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The Importance of RFID Protection in Wallets

Wallet Protection And Changes in New Technology

In the old days, the biggest things that you had to look for in a wallet or billfold were portability and style. But these days, there is a lot more to evaluate, partly because of the ways that commercial transactions have changed.

Just a century ago, everybody used cash. But this really isn’t the case anymore. The last few decades have brought a major revolution in finance where nearly everyone is now carrying a set of plastic cards with which they pay for nearly everything they buy.

This changes the ways that we view money, and it also changes the ways that manufacturers are building wallets. Now consumers are finding out that unfortunately card reading technologies that make it easy for them to buy things with credit and debit cards are also leading to situations where thieves and hackers can make off with their personal financial information.

Radio frequency identification or RFID technology is great, but it has its flaws. Certain vulnerabilities in credit and debit card designs mean that in some cases, hackers may be able to reach out and grab our personal financial data.

The problem isn’t limited to our banking cards — for example, RFID technology is also present in U.S. passports issued after 2006. The difference is that we don’t take our passports with us on the street all the time — while our credit and debit cards are so important that we don’t leave home without them.

But now, companies making wallets have figured out how to foil the nefarious plans of modern hackers.


The Faraday Cage

In order to understand everything that is being done around RFID protection, it’s important to understand the principle that emerged in the early 1800s, when a physicist named Michael Faraday invented what is called the “Faraday cage.”


The Faraday cage works on the principle of manipulating radio waves and electromagnetic fields. By screening out electromagnetic radiation and blocking certain kinds of waves, a Faraday cage can either keep transmissions inside of a particular space, or keep them out of an internal area.


One example is the microwave oven, where a Faraday cage keeps gamma or “microwave” rays inside. For an example of the opposite kind of system, think of a hand-made aluminum foil lined bag that a shoplifter might use to get an RFID-equipped device out of a store without setting off security alarms.


RFID Blocking

What does the Faraday cage have to do with our credit cards?


As RFID security has started to emerge as a serious problem, companies have started to put RFID blocking technology in certain consumer items, like wallets, in order to make sure that thieves do not have access to the RFID systems built into the banking cards.


The issue is that someone can theoretically make a counterfeit reader, and walk around in a crowd, stealing information from others through targeting the RFID components of the cards in their wallets.


With that in mind, Allett has instituted RFID blocking technology in its line of wallets.
The technique is pretty simple — by creating a thin lining in the components of a wallet, Allett ensures that these wallets are “electromagnetically opaque,” or in other words, that the signals sent from a counterfeit reader will bounce right off of the wallet, without penetrating the exterior. This makes the wallet its own type of Faraday cage — a “safe system” from the wireless signals that could be trying to steal information.


Integrating RFID Blocking Into Wallet Design

There are a number of things that Allett has done when looking at RFID blocking features in wallets.


First, there’s the issue of making the lining thin enough that wallets are still portable and practically useful for the people wearing them. Some of the better protectors make wallets a little bit bulky, which leads to a kind of trade-off in shopping. You want your own personal Faraday cage to be effective, but you also want something you can slip in your pocket.
Buyers also don’t want to sacrifice style for security — the ideal wallet is an RFID blocking model that also features the neat leather or other high-quality materials that choosy shoppers want to carry around day to day.


Then there’s pricing — RFID blocking wallets have to be relatively affordable.


To serve all of these needs, Allett has figured out how to integrate an undetectable and light alloy lining into a wallet, to protect financial information without sacrificing design integrity. To get practical protection from street-side cyberattacks and peace of mind about your banking information, order your RFID blocking wallet today.

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