As the ever-increasing instances of cyberattacks show, rapid advancements in modern technology can lead to new security vulnerabilities.
But your email and social media accounts aren’t the only thing at risk. New forms of “contactless” technology can also leave certain credit cards, passports, and car keys susceptible.
Credit cards with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips don’t require physical insertion into a machine to process. They communicate via radio waves, and thus only require a nearby scan to function. United States passports made since 2007 also have RFID chips inside, and similar technology is at work in wireless car keys.
Unfortunately, this means someone with the intention to gain unwarranted access to your contactless technology only needs proximity to do so. There have already been multiple reported instances of “relay attacks” on cars with wireless keys, in which thieves interrupt and intercept the communication signal between key and car to gain access. Data can similarly be stolen by intercepting waves for contactless credit cards and passports.
So, how do you keep your information and possessions safe without sacrificing the ease that comes with RFID-enabled technology? The Faraday sleeve! (…Or purse, or bag, or cage, or wallet, or envelope, or cell phone holder.)
Faraday sleeves — available in a variety of forms, and sometimes referred to as Faraday cages — are made of a material designed to prevent radio transmissions. RFID-enabled technology encased in a Faraday sleeve is thus protected from interception.
And while the sleeves are gaining recent traction due to the rather recent phenomenon of cyberattacks, the technology was actually birthed back in 1836, when scientist Michael Faraday created the first Faraday cage.
Back then, Faraday certainly wasn’t attempting to block mobile devices from unwanted interlopers, and the technology he created was far from mobile-sized. The original Faraday cage was a garage-sized box designed as a protective barrier that allowed for groundbreaking experimentation with electricity. Now, centuries later, the technology itself has new practical uses.
What’s Out There?
So, what’s stopping you from taking the plunge and switching to a Faraday wallet? We wouldn’t be surprised if your answer was a desire for style or sophistication in your wallet or bag choice.
While most Faraday sleeves will pale in chic comparison to anything made by Burberry or Marc Jacobs, we’ve compiled some of the least aesthetically offensive options — at a variety of price points. If you’re looking to upgrade your security without completely abandoning your commitment to style, browse through and see if you can find your match. (For those less concerned with design, you can head to Amazon or Google to browse options available for less than $10.)
- RFID Blocking Credit Card Holder $8
- RFID Blocking Credit Card Sleeve $8
- RFID Blocking Clutch $18
- RFID Blocking Accordion Wallet $20
- RFID Blocking Camel Leather Men’s Credit Card Wallet $23
- RFID Blocking First Class Travel Organizer $55
- Silent Pocket Faraday Cage Sleeves – Medium (for Most Cell Phones) $88
- Silent Pocket Faraday Carryall – Medium $130
- Silent Pocket V2 Dual Faraday Carryall – XL (for Most Tablets and E-Readers) $230