March 22, 2024

Screenshots and Security Risk

Information Security


As the Valeo/Nvidia lawsuit has demonstrated, one screenshot can expose an organization to embarrassing data leaks, costly lawsuits and fines, and hours of audits and root-cause analyses. With screenshot recording software and malware, the latest generation of cybercriminals is exploiting credentials, passwords, mission-critical documents, health information, banking information, and sensitive images. 

Without the appropriate security controls in place to restrict the use of screenshotting, other cybersecurity measures, like data loss prevention (DLP) solutions, are rendered ineffective. With so many sensitive documents created, sent, and stored on employee devices, how can businesses address and mitigate the security risks associated with screenshotting software?

In this blog, we explore the enterprise security risks of screenshots, real-life scenarios of exploitation, and how to implement anti-screen capture technology in your organization.

The Security Risks of Screenshots

Standard software screenshots or malware that records screenshots and keystrokes are common methods used to compromise data security and privacy. For that reason, screenshots are not permitted in industries with highly sensitive data, such as healthcare (i.e., HIPAA) and financial and banking environments. Overall, screenshots pose a number of security risks, including:

Unauthorized Access

Cybercriminals can use screenshot recording software to send screenshot copies to external servers, possibly stealing passwords, credentials, or other intellectual property.

Malware and Data Loss

Through malware delivered to an unprotected device, applications like Screenshotter can be used to take unauthorized screenshots of confidential data or images.

Interference with Antivirus and DLP Software

Screenshots and keystrokes can interfere with antivirus software and data loss prevention (DLP) solutions. 

Legal Issues and Copyright Infringement

Some applications and websites do not permit screen-capturing for security reasons. Screen capturing software may bypass these rules accidentally. If obtained and used without the owner's permission, screenshots may be regarded as unauthorized digital reproductions of content and may subject your organization to copyright law. 

How Screenshots Can Compromise Security

There are three possible attack vectors that allow for cybercriminals to successfully exploit the screenshot vulnerability. Based on the level of access, the three scenarios are:

  1. Direct device access – In this scenario, the attacker has direct, physical access to the targeted system or device. This could occur when a corporate laptop or device is stolen, or upon unauthorized entry to a secure facility. With direct access, the attacker can install a screenshot recording device and configure the malware to take screenshots at will and send images through the network.  
  1. Indirect device access – By manipulating the user to download malware from an untrusted source (e.g., pirated content), the attacker may execute malware on the compromised device. SImilar to having direct access, the attacker may now be able to generate device screenshots and exfiltrate sensitive data. 
  1. System-level access – In the case of a shared device or public system, the attacker may install a screen-capture software that has the ability to read files outside the specific application. In this scenario, the attacker would be able to record multiple screenshots to scrape for any valuable data that is otherwise protected by application-level security systems – for example, a banking app has built-in privacy and encryption features that are commonly compromised with system-level screen recording tools.
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Anti-Screen Capture Tools for Businesses

To prevent hackers from using screen capture to steal your data, passwords, and other sensitive information, here are some of the most popular anti-screenshot tools that guarantee maximum security. 

  1. Zemana AntiLogger: Zemana AntiLogger detects keylogging, webcam capture, and screenshot capture malware, including keystroke logging protection, webcam hijacking protection, screen capture protection, microphone hijacking protection, IntelliGuard – cloud-powered early response system, and clipboard (copy-paste) remote access protection. Key feature: Conceals banking, shopping, and other online activity to prevent data leakage through screenshot logging.
  1. Inkit Secure Document Generation: Inkit is an end-to-end secure document management platform that allows businesses to create, sign, and retain documents with complete security and privacy. Using a drag-and-drop interface, users can create custom MS Office, PDF, and HTML documents and automate compliance with records management mandates with Inkit's "Digital Burn Bag" Key feature: Documents are encrypted end-to-end and may be marked "view only" to prevent screenshots and downloads.
  1. SpyShelter: With two versions, SpyShelter Firewall and SpyShelter Premium, this anti-screen capture tool prevents attackers from recording the screen and accessing keyboard input, screenshots, and sensitive information that are copied, clipped, and pasted into the clipboard. The tool comes with a Webcam Protection module and protects the PC registry, physical memory (RAM), and other PC components. Key feature: Does not impact device performance when detecting and blocking screen recording activities.
  1. ScreenWings: ScreenWings is a simple-to-configure tool that disables tracking and automatically darkens the screen in the instance of an unauthorized screenshot; the attacker receives a black screenshot with no visible information.  Key feature: Easy to install and compatible with multi-monitor setups

Final Thought

Not only can screen recording cause compliance issues, fines, and loss of trust, but it also exposes your organization to legitimate cybercrimes and data leaks. For organizations that create, store, and share sensitive data and documents or must comply with regulations like HIPAA or PCI, data loss prevention (DLP), firewalls, and network-level security protocols aren't enough. A robust application-level security posture is essential for the safety of your customers, employees, and operations. By disabling screen recording and sending anti-screen capture documents, you can reduce the risk of bad actors compromising confidential data, stealing intellectual property, and negatively impacting your organization. 

To learn how you can avoid the risks of screenshots in your org, get in touch with Inkit’s DocGen experts or email us at Trusted by the Airforce, DoD, and top institutions where privacy and security matter most.

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