HP targets ‘visual hacking’ with HP Sure View integrated privacy screen

HP Sure View is available as an option on two HP commercial models, HP EliteBook 1040 and HP EliteBook 840.

HP Sure View EliteBook 1040_angleHP has announced HP Sure View, an integrated privacy screen option available on the HP EliteBook 1040 and HP EliteBook 840, which the company believes will be more readily used than third party screens, and thus present an effective deterrent to what HP is calling ‘visual hacking.’

“This is breakthrough technology to protect sensitive data,” said Mike Nash, vice president of product portfolio and customer experience at HP.

HP Sure View uses 3M privacy technology, and stems from a working relationship the two companies announced late in 2015 to target visual hacking, in a world where data privacy is becoming a growing concern. Existing third party devices that are slipped onto devices exist, but they are not widely used, because they are clunky, prone to breakage, and can be difficult to set up.

“Our team been working with 3M and other supply chain partners to build this out,” said Steve Sinclair, vice president of product development, commercial PCs at HP. “Our own usage of our own devices was the genesis of this. We saw that even through a lot of money is spent on endpoint protection, and data encryption, and identity checks, the easiest way to steal information is look over someone’s shoulder. We came up with the idea to have something always available, that removes the inconvenience of having to add a filter. It turned out to be a very complex process.”

The filter is turned on and off simply by pressing the F2 key.

Users simply press the f2 key to immediately transition the PC to privacy mode, which reduces up to 95 percent of visible light when viewed at an angle, making it difficult for others to view information on the screen.

“There is no external filter,” Sinclair said. “Pressing the F2 key turns on a 70 degree cone where the device is fully visible. Outside that cone, visible light emitted is reduced by up to 95 per cent, so that visibility drops off rapidly. From the sides, an onlooker will barely be able to discern what happens on the screen.”

The technology works through the combination of a special control film on top of the LCD, and a proprietary backlight behind through the film.

The screen is starting on the HP EliteBook 1040 and HP EliteBook 840 because the 14 inch is the sweet spot for commercial notebooks.

“Our goal over time is to see this expand to other screen sizes, resolutions and technologies, but we are starting here to make a big splash,” Sinclair said.

So what will the price premium be for this?

“On the high end, it will be bundled in with no increase in price,” Sinclair said. “Lower end, it could be $75, but you wont see a price listed anywhere. It will be bundled with other options. As the cost of an after-market filter is $40-60 and up, and users typically burn through a couple of them over the life of the notebook, we believe the cost is good value.”

Sinclair also said that this won’t drain your battery.

“If you have it on 50 per cent of the time, you will not notice any difference in your battery life.”

Sinclair thinks the presence of HP Sure View will lead to productivity gains.

“Having this available means that you are more likely to use the computer, in instances where you wouldn’t normally because of security issues,” he said.

Nash also stressed that Sure View is not a bell and whistle, but part of the continuous focus on improving device security that was epitomized with the HP SureStart self-healing BIOS.

“This is not a one-off thing, but part of a more comprehensive security solution,” he said. “SureStart has become a foundation of that.”

HP Sure View is expected to be available in September.