.
And while it has long been common for office printers to be connected to internal networks, now they’re often connected to the internet, which comes with all the same risks as other smart devices like front-door cameras and smart refrigerators.
“Any device that you put onto your network could potentially become an attack vector,” says Shivaun Albright, HP’s chief technologist for printing security solutions. “The adversaries are becoming more sophisticated.”
To keep your data secure, Albright encourages anyone using a printer at home or in the office to make sure to set a password when connecting to the internet.