Thursday, 23 April 2015 03:15

VIDEO Interview: Armourcard jams RFID to protect your credit cards

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Can passive RFID protection wallets that encase your credit cards with metal truly protect your cards from RFID skimming, or is active jamming a better solution?

Armourcard is an Australian company founded in 2012, and developed after its founders realised today’s ‘tap and go’ style credit and debit cards, as well as contactless technology in our passports could be intercepted by anyone with an RFID reader or even an NFC equipped smartphone.

The data the RFID chip in your cards and passport isn’t encrypted or protected when it is queried by the relevant reader, so if a criminal is using an enhanced reader to capture details from cards in a crowd right out of people’s pockets or purses, how do you protect against that?

Traditional protective measures include RFID protection wallets or even simply wrapping your credit cards in aluminium in the hope that this passively blocks readers from picking up the information from your card.

However, stronger readers with more powerful scanning can be used to blast through passive defences.

So, realising this, Armourcard’s founders wondered if the RFID frequency could be actively jammed, so that all of the RFID/paywave/paypass/tap and go style cards in your wallet could be protected.

Well, that’s what Armourcard has achieved with its technology, which is now patented.

Armourcard is the first active security measure in the marketplace, electronically jamming the 13.56MHz frequency credit cards and ePassports communicate over.

When I heard about this technology, I was impressed and wanted to find out more, so I invited one of Armourcard’s Directors, Tyler Harris, to tell me all about it.

I asked Tyler how it works, how he and his co-founder came to think of it and plenty more, which you’ll see embedded at the end of this article.

But that wasn’t the first time I heard Tyler explain how the technology worked. I had previously invited Tyler to be the second speaker at the Sydney PC User Group’s February Main Meeting, where he explained to the group (of which I am a member) exactly how the card worked.

You can read the report of that meeting here.

Armourcard is now sold in JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Tech2Go and Vodafone stores, at a price of $59.95, so if you want to buy an Armourcard head to your national retailer of choice and look at the check-out counter for Armourcard.

Armourcard also sells internationally, and is having great success in the US against all those passive ‘protective wallet’ solutions that are akin to hoping pre-applied bandaids will protect you from a bullet when what you really need is a kevlar shield - or better still, some kind of active bullet protection mechanism, which Armourcard is the digital equivalent thereof.

Here’s the video interview with Armourcard’s Tyler Harris!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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