Homeland Security Technology to Protect Data in Credit Cards

Aug. 15, 2006
If our passports are now safe, who's protecting the 'smart cards' in your wallet?

ANAHEIM HILLS, Calif., Aug. 14 -- California-based Kena Kai today announced their new line of DataSafe Wallets for men and women which utilizes radio-frequency (RF) shielding material to protect the millions of credit cards that feature the new Contactless Smart Card Technology.

"According to the May 2005 Nilson Report, there should be 15 to 20 million Visa and MasterCard contactless chip cards in the market by the end of 2006, and this does not take into consideration the millions of American Express contactless cards," offered Geb Masterson, president of Kena Kai. "That's a lot of cards - and a lot of potential personal data - that could use a little extra protection."

The new DataSafe Wallet line will include bi-folds, tri-folds, credit card wallets, women's wallets, and passport holders in full-grain Italian leather. Each style will incorporate a patent-pending design of RF shielding material that will block any attempt to access the credit card's Smart Card chips. This lightweight, metal infused fabric material was originally developed for NASA to protect satellites from harmful radio waves.

The wallets are designed to complement the inherent security and encryption of the newer generation Contactless Payment Cards. "With all the security measures that are built into today's Contactless Smart Card Technology though, you have to wonder 'why did the U.S. State Department add in RF shielding to their recently announced E-passports?'" added Masterson.

According to the Smart Card Alliance, a leading industry association, they supported the State Department's move to add RF shielding to the E-passports to address concerns about 'skimming' of personal data while in use. By adding the shielding into the E-passport's cover it eliminates the opportunity for skimming while the document is closed.

Unlike passports though, credit cards do not have covers and therefore the natural accessory for these new cards is a wallet with RF shielding built in. The DataSafe Wallets use the same technology as the E-passports, sandwiching the Contactless Payment Cards between multiple layers of shielding material.

The DataSafe Wallets will begin shipping September 30th and will retail for $40-$120.