Some credit cards and passports are now enabled with a RFID chip (13.56 MHz) that stores information which can be retrieved by a RFID reader. The RFID enabled credit card or passport does not need to be swiped using conventional methods, and can be read by a RFID reader from only several inches away. In 2008, passport cards were issued with UHF RFID chips that operated in the 900 MHz range, and could be read from several feet away.
There has been an ever increasing concern by privacy advocates that illegal RFID readers can be used to secretly obtain information by scanning for nearby RFID enabled credit cards and passports. The scanning can be performed at a distance even if the credit card or passport is concealed.
Some companies have designed special sleeves and wallets that claim to protect sensitive information from being stolen. MET Laboratories, a leading independent test lab, can test and verify that these sleeves and wallets actually work by using test equipment that resembles readers that hackers may have at their disposal.
Steps to RFID Blocking Testing:
- We use a 13.56 MHz RFID transmitter for testing
- The transmitter is used to successfully read a RFID enabled credit card on a stand-alone basis
- Place the credit card inside a wallet or sleeve and try to read it. Reads should be unsuccessful if the wallet or sleeve shields the credit card
MET can test wallets, sleeves, clothes and other RFID blocking products to:
- Frequencies from 13mHz to 900 mHz
- IEEE 299 for shielding effectiveness