It’s happened to all of us, hasn’t it? You’re being driven to an important meeting. You prepare for the meeting by reading a top secret document, something related to national security. The chauffeur pulls up to the building and in a hurry to get to the meeting your grab your papers and portfolio and jump out of the car. Exiting the car you are greeted by the press. They take your picture. You give a brief wave and head into your meeting. Happens all the time. Unfortunately the top secret document you were carrying was sitting on top of your portfolio, in just the right position that most of the contents of the document can easily be read in the all photographs that were taken. Don’t you just hate when that happens to you?
Okay, maybe you can’t relate. You don’t have a chauffeur, top secret documents or even people other than your mom wanting to take your picture. Someone who can relate is Bob Quick, the former assistant commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police. He was Britain’s most senior counterterrorism officer. I say was, because he resigned after the furor created when he was photographed carrying a document containing details of an active investigation into suspected terrorists. You can see the pictures here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/apr/09/bob-quick...
If you followed the story you may have been amused that someone could be so dimwitted. You may be chuckling a little right now. Be careful. You may not have the last laugh. Most of us don’t have top secret documents, but we do have information on our computers considered company confidential. Do you have a laptop? Ever sat in a coffee shop, airport, or on a plane, with the laptop open and a company document on your screen. Think carefully, because if you have you’re really not much different than Bob Quick.
It’s called shoulder surfing. We talk about how little technical knowledge you need these days to do crimeware. You don’t even need the “ware” here. Anyone with good vision can do it
We can’t write virus definitions to protect you from losing company data that way. And although encryption and Data Leakage Protection are important prevention technologies they are not going to help here. You’re on your own. So be smart. Don’t let someone else have the laugh on you.