back to article Steel-woven wallet pledges to keep RFID credit cards safe

Worried someone may try to wirelessly nab your personal details from those RFID cards in your wallet? Get some peace of mind with the “identity theft preventing privacy wallet”, its seller claims. We kid you not. According to its online retailer, the wallet is woven from over 20,000 super-fine strands of stainless steel which …

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  1. Vincent Ballard

    DIY

    Or you can make your own with aluminium foil and either masking tape or duct tape for a few pence. It might not look as cool, but it still stops radio waves.

  2. SuperTim

    No thanks

    I'll stick to my metal card case.

  3. Neur0mancer
    Happy

    Pretty cool

    If it does what it says it does. Do they do a similar range in head gear for the tin foil hat brigade?

  4. Thecowking
    Thumb Up

    Or you can just get some Duct tape

    http://www.rpi-polymath.com/ducttape/RFIDWallet.php

    It's even geekier.

  5. Hermes Conran
    Big Brother

    Does it come in Aluminum foil,

    to match my hat?

  6. Neil Stansbury

    Aw shame

    Thinks this is a great idea, but I need need one slot out side my faraday wallet for my Oyster card - damn!

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      Happy

      Love it!

      The Faraday Wallet(tm), what a fantastic, yet very geeky name!

  7. Jet Set Willy
    Coat

    20,000 super-fine strands of stainless steel?

    Wouldn't tinfoil be a more appropriate medium?

    Mines the one weighing 20 kilos with the rust marks.

    1. Nexox Enigma

      Stainless Steel? Super Fine?

      So stainless steel obviously wouldn't show rust marks, and seeing as how they're probably thinner than your average piece of thread, it's probably not too weighty.

      Most stainless steels have generally poor surface conductivity, which would be needed to form the collection of threads into a conductive mesh, which would be needed for a decent Faraday Cage.

      I wonder if this thing has enough shielding to just stop the card from working on a normal reader, or if it can actually block the high powered gear of the sort that Defcon attendees lug to Vegas yearly?

  8. wheel
    Thumb Down

    Missing the point?

    Isn't the point of RFID cards that you don't have to get them out of your wallet to use them? Otherwise we might as well stick with chip and pin, which would be cheaper (and lighter) than carrying around a Faraday cage.

    P.S. I wonder if the same company makes a woven steel case for my mobile phone, to make sure that nobody can hack into it!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Unwanted RFID/NFC cards

      Yes, the point of RFID/NFC cards is that you don't have to get them out of your wallet to use them. But what if you don't want an RFID/NFC card? It's not as simple as not asking for one any more. If you are a customer of Barclays, for example, you can't get a standard debit card without RFID/NFC built into the card any more. Even if you ask for it, they won't give it to you. I fully expect other UK banks to follow in their footsteps, since this is an initiative being driven by VISA.

      I X-rayed my card to see where the antenna is and whether I could cut the antenna. I haven't actually cut it yet, but it should be possible.

      The bottom line is that we are no longer given the choice whether to have such cards without having to make much more drastic decisions like not having a bank account at all.

      I haven't verified this, but I believe that there's at least one way of abusing Barclays' system in order to rip off unsuspecting people walking around with unprotected wallets.

      AC for obvious reasons.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What??

        How is "the point" of RFID cards that they can be used while still in the wallet? There is no way they could have blindly thought that would work...Personally I have 4 cards in my wallet...Cash, 2 Debit and one credit....I really don't fancy the till playing RFID Roulette when I pay for stuff I'd much rather know which account I was paying from.

  9. Adam Doran
    Go

    Ahead of the trend for a change...

    I've had one of these for years! Check out http://www.difrwear.com/ for the economy version. Delivery did take a few weeks though back in 2006/7.

    1. The Cube
      Thumb Up

      Same here

      Had a dirfwear passport wallet for years ever since the Incompetence and Assport Service decided to issue me a passport with "secure" RFID. It was a lot cheaper than this one too.

      Also it confuses the hell out of the airport staff when you forget to take it out of your pocket for the metal detector, they go over you with the hand scanner, look in the wallet and see a passport and then assume their scanner is acting up...

    2. Greg J Preece

      See, they're much nicer

      Much, much nicer. And cheaper, too. And they hold more (between debit, credit, ID, security and membership cards, I've got a shitload of these things).

      What I love is that the RFID industry has said "Shit, our technology has this one, tiny, small, insignificant GIANT HUGE SECURITY HOLE, but let's not fix it. Let's sell people new wallets instead."

  10. JP Sistenich
    Badgers

    Strange

    They're selling in the US, but advertising with a big, thick €200 note.

    Surely they have a European outlet then?

  11. Nev Silver badge
    WTF?

    Don't get it.

    Can someone explain the point of contactless credit/debit cards?

    What has been gained by "removing" a layer of security?

    Are they being introduced anywhere other than the UK?

  12. Elmer Phud Silver badge
    WTF?

    Far too cheap

    For a bit of nerd bling it's far too cheap and under-enginered.

    I'd expect it to be made of a combined carbon fibre/stainless steel mesh around a Kevlar wallet.

    Plus a pocket for micro SD cards to keep one's life history.

    It should look like it could withstand a bullet as well.

    If they put the price up to about £150 the things would fly off the shelf as a 'security' item.

    Put a Ferrari badge on it and it's worth £400.

  13. Shinobi87

    erm....

    so if the wallet became magnetically charged would it not fubar all your credit cards? I remember when I was young i put a magnet on one of my mums cards and it stopped working.

  14. Josh 14
    WTF?

    RFID for the idiocy of it all...

    Not really missing the point, as much as not wanting to play the game that the card issuers are trying to force down all of our throats.

    I'm not big on the tinfoil hat paranoia, but I can see not wanting to have my banking info easily sniffed, or any other random info that some card issuer decides they want to make RF accessible.

    If I need to use a RFID card for a banking transaction (if they ever manage to get rid of the swipe all together?) then I'll pull the silly thing out, and hope that some ambitious crook hasn't gotten to the area of the reader for a physical monitoring hack at the most likely target location...

    Hmm, I think I may stick to cash at that point, if it ever comes to that...

    WTF for the idiocy in trying to force an insecure system into critical information fields, be it national security, people tracking, or banking.

    Keep it for inventory theft tracking and leave the rest well enough alone.

  15. The Original Ash
    Thumb Down

    Old, old, OLD.

    ThinkGeek has had RFID blocking wallets (and Duct Tape wallets, for that matter) for YEARS. It's considerably cheaper too, even with import duties. The also have one for your passport.

    This was news in 2004.

  16. Graham Wood

    This almost has a real use...

    I've got 3 different RFID cards, and they interfere when trying to use them. This means that I've now got 2 different wallets that I carry, and wave the "correct" one at the reader when I need to - the third card (thankfully) doesn't interefere with the second.

    If this could be produced with a flap in the middle to let you "unlock" one side, this would give me the ability to use 4 different RFID cards from a single wallet - completely changing my life, guv.

    E.g. Card 1 on the outside of the "protection" on the left, card 2 inside on the left, card 3 inside on the right, and card 4 outside on the right. left down -> 1, open, flap to right -> 2, open, flap to left -> 3, right down -> 4.

    Of course, hacking the cards apart and putting the coils on some sort of swtich device would work too - but would almost definitely break the card.

    1. IvanTheTolerable

      @Graham Wood

      "...left down -> 1, open, flap to right -> 2, open, flap to left -> 3, right down -> 4"

      RFID: Now isn't your life easier already? 0_o

    2. Roger Greenwood
      Thumb Down

      Magnetism

      Try sticking a fridge magnet on a stainless steel fridge.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    or 20s in microwave

    Also works for chip & pin, passports, the nasty trackers they put in shoes...

  18. David Given
    Black Helicopters

    Don't use aluminium foil!

    If you're building your own ray-shielding headwear or wallet, whatever you do, don't use aluminium foil. You've got to use real tin foil. Reputable studies have shown that aluminium foil helmets actually *enhance* the orbital mind control rays: http://people.csail.mit.edu/rahimi/helmet/

    And I bet you thought it was just coincidence that you can't get tinfoil in the shops any more.

  19. David Dingwall
    FAIL

    High School physics anyone?

    "so if the wallet became magnetically charged would it not fubar all your credit cards? I remember when I was young i put a magnet on one of my mums cards and it stopped working."

    and I was taught static charge stays on the outside. Assuming the thing is closed all the way around, your cards should be safe.

  20. Christian Gerzner

    Umm, excuse me?

    What happens if you take your card out of the wallet to make a transaction?

    Or doesn't that count because there's no "nasty" scanner nearby?

  21. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
    FAIL

    So, how's it earthed then?

    Stainless steel pantaloons?

    A Faraday cage isn't much good unless it's earthed.

    1. Rob Clive
      Thumb Down

      Re: So, how's it earthed then?

      Certainly they're better when earthed but the whole point of a Faraday cage is to equalize the potentials induced by EM waves. Which is why cars and planes make quite good ones; or would if the windows weren't so large.

      Incidentally static shielding bags your piece of electronics came in are also good for attenuating RFID cards with 'Wave and Pay' logos on. (As in Wave your card and Pay everyone else's bill)

  22. Vincent Ballard
    FAIL

    Earthing

    @Sorry that handle is already taken, would you care to explain why the local metro machines can't read my card until I take it out of my wallet? The real issue isn't whether it's earthed (with respect to what, anyway?) but whether it has holes. However, given the size of the aerials on those cards (pretty much the size of the card) the frequency of radio waves used is low enough that you can get away with holes on the order of a cm.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Not really

      You haven't given very much information, so no, I can't.

      I may be slightly hasty but my default position of "it's advertising so it must be false (until I've found evidence otherwise)" is certainly better than the alternative.

  23. Simon Sparks
    Stop

    Dubious

    I had something similar last year from http://www.stewartstand.com and could still use my RFID card to get into the office without opening my wallet.

    1. Someone

      More than similar

      I don’t know about similar. I’d say it is a Stewart/Stand product. Is yours one of the original designs, without the strengthening on the hinged area? I’ve always assumed he made the change because some wallets had suffered metal fatigue. Fortunately, that wouldn’t have been a problem for me. I rarely open my wallet.

  24. Boring Bob
    Thumb Down

    Waste of Money

    RFID for banking cards is a misnomer. Bank cards do not use radio waves to communicate, they use a modulated transformer coupling which provides the power for the card was well as the communication path. NFC is exactly that "Near Field Communication". Working in this field I can tell you that trying to get reliable communication to work as 10cm distance is a headache. Don't worry about people sniffing your RFID cards, if someone wants your card they will mug you instead.

    There are RFID chips that do use radio waves to communciate but these are simply tags that just return an ID number and do not need the power provided by a transformer coupling that a microcontroller does.

  25. Mycho Silver badge

    Thinkgeek sell them too

    Just saying. They also sell USB pet rocks.

    1. chris 130
      Grenade

      Geek Alert, Pay attention for the Science bit

      Ohhhhhhhhh

  26. chris 130
    Paris Hilton

    Basically its a Brillo pad

    Being a Brillo pad at heart makes this:

    A truly multi-functional wallet, now rather than just one rather boring sedate task, the Steel Knight (TM) offers layers of multi-functional genius and remove those stubborn saucepan streaks after that fine meal that you bought using your Steel knight protected credit cards.

    I should be writing their PR

    These guys are obviously Amateurs, pfffftttt !!!!

    Any other uses you can think of?

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