Simple e-Passport safeguard: Aluminum Foil

Today, CNN.com is featuring an article about the vulnerabilities of e-Passports. In case you don’t know, beginning in August, new U.S. passports will contain an RFID tag. An RFID tag is a little circuit and antenna that allows data to be read from it wirelessly. The plan is to speed up check-in by automating the process of getting the indentification information from the traveler’s passport. Unfortunately, anyone with an RFID tag reader can read the data without you even knowing it. Great… just what we need, identity theft on a global scale.
A simple and inexpensive way to defend against unwanted access to your e-Passport is to wrap it in aluminum foil. RFID tags are designed to be used at close range, so it doesn’t take much to interfere with them. One layer of aluminum foil will attenuate the radio signal enough to stop any unwanted access of your information. Though, you’ll probably need to remove it from the foil before you hand it over to the customs official.

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One Response to Simple e-Passport safeguard: Aluminum Foil

  1. Anonymous says:

    Keep in mind that the problem does not exist only for passports. In the last 2-3 years a lot of credit card issuers have started embedding RFID tags.
    American Express Blue is one example.

    As pointed out by previous post there are wallets, that have embedded steel threads.

    If you are cheap (like me) you can effectively solve the issue if you wrap a business card in aluminum folio and place it as the first one in a fold out wallet. Mine has a hidden pocket that I placed one.

    I have a TI 13.56 MHz reader and I was able to confirm it’s not able to defect a tag.