Many of you likely work with sensitive data on a regular basis. Whether it be classified government information, personally identifiable data, or any other type of data that should be protected, there are many ways to secure it in the digital domain. In fact, securing that data digitally is the easy part. What about the threat of eavesdroppers? They could be intentional and malicious, or completely accidental and benign, but that doesn’t make it acceptable. What about the concern of offending someone that approaches your workstation by locking out your computer as they approach? And how long is your timed lock out? 1 minute? or 5? How much data can be seen in 5 minutes while you are grabbing lunch?
There have been several ways to minimize the risk of eavesdropping and none of them should be discounted because of this technology, they are still best practices. The first would be user education. Your users need to be aware of the threats around them. Second is workplace design. Your workstations should be arranged so that monitors cannot be viewed through doorways, cubicle openings, or windows. Finally plastic privacy filters can help reduce the screens viewing areas, but these can get expensive when buying in bulk, and darken the screen by as much as 30%. Many user don’t care for them and choose not to use them. There should be a better option.
Enter Oculis Labs and their commercial product PrivateEye. This product uses your computer’s webcam and their patented facial recognition software to help you secure the two feet between your monitor and your eyes. This software combines facial authentication with user attention algorithms to rapidly figure out when the authorized user is actively engaged with the computer. When the authorized user looks away from the monitor the screen blurs in less than 1 second. It returns to normal when the user re-engages the computer. PrivateEye can also warn of people encroaching behind the authorized user within 15 feet. With this product installed on your company’s computers, sensitive data can be protected from eavesdropping and shoulder surfing much more easily and without offense, as long as it is just part of your security policy.
Oculis also has a more advanced product called Chameleon that can be used to protect government classified data in a similar matter.