Uncovering the Risks Of Shoulder Surfing
By Tom Seest
At BestCybersecurityNews, we help entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, young learners, and seniors learn more about cybersecurity.
Skimming information off people is nothing new; criminals have been doing it since the early 1980s to obtain calling card numbers that can then be used for long-distance calls or sold for less than their worth.
Attackers use this tactic to monitor a device screen and keyboard in order to gain access to sensitive information stored there, either up close with binoculars, miniature video cameras, or phone cameras.
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Shoulder surfers can steal information by watching a victim’s screen or keyboard and tracking their fingers to gather intelligence on them and gain entry to accounts or commit other forms of crime with it.
Cybercriminals can carry out shoulder surf attacks in numerous ways, from using binoculars from a safe distance, spying on ATMs or self-service pumps, and watching people enter their PIN numbers to using video cameras or recording devices to obtain data remotely or even drones equipped with parabolic microphones to record long-distance voices from long distance. Attackers could also use smartphones or tablets to record information as it’s entered and later send it via email or text message to victims.
Shoulder surfing is an increasingly popular method of hacking because it requires minimal technical skill to execute successfully and can occur anywhere people enter personal data – from airports and shopping malls to mobile banking apps or public Wi-Fi networks. It’s especially vulnerable when victims log onto mobile banking apps or access public Wi-Fi networks without encryption protections in place.
Shoulder surf attacks can have devastating repercussions for their victims depending on the amount of information gathered by criminals. If criminals gain access to credit card details for example, fraudulent purchases made with these can put financial ruin upon victims as well as loans taken out, jobs applied for, and health/government benefits purchased using those names. Some criminals have even committed crimes using personal information about their victims when being interrogated by police which leads them to provide the details, leading them down a criminal path leading to charges being issued and possibly warrants being issued against them by authorities for further prosecution or arrest warrant.
Cybercriminals continue to exploit unsuspecting victims despite an abundance of security measures, using techniques such as shoulder surfing, phishing attacks, and malware infections as a means to gain access to sensitive data. While shoulder surfing may occur anywhere from airports and public transit to restaurants or coffee shops – it remains one of the primary forms of attack.
Shoulder surfing is a form of social engineering in which someone observes another entering confidential data onto electronic devices like an ATM, laptop, or smartphone. An attacker could either directly observe their victim enter their data onto these devices directly or use binoculars and video cameras to capture his/her info – an attack that poses serious threats to cyber security because of data breaches and financial loss.
Not many are aware that their personal data can be easily stolen by shoulder surfers; many do not realize that disclosing personal information in public places makes their identity and bank passwords vulnerable to criminals. People using text-based passwords instead of biometric ones for smartphones are especially prone to shoulder surfing attacks as criminals can easily read these passwords when users enter them publicly.
Attackers typically target public places such as restaurants, shopping centers, and public transportation systems; it may also involve spying on victims while they use computers or mobile devices at home or the office.
Shoulder surfing can be performed either directly by someone close to the victim or from a distance by using hidden cameras and microphones. Most commonly, it’s used for credit card numbers and PINs, but any sensitive data could potentially be at stake.
Criminals can use this attack to gain access to sensitive data like credit card numbers, account passwords, and even the victim’s social security number – giving them access to funds stolen by others, loans taken out under their name, or even government benefits in their name.
Shoulder surfers aren’t an inevitability; there are ways you can safeguard against their attempts. One is not disclosing PIN numbers in public; two is writing them down and asking someone else to shred it when finished with them; three, using password manager apps can protect yourself.
Shoulder surfing involves viewing someone’s computer or mobile device screen and keyboard for sensitive information. This may also involve listening in on conversations and looking for passwords or answers to security questions; by accessing this data, an attacker could gain entry to an account belonging to their victim and steal their identity or financial data. Anyone may conduct shoulder surfing; it is more likely done by malicious insiders.
People concerned with being shoulder surfed should take precautions against being “shouldered surfed”, especially when using their laptop in public or private settings, such as an office. One effective method to protect themselves is 2-factor authentication (2FA), which makes it harder for hackers to gain entry without also possessing personal devices like smartphones or other personal devices like privacy screens that reduce viewing angles by up to 50%.
Criminals wishing to gain access to personal or confidential data often target areas in which victims use electronic devices to enter personal details, such as ATMs, supermarket payment kiosks, or gas stations. Criminals use binoculars or miniature cameras to watch over the victim as they use these devices, or they eavesdrop (using powerful microphones) while reading out PINs or passwords aloud to cashiers or record typing passwords or responses to security questions on chat applications or phones for later use.
Criminals can not only gain access to passwords but can also use them to observe how victims enter banking details into their phone or mobile banking app, gaining information that they could then use against their victims in order to empty bank accounts or commit other forms of fraud.
Though aware of its risks, most people fail to take sufficient precautions against shoulder surfing and thus leave themselves open to vulnerability. This may be partly because many don’t realize it’s possible for others to watch your password or keystrokes. One way of protecting against shoulder surfers is purchasing a privacy screen for your laptop computer that restricts viewing angles; other methods include squinting eyes or tilting away devices before viewing.
Shoulder surfing is an effective social engineering tactic used by hackers to gain access to sensitive information. This attack involves direct observation of victims as they enter sensitive data such as credit card or bank account credentials into their devices – this information can then be analyzed at a later time to gain the desired insight. Shoulder surfing poses a particular danger for those working in public spaces such as restaurants and coffee shops.
This attack method, often known as ‘peeping Toming’ or ‘overwatching,’ allows criminals to view passwords, PINs, and other confidential data being typed into devices by users while they type it themselves – then record keystrokes with hidden cameras or binoculars for later analysis – making this attack method both highly effective and simple for attackers to execute.
While most are aware of the dangers of cybercrime, many don’t realize shoulder surfing is a particularly prevalent form of attack. Shoulder surfing can result in identity theft, financial fraud, and even physical harm – without needing sophisticated technology or expert planning for its execution. It can happen within seconds!
Shoulder surfers aren’t the only ones vulnerable to cybercrime; attackers can also use phishing emails and other means of communication with victims to gain their personal details, including impersonating tech support agents or service providers and asking for personal details; alternatively, fake versions of websites belonging to victims may also be created in order to steal credentials from victims.
Shoulder surfing long predates laptops and cellphones. Criminals have long taken advantage of shoulder browsing to steal personal data from individuals since the 1980s when people entered pay phone card numbers into pay phone machines; later, they would watch as ATM PINs or payment systems at gas stations or stores were entered by customers.
One way to prevent shoulder surfing attacks is to limit device usage in public places unless absolutely necessary for work purposes. Save activities like checking bank accounts until after returning home – that way; your privacy can remain safe. Furthermore, use a virtual private network (VPN) when accessing public WiFi networks, as hackers may intercept information shared over these networks.
Please share this post with your friends, family, or business associates who may encounter cybersecurity attacks.