In the past few years, there has been speculation and discussion on the security risks involved with the RFID credit cards issued by MasterCard. Many were skeptical about the true threat to those using the tap and pay credit cards. Even with the many news networks giving warning regarding the security flaws, credit card distributors denied the allegations. However, at the last Schmoocon hacker conference, the hacking community proved the security threat by demonstrating how the RFID thieves steal your credit card information while it is still in your wallet.
How RFID Works:
RFID is a technology that uses radio signals to transmit information. It is often found in security strips at your local store to help keep track of products and prevent theft. MasterCard saw the use of RFID in credit cards and created a convenient way to pay without having to swipe your credit card.
A small RFID chip is integrated into the card, transmitting the credit card information for RFID readers to gather when making a payment. This convenience is also what creates the security risk. Thieves have discovered a way to use portable RFID scanners to gain your credit card information just by passing by you or bumping into you.
How to Protect Yourself:
Since the discovery of the security hole in RFID enabled credit cards, there have been many methods of protection suggested. Here are a few ways of protecting yourself from RFID scanners and keep your credit card information secure.
-RFID Protective Sleeves: One of the best ways to protect your credit card information is by using a specialized RFID credit card sleeve. These can be purchased online and are guaranteed to block the RFID signal. There are also wallets available specifically designed to block the signal as well.
-Stack Them Together: Since the RFID scanner reads the radio signal emitted from the card, stacking your RFID cards together can confuse the scanner. Too many different signals coming from the same area can make it hard for the scanner to read. This isn’t a granted method, but a little safer than doing nothing at all.
-Wrap it in Foil: A popular method of blocking the RFID signal is to wrap your card in foil. It works just the same as the sleeves when trying to keep the scanners from reading them.
-Limit Use: The only sure way of protecting your card information is by not having it with you. By limiting the amount of use and how often you carry your card, you are less likely to be a victim. Carry your card only when you intend on using it.
As technology grows, thieves adapt to match the latest trends. When new technology comes out, be aware of any security risks associated with it. Your financial future is dependent on having all the information you need to safeguard yourself against those who want to steal your hard earned money.
Andrew Bennett is a financial consultant and advises his clients to obtain credit cards for bad credit in order to increase their credit rating.