Solutions such as contactless payment cards and e-passports continue to supply us with increased levels of convenience. On the flip side, however, they also offer hackers more opportunities to get hold of our personal information.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) attacks are on the increase and you could easily become a victim while you’re walking through town. RFIDs essentially allow digital pickpocketing and hackers target devices stored with RFID chips in order to wirelessly steal private data.
That is, of course, unless you’re wearing the right trousers. Online clothing brand Betabrand have teamed up with anti-virus company Norton to create a pair of jeans that can protect you from the perils of RFID theft.
Crime Fighting Jeans
The jeans’ pockets are lined with a silver-based material that actively blocks any RFID frequencies. Complete with two protected pockets, you’re free to frolic about town (in a similar fashion to those in the video below) safe in the knowledge your credit card information is unreachable to digital criminals.
Retailing at $151 (£96), Betabrand have also designed a rather fetching blazer that performs the same function. Part with $198 (£127) and you can carry your anti-RFID tech around in your jacket as well as your jeans. Originally run as a Kickstarter-style campaign, Betabrand have already exceeded their funding target. As a result, we expect to see the crime prevention clothing hit stores in February next year.
Shielding yourself from RFID with specially designed clothing and accessories is nothing new, but Betabrand’s fortified trousers are a new spin on an emerging idea. RFID-protected wallets and mobile phone cases are now commonplace. The SilentPocket is one example. Built with the RFID-blocking material seen in the Betabrand jeans, the SilentPocket is a generously-sized pouch for your bank cards and/or mobile phone.
The cyber crime-busting materials are now being taken up by our own crime fighting services. The police have begun rolling out Disklab-developed Faraday bags, with built in RIFD-blocking tech. Used to secure seized mobile phones that hold potentially sensitive evidence, the Faraday bags are also being used by military and intelligence services to ensure unwanted applications are not triggered remotely.
RFID technology is all around us. The market itself is set to surpass $20 billion before the end of the year, and that’s due to its versatile application. Barely bigger than a grain of rice, an RFID chip can be found tracking anything from a courier van or your own pet dog.
While these applications take advantage of RFID’s tracking capabilities, the clothing above intends to prevent rather more personal data being remotely accessed. The scope for hackers to collect your credit or debit card information, or even your identity, is massive.
Fashion Statement, Paranoia or Tech Breakthrough?
So, will you be shielding yourself from the ever-evolving world of digital crime? Are these jeans the answer or is it a fashion statement intended to sell some branded jeans?
Maybe we should all just go back a century, stuff our life savings down the back of the sofa and keep a cricket bat by our side at night. Just like grandad used to do.
Let us know your views.
For some even more bizarre wearable tech, check out the article below.