A few weeks ago we posted an article about the new RFID-enhanced US Passport. As many of you know, data stored using RFID technology was designed to be read by scanner from a distance. This is great for a lot of reasons, but it is also a potential point of vulnerability of the system. We received a lot of emails from readers concerned about the security of the information stored electronically on the chip so we thought we would investigate how best to defend against RFID data theft.
We took a look around and found a lot of homemade solutions for blocking the RFID signal. Some of them appear to be effective, but not anything we would be interested in using. We also checked out some of the links to products sent in by various readers. The most appealing ones in terms of form and function were the DataSafe wallets and passport holders from Kena Kai.
Blocking RFID signals is not rocket science. Radio frequency is like any electronic signal, the ability to detect it is dependent on the signal's strength and the sensitivity of the receiver. Certain materials, however, when placed in the path between the signal's source (the RFID chip) and the receiver (RFID scanner) will interfere with the process. Metal is usually a good shield as it will reflect the signal rather than letting it pass. We are not certain exactly what is sewn into the sides of the Kena Kai's DataSafe products, but we would guess it is some other kind of flexible metal foil.
Kena Kai has a large selection of DataSafe products and they are GSA approved. They come in a number of styles and colors. The wallets and passport holders are indistinguishable from the non-shielding ones sold by purveyers of high-end leather goods.
The Kena Kai holders are sized perfectly for securing the passport, a bunch of credit cards, and cash. When folded, the holder would fit nicely in the inside pocket of a jacket . These Kena Kai passport holders would work well as everyday wallets. We may just trade in our Coach ones and start using these instead as it would be a shame to only use them for when we travel out of the country.
We are always happy to let our readers know about products which are well-made, functional, and offer a "little more" than what you see on the surface. These Kena Kai DataSafe passport holders scored in every one of those criteria. If you are going to travel, do it in style, but do it safely. We plan to. [Permalink]- Kena Kai DataSafe Wallets