Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Should You Get an RFID Blocking Backpack, or Anything?

While cyberthreats may be on the rise, you might be pleasantly surprised to learn that you don't need to buy an RFID blocking backpack, wallet, or anything.

Despite the fact that makers of RFID cases will tell you that RFID hacking is happening, nonbiased experts tend to disagree. Most notably, in addition to the fact that this type of hacking is beyond unlikely to actually happen to you, plain old tin-foil can apparently be more effective than some RFID blocking offerings sold on the market. Plus, while you're wrapping your devices and lining your bag with foil, you can make yourself a hat too.

Reasonable Risk

If you're going to spend time focused on mitigating potential hacking risks, unless you have a wide array of RFID enabled devices in your office, you might want to think twice about devoting any time or money to RFID blocking bags, cases, and wallets.

As the experts explain, the only RFID hacks documented have been from experts showing that it is possible. Despite the fact that it has been shown that RFID devices can be skimmed (or scanned) from many yards away, there are literally no documented cases of malicious RFID hacking. This is generally because the effort is not worth the reward in the real world.

Draining Wallets and Batteries

Before you go sorting through your wallet to see if your credit cards are RFID enabled, note that the new (annoying) chipped cards aren't RFID. These require contact be made in the card reader. So more likely than not, there's nothing in your wallet emitting an RFID signal.

And before you check your phone or devices to see if anything important can be transmitted via RFID, you might want to consider just disabling it on your devices, rather than get one of those RFID blocking bags (or another accessory). This is because often RFID blocking cases will block your phone's signal, sending it into an infinite loop of searching for a signal and draining your battery.

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