When we talk about information security, we usually talk about written data, databases and records filled with confidential information. We instinctively think that our private e-mail address or phone number will be shared online when the words privacy and information security are mentioned. While written, structured data is the most common type of data leaked on the Internet, this is far from the only way that requires adequate protection.
Visual information, which today is the most popular form of information, can also reveal sensitive details. As interesting as photos, screenshots and even videos for the audience may be, you still need it take a more active attitude to make sure the information you share is not the information you need to protect. Adding a wrong IP address to a screenshot is easier than trying to eliminate the clutter after hackers have discovered the actual IP addresses of your organization's main servers. To help you with this, let's take a look at the most common data leaks in visual information.
Understand the risks
As mentioned above, it is difficult to deny the attractiveness of visual information in today's marketplace. Users are more attracted to photos and videos, making it incredibly effective in delivering important messages. In fact, product presentations, screenshots and explanatory videos are the most popular forms of online content today.
However, the race for more visual content carries a great deal of risk. When content is created in a fast-paced environment, it is easy to classify information security as less important. It is superficially necessary to share the latest photos of products or other visual information as soon as possible.
Here errors occur. A screenshot tool has recently made headlines because it shares the screenshots it creates and collects browser details. It's not just the tools. A simple one A screenshot of a webpage or conversation can reveal a lot about you and your business. Without proper validation, there is a risk that you will inadvertently lose confidential information online.
The risk is compounded by the fact that you can not always take back what you have posted online. Images posted online are cached almost immediately. Once they do this they can be retrieved again and again, even after you have deleted the original post. Imagine that sensitive business data becomes public knowledge. It's a risk that needs to be taken seriously.
A picture reveals so much
There are many details that can give a picture about your business. A picture says more than a thousand words, right? When you publish an image online, the first data that you (willingly) disclose to the IP address that will be used to publish that image. This IP address can tell a lot about your business, including your location and the Internet service provider you use.
Exif data attached to images also contains much information. A photo taken with a smartphone contains details about the smartphone itself, the location of the photo, the camera settings used for shooting, and much more. EXIF data is not just for photos. Each image created contains EXIF data in the file.
There is also the risk of misuse Tools for generating visual information, Webpage screenshot, the above-mentioned browser extension that collects user information, is not the only tool that uses the same procedure. Using untrusted tools to create social media posts or visual information for other channels may increase your understanding of your business.
Of course, the visual content can contain sensitive details. A photo of your desk might accidentally show your private email address, notes from a business meeting, and other information that you want to keep private. Names, places and other personal information are – by mistake – shared again and again. If you think private details can not be used on a photo, think again. The standard information security practice dictates that you should always think that your competitors and bad actors have progressed far enough to recognize these details and draw from images.
Unintentional leaks are also the type of problem that needs to be mitigated. Internal chats, photos of office parties or retreats, and even pictures that say too much about your product design can cause serious problems for the company and its employees. For example, a bad photo of an office party can dramatically reduce the level of customer confidence.
Visual information risk management
Once the risks have been identified, it is time to shift to better risk management. Recognizing the risks is only the beginning. The next part of the process is to add security measures that help minimize or even prevent these risks for your business.
Screening is usually the best way. All shared visual information must be checked for confidential information. Use proxies to mask and remove your original IP address EXIF information Using pictures is also a proven way to integrate them into your business workflow.
Yes, visual information can reveal many sensitive details about your business. However, the leaks can be prevented by adequate security measures. Just because visual content is effective does not mean that you need to speed up the publishing process. Not if information security is neglected.
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