CHOICE membership

RFID Blocking wallets

In the current climate of identity theft, credit card skimming, the sale of personal information, and using transmitter/receivers to steal cars by detecting the modern car key on the internet.there seems to be more RFID protected pouches, wallets, and credit card holders on sale.

But the big question is: … do they actually work?

For peace of mind I bought two pouches to house our car keys and wallets. After owning them (and feeling smug and safe) for many months, I finally decided to test the wallets out by standing next to our car with the key in the puch and pressing the ‘open’ button. Much to my surprise the car opened! So much for feeling safe. Now I wonder if these pouches, wallets, and card holders actually work.

I hope that Choice has the equipment that may be able to test a few and give some indication of whether these things might actually work. :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the suggestion @meltam :+1:

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The other question is, if they do work, are they needed? How much of a risk is it not using a RFID…or how much close contact card skimming occurs in the real world Just because a solution exists, there not necessarily be a problem.

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Yes, I too wonder about these. Look forward to the Choice testing.

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I have two, one is a pouch, the other a wallet, and I dont like either of them. I prefer my old soft leather wallet. But I try to keep safe. Maybe I should do what many people i know do, now that we have our Apple Watches and Apple Pay, and that is, that they dont even take their cards anywhere anymore. They stay at home.

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That just raises a whole host of additional questions, including NFC attacks against the device in question and whether it is OK for a country to lose control of its payment system to a proprietary and secretive foreign entity (same questions for any other provider, not just Apple).

Also, RFID attack is not just an issue for debit or credit cards. It is an issue for any contactless card or other device with embedded circuitry or chip that does RFID e.g. transport card and e.g. entry card and e.g. your passport.

None of this answers the question above however as to whether real attacks are being conducted in the wild.

However if the attack works at all and there is money to be made then the attacks will come.

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Well, damn! you are such a little ray of sunshine!

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Yeah, I’d like to know.

In our travels, we picked up a couple of credit card size signal disruptors. Certainly they stop all sorts of NFC/rfids working. So I guess they at least inhibit scanning.
The card is handy as it just slots into an existing wallet, bag or whatever. $2 on Ali, $6 on auAmazon, & Myer has a $60 variety with battery and flashing lights.
Edit: or DIY, wrap card in aluminium foil

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My personal experience has been that they don’t work. I’ve had two from well-known brands that I bought because I liked the design, not because they claimed RFID protection.
The CHOICE building uses contactless cards for secure entry. My card has worked to open doors when in either wallet. A ( Transport for NSW ) Opal card can also be read when inside my current wallet.
I’m still using one of them. The other was thrown away a couple of years ago.

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I guess the protection would depend on whether the “cage” around the card isolated/suppressed the card antenna/coil or enhanced/didn’t alter the coil/antenna function. I am unsure how all of them work, but I assume that the cage idea is like a Faraday cage that supposedly isolates the card from any RF energy creating signal, and I also assume the others create a signal so that it interferes with getting the correct data from the cards they wish to siphon details from. The cage concept would require earthing and/or sufficient separation of the card from the cage to work very well and so I think that many of these cage types devices may not shield the card coil/antenna. The signal creating ones may be more successful in creating interference and thus stopping successful data siphoning but as I don’t use any of these I cannot either prove or disprove the outcomes (I do wear the tinfoil hat though :smile:).

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This US website puts a interesting take on RFID protection devices and possibly answers some of the above questions. While it is from 2017, it is possibly still relevant today:

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Good news, thanks :smiley:

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May this year:

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Nothing has changed in 2 years…appears to still be the snake oil of the tech industry.

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Just putting it out there but could RFID be used for (government) surveillance?

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Yes. For example, China is planning to roll out RFID for registered vehicles.

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There may be problems protecting these…it might prevent the use of a vehicle.

RFIDs are also already used in Australia for tolling purposes.

With optical systems which recognise number plates (like our enforcement agencies use in Australia), I wonder if there is a real needs as they use number plates in China…maybe the long term plan is to ditch these since they can be removed or replicated for criminal purposes. A RFID is potentially harder to crack, particularly if it is built into a vehicles construction.

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But then tolling seems to be going in the opposite direction (in Australia) … tags are a hassle (go flat, stop working, get left in the other vehicle, not positioned correctly, cost money to manufacture and distribute), while optical recognition of plates allows attribution of toll charges even for vehicles that don’t have a tag.

Maybe your plates should be QR codes :slight_smile: which would allow a lot more sophistication, and effectively prevent the creation of fake plates. Wouldn’t do anything about removal and wouldn’t do much about replication though.

Perhaps with care you could design an RFID setup where you can prevent the situation that: the car is not immobilised due to lack of RFID but shielding prevents detection of the RFID from outside the vehicle.

If the RFID is really built right into the construction, making it harder to remove, it is also more shielded - although maybe not so much these days with all the plastic (or, in really expensive cars, carbon fibre).

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As we know, large stores track your movement around the store and track your return visits to the store using the MAC address that your phone broadcasts in its attempt to associate with all its known access points and/or using that set of access points.

Some phone vendors have partially fixed this, and presumably eventually both Apple and Android will have this properly fixed.

RFID might provide an alternative tracking mechanism for the store - particularly as a lot of stores already use RFID scanners at exits in order to detect stock theft.

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Keyless theft of cars is a big problem in Europe. This link lists wallets recommended wallets - https://kit.honestjohn.co.uk/top-tens/top-10-signal-blocking-keyless-entry-theft-pouches-and-boxes/ The website also has list of the cars most vulnerable to such theft.

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