My new charge card has RFID with a 2-inch range: what is the point, and the risk?
My new credit card came the other day, replacing one which was about to expire. The letter that came with the new one boasted it had a new feature: it can be read wirelessly, instead of having to be swiped (I do hate that term, since it also means "to steal", but we'll go with the current-usage flow). The letter also said there was no need to worry, the wireless range was just two inches, and there were other security safeguards in place. Although the letter didn't mention RFID, that's certainly what this new card was about.
I gave this some thought and decided I was not really comfortable with this new, "improved" card. Despite all the assurances of security and the fairly short range, we know that smart, determined hackers will find ways to get through.
Also, the actual benefit of non-contact reading here seems somewhat elusive to me. Swiping a card through a reader is no big deal, and it is just a tiny amount more work than holding the card near the reader. So I don't see that the actual point of this is wireless application.
I can certainly see RFID and swipe-less reading, for example, in badges at a trade show, where the booth staff can log your name and other specific by waving a wand near your name badge. This eliminates the fumbling for the badge, getting it out of the holder, and forgetting to take it back when an old buddy comes by and starts giving you the "long time no see, let's catch up" (I'm speaking from experience here). But as a benefit in using the credit card, well, I don't see it.
So I am thinking of trying to shield the RFID circuit or its antenna. First, will I be able to figure out where it is embedded in the card? And if I can, will a square of aluminum foil glued to each side be enough? Or do I have to go to some other shielding material, such as Mu-metal foil (click here).
Readers: any suggestion on how I can defeat this RFID circuitry? I'd like to hear from you. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. ♦