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Protecting card chips

Old 06-08-12, 06:51 AM
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Protecting card chips

I have two of those Visa cards with new-tech chips on them. The kind with which I can pay for up to $100 worth of merchandise simply by swiping the card past a reader and walking off.

Evidently, however, this new level of "convenience" also has made it easier for crooks to wander around with readers, stealing details from the cards without the cardholder even knowing what was happening. Put aside the fact the readers apparently cost over $100,000, it wouldn't take too many account clean-outs to pay for one.

The increased use of the chips in passports also means the same readers apparently can be used to steal identities.

I've look into this, and apparently there are three measures that can be taken to protect a card from being read.

1. Buy a new wallet that has a protective barrier built into it. The cost, however, is enough to invoke sticker shock!

2. Place two cards with the chips so they face each other in the pocket of your wallet. It apparently reduces the ability of the reader to intercept the information. It's not perfect by any means, but better than nothing, and also reduces a chance of the magnetic strips from rubbing against each other and corrupting the information on them.

3. Use aluminium foil to wrap your card and passport in.

The third option seems like a simple solution. But the information I read was a bit light on how thick the foil should be. I suspect that the thickness used in pie or roast dishes at the supermarket should suffice. I'll check back in here on how I go about this.

But I thought it might be a worthwhile heads-up for people who are travelling with chipped items on them.
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Old 06-08-12, 07:09 AM
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I am sooo trying to come up with a good "tinfoil on the crazy guys head" joke connected to bike touring, but alas, have failed....

tks for the headsup on this new bit of skullduggery vis-a-vis new cards, had no idea that could happen.
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Old 06-08-12, 07:32 AM
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IIRC this is the RFID technology. Supposedly the cards are encrypted and you have not only the reader but some pretty serious software to hack into an individual card. I not a security expert or even an IT person. However this discussion came up at one our company Corporate Risk meetings. According to our Corp Risk manager and our IT guy you stand a better chance of the bank, clearing house or some other third party being hacked and your information exposed than you do having your chip read. However they do make Aluminum Wallets that supposedly will take care of the issue. Personally I am more worried about total wallet theft than I am rogue RFID readers.

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Old 06-08-12, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Rowan
I have two of those Visa cards with new-tech chips on them. The kind with which I can pay for up to $100 worth of merchandise simply by swiping the card past a reader and walking off.

Evidently, however, this new level of "convenience" also has made it easier for crooks to wander around with readers, stealing details from the cards without the cardholder even knowing what was happening. Put aside the fact the readers apparently cost over $100,000, it wouldn't take too many account clean-outs to pay for one.

The increased use of the chips in passports also means the same readers apparently can be used to steal identities.

I've look into this, and apparently there are three measures that can be taken to protect a card from being read.

1. Buy a new wallet that has a protective barrier built into it. The cost, however, is enough to invoke sticker shock!

2. Place two cards with the chips so they face each other in the pocket of your wallet. It apparently reduces the ability of the reader to intercept the information. It's not perfect by any means, but better than nothing, and also reduces a chance of the magnetic strips from rubbing against each other and corrupting the information on them.

3. Use aluminium foil to wrap your card and passport in.

The third option seems like a simple solution. But the information I read was a bit light on how thick the foil should be. I suspect that the thickness used in pie or roast dishes at the supermarket should suffice. I'll check back in here on how I go about this.

But I thought it might be a worthwhile heads-up for people who are travelling with chipped items on them.
You can buy a pack of those foil embedded card sleeve for like $11 Canadian last time I checked from my local Asian computer shop. It's the same sleeve used to protect the Nexus pass from being scanned. I simply reuse my Nexus pass sleeve together with my chip credit card. Simple.

As far as compromising security. It goes like this. How much does it take to protect the card being read. As I know it, it doesn't cost more than 2 cups of Starbucks coffee.
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Old 06-08-12, 07:55 AM
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The cyber criminals always seem to be a few steps ahead of the industry. Remember, Visa was hacked not so long ago. So that means the reality of infiltration of the chip is closer than some might think.
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Old 06-08-12, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Rowan
The cyber criminals always seem to be a few steps ahead of the industry. Remember, Visa was hacked not so long ago. So that means the reality of infiltration of the chip is closer than some might think.
I have had to replace 6 cards in the past year due to hacking at either clearing house or retail level. In two of the cases the retailers were good sized national chains, it is getting old. I would go back to cash, but that has it's own set of issues.

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Old 06-08-12, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by djb
I am sooo trying to come up with a good "tinfoil on the crazy guys head" joke connected to bike touring, but alas, have failed....

tks for the headsup on this new bit of skullduggery vis-a-vis new cards, had no idea that could happen.

uh.....just slip 'em into your tinfoil underpants?
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Old 06-08-12, 09:18 AM
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Crinkle crinkle
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Old 06-08-12, 09:49 AM
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the aluminum wallet @ wallyworl $10
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Old 06-08-12, 10:52 AM
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If you don't like RFIDs in your credit cards do option 4. Don't activate the card and call your credit card company requesting an RFID free card. Citibank (USA) tried to force one upon me but I just requested one without one and got it.

BTW, bike touring is probably not very prone to RFID exploits. Your fast moving and hopefully keep distance from others.

Last edited by cbike; 06-08-12 at 10:56 AM.
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Old 06-08-12, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by cbike
BTW, bike touring is probably not very prone to RFID exploits. Your fast moving and hopefully keep distance from others.
but think of the possibilities/advantages of wrapping an emergency foil blanket around oneself whilst riding, heat from direct sunlight would be greatly reduced. In-tunnel reflectivity would also be greatly enhanced as well.
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Old 06-08-12, 01:20 PM
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Probably not the best wallets out there, but if you're just looking for a RFID blocking wallet there are a few here.

https://www.menswallet.com/rfid-blocking-wallets.html
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Old 06-08-12, 04:46 PM
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We're not in North America, so Wallyworld is out. And these new protected wallets are relatively new here, as are the chipped cards. Even on eBay, they aren't that common a listing.

Unfortunately, unchipped cards are not an option for us with a round-the-world trip coming up. I believe our banks won't issue them anymore, and from my research, there is an indication that you generally have to have a chipped card in Europe and other places these days to do retail transactions.

I've had a new wallet in the cupboard for several years to replace the one that has just worn out. I will go with the pie plate idea, I think -- we eat pie a bit (as all good cyclists do! ), so making up a couple of pouches won't cost anything.
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Old 06-08-12, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Rowan
Evidently, however, this new level of "convenience" also has made it easier for crooks to wander around with readers, stealing details from the cards without the cardholder even knowing what was happening. Put aside the fact the readers apparently cost over $100,000, it wouldn't take too many account clean-outs to pay for one.
Fraud is covered by the credit card company. Thats why you pay the stupidly high interest fees.

Its also why they keep putting stops on my card when I spend more than 1000$ in one pop overseas.
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Old 06-09-12, 04:41 AM
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I don't worry about those types of cards, I think it unlikely that anyone will be walking along with a card reader that is close enough to my wallet to read the data. When I travel to far reaches of the globe, my credit cards are usually in my ankle pocket (I have some older Exofficio pants with a pocket at ankle height) or in a zippered shirt pocket.

In a few years we should be getting EMV cards in the USA like they use in Europe. Those cards have electrical contacts on the front of the card so it is pretty easy to see if a card is one of those. At this time it is almost impossible to find a bank in the USA that will issue those cards without a fee. They are supposed to be much more theft resistant than the typical type of card that has a magnetic stripe on it.
https://travel.nytimes.com/2012/06/10...-trotters.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMV

When traveling to areas where I am more concerned about pick pockets or muggers, I carry a "fake" wallet. I only have a minimal amount of cash for immediate needs in the wallet, a couple credit cards that are (1) expired and (2) have account numbers that are no longer used on my current cards. The expired cards are just there so that it appears to be my regular wallet at a quick glance. If I need to transfer cash from a different pocket to that fake wallet, I look for a rest room.

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Old 06-09-12, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by znomit
Fraud is covered by the credit card company. Thats why you pay the stupidly high interest fees.

Its also why they keep putting stops on my card when I spend more than 1000$ in one pop overseas.
It's not so much the financial loss, but the identity theft that could be at issue here, and your bank or CC provider ain't going to help you there.
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Old 06-09-12, 07:46 AM
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I don't see a reason to worry about this specific issue. If someone's going to get your credit card, in most cases it's going to be something low-tech like stealing your whole wallet, or double-swiping at the point of sale.

If you're really nervous about it, get a service like IdentityGuard and keep an eye on your accounts.
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Old 06-09-12, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Rowan
....Put aside the fact the readers apparently cost over $100,000, it wouldn't take too many account clean-outs to pay for one. ....
Apparently they are available for much, much, much less than that. A security expert on a recent Anderson Cooper show said they could be found online for $100, and the article at the link below says you can get them for $30.
https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-frau...pocketing.html

Originally Posted by cbike
If you don't like RFIDs in your credit cards do option 4. Don't activate the card and call your credit card company requesting an RFID free card. Citibank (USA) tried to force one upon me but I just requested one without one and got it.

BTW, bike touring is probably not very prone to RFID exploits. Your fast moving and hopefully keep distance from others.
Unfortunately not activating a card isn't enough to protect you from credit card fraud. I found this out the hard way. I had ordered a card but after it arrived decided to hold off activating it. I never carried the card in public at all. Just left it at home. A few months later a charge showed up for someone's NRA membership fee 2000 miles away. The card company eventually removed the charge, but only after the inconvenience of several phone calls and having to fill out and mail in a fraud form. After that experience I canceled the card, and only carry one credit card now for simplicity's sake.

Thinking about how the new card arrived in the mail, I don't remember there being any special kind of envelope or anything. Maybe someone at the Post Office had one of those scanners? Seems like it would be pretty easy for a dishonest postal worker to recognize new cards being mailed out to consumers and scan them before the consumer even receives them.

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Old 06-09-12, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by simplygib
Unfortunately not activating a card isn't enough to protect you from credit card fraud. I found this out the hard way. I had ordered a card but after it arrived decided to hold off activating it. I never carried the card in public at all. Just left it at home. A few months later a charge showed up for someone's NRA membership fee 2000 miles away. The card company eventually removed the charge, but only after the inconvenience of several phone calls and having to fill out and mail in a fraud form. After that experience I canceled the card, and only carry one credit card now for simplicity's sake.
Someone got my credit card number and charged something, the bank thought it was fraudulent and shut it down. The bank mailed me a new card, but before they had even made the card and mailed it, it had already been used again, fraudulently, and shut down again. The thief had set up an on-line account with the credit card issuer and the thief had the card number before the card was even made.
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Old 06-09-12, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
I don't see a reason to worry about this specific issue. If someone's going to get your credit card, in most cases it's going to be something low-tech like stealing your whole wallet, or double-swiping at the point of sale.

If you're really nervous about it, get a service like IdentityGuard and keep an eye on your accounts.
The issue for us is that we are travelling overseas for eight months. We won't have a home address for our card company to send to us replacement cards. I am seeking protection so that we don't have that considerable inconvenience.

As it is, we are dealing with three or four different accounts all from different banking institutions to try to spread the risk. Ameliorating the risk further with identity and account protection through something really simple like an aluminium pouch in the wallet seems to make sense to me, if not others.
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Old 06-09-12, 04:29 PM
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Hi Rowan, here is a possible solution, after reading this thread I have bought some for myself.
https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/260987073...#ht_1314wt_797

Hope this helps.
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Old 06-10-12, 06:27 AM
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There's a much easier solution- call the CC company and ask them for a chipless card. No charge, be there in a few days. I've never been to a place that I was in such a hurry that I didn't have time to physically swipe the card.
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Old 06-10-12, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Dellphinus
There's a much easier solution- call the CC company and ask them for a chipless card. No charge, be there in a few days. I've never been to a place that I was in such a hurry that I didn't have time to physically swipe the card.

Chipless cards will not be accepted across the counter at numerous businesses in Europe (supermarkets especially) I discovered this whilst touring there in 2010. So unfortunately not an option in this case.
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Old 06-10-12, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Rowan
The issue for us is that we are travelling overseas for eight months. We won't have a home address for our card company to send to us replacement cards.
I don't see how wrapping your wallet in aluminum foil is going to offer that much protection. If someone is going to zap your card, it's 10x more likely to happen at a store right in front of you, when you aren't watching (e.g. the cashier double-swipes).

You can also pretty much walk into an Amex location and get a replacement card right overnight. MC and Visa offer similar levels of service. You should also have traveler's checks (as I'm sure you know).

Plus if you're traveling for an extended period, a service like Identity Guard is even more important, since they will email you if people do things like run credit checks or set up a new credit card in your name.
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Old 06-10-12, 04:05 PM
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Was X-ray resistant foil bags for film, demise of 35mm film for mass markets,
may mean those are cheap, now.. or long gone ..
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