Visual hacker sneaking a peek at a coworker's monitor

Visual Hacking Experiment

The data is in. Visual hackers are out there and 3M can help.

The Visual Hacking Experiment [1]

An eye-opening look at the need for visual privacy in the workplace.

With screens capable of displaying private information virtually anywhere, visual privacy is an issue every organisation must consider.

To see how easy it is to capture sensitive company information through visual hacking, 3M and the Visual Privacy Advisory Council worked with a third party organisation (The Ponemon Institute) to conduct an experiment in which an undercover white hat hacker was sent into several participating corporate offices.

The results serve as a good reminder of the importance of addressing visual privacy in the workplace.

Key frame from a video about the Visual Hacking Experiment

See the results.

Learn how to help protect sensitive information from visual hackers.

  • 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 multiple pieces of information 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

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.

Explore the Visual Hacking Experiment

Downloads and resources to help you to learn more about the Visual Hacking Experiment.

  • Infographic
    See key findings of the experiment as an infographic.
  • Whitepaper
    An overview of the key findings from the experiment.
  • Full Study
    For complete details, download the full Visual Hacking study.

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.

Take a walk through your office.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Preventing Visual Hacking

Encouraging awareness of visual privacy in the workplace and equipping screens with 3M Privacy Filters is a great way to help reduce the risk of visual hacking.


  • Diagram showing how privacy filters work

    Keep visual hackers in the dark

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

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  • Data Security Study

    3M and Management Today brought together a selection of data security industry experts to discuss the key issues relating to information security and in particular, visual data security.

    Learn more about the studyArrow