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How RFID Can Breach Your Privacy and How to Thwart It

Simplifying the duties and processes of supply chain management, retail and pharmaceutical industry, radio frequency identification (RFID) is expected to play a major role in the future of technology. Researchers are toying with the idea of using this technology to pin point location of your car, passport, and assets to make life simpler. However, this technology also gives life to a privacy breach issue, that is raising more than a few eyebrows. Security options like RFID Shielding are already in place to take care of such problems. But, there is a rising concern whether the shielding options are efficient enough to handle such complex situations or not. Let us discuss how RFID threatens our privacy and how good the shielding solutions are.


How Does RFID Work?

RFID tags come in passive and active designs. Industries are using mostly passive tags, which doesn’t have a power source. When a radio signal is sent to it, it temporarily powers up (using that signal) and sends information to the reader. On the other hand, active tags are equipped with their own power source and are generally used to send more comprehensive data to the reader.

Companies like Phillips, Procter & Gamble and Wal-Mart are the primary users of RFID solutions currently, but in the near future this technology is expected to tag books, food, multi application e-tickets (for buses, trains), secure documents, livestock, passport and more. Although, it all points to the benefit of the society, people tend to overlook the risks it can bring on the table.

Privacy Risks That RFID Can Introduce

Accessing Your Personal Information is Easy Now: RFID tags can be scanned or read without your permission. There are absolutely no safeguards against it (unless you use a shielding system). Therefore, anyone with a signal reader can easily access data. If this technology claims a major part in our future, people can even access information regarding your passport, your secured documents, property and more. This makes keeping tabs on people easier for government and private enterprises. Plus, researchers are trying to develop high-gain antennas that can send radio signals to a great distance, leaving you vulnerable to privacy breach from afar.

Tracking Credit Card: RFID readers can read and skim data off you card and use the information to go on a shopping spree. There is another way in which your private financial information might be at risk. Every consumable product now has a unique number, and paying for it with your credit card can associate the credit card data with the product number, which can be read at any time by RFID readers.

Can Be Used for Identity Theft: Your personal RFID number can be scanned and used to create counterfeit identities. After that, your electronic signature can be used to commit crimes, access your accounts or both.

How to Thwart This Threat?

You should be concerned about protecting your personal information. And since you cannot always find and damage the RFID tags (losing tags in passports might put you in trouble), you can use shielding materials to block the unwanted scanning.

  • Single-document sleeves, pouches and wallets are already in the store to help you block the electromagnetic signals coming through the RFID spectrum.
  • You can also use metal containers to keep important documents and objects safe from close or long range scanning. Generally, aluminum foils are used to create containers or pouches for important items.
  • There is also news of a blocking card in development that can keep items safe from data skimming or scanning, when kept close with the targeted items.
  • You can also jam the RFID signals using a signal of your own on the same frequency that the RFID tag is operating on.

If you need a more comprehensive and somewhat complex shielding solutions, then asking professional for help and getting personalized RFID shielding solutions would be the best option for you. Now that you know how your privacy is at stake, and how to safeguard it, get your RFID blocking solution today.

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