No doubt the Sony hack and black mail of its employees, vendors and contractors is giant news and the talk of the country. It's easy for this story to become a diversion -- and that's what electronic pickpockets hope for as they steal our personally identifiable information from smart credit and debit cards, passports and the like that have RFID (radio-frequency identification).

 

Added protection built into our pockets to protect us from electronic pickpockets is on the way, thanks to computer security giant Symantec and its San Francisco-based partner Betabrand. But would you purchase "tech" clothing that could protect you from becoming a victim of electronic pick pocket identity theft?

Hold your answer to that question because I need to talk first about RFID technology.

I have been writing about the risks with RFID technology for years as it is a gateway for ID-theft criminals.

Simply stated, an RFID credit/debit card is a standard credit/debit card or a new passport that has in it a transmitting radio frequency microprocessor. To know whether your card or passport has RFID look for a symbol of four wavy lines on the front or back of your card.

RFID card holders like you or I become victims as the cybercriminals walk next to us at the airport, restaurant, retail store, sporting and other public events and then wirelessly tap into that microprocessor and steal our financial card or passport data.

This form of ID theft has low cost access. ID-theft criminals often use a $50 RFID frequency reader and $300 card magnetizing device to steal your information and commit debit/credit card fraud. This also means your smart card can be read by an RFID-enabled point of sale terminal as you pay-at-the-pump or purchase at your local grocery market.

Up until now, prevention from electronic pickpockets has included digital wallets, cases and sleeves that make use of RFID blocking technology.

Betabrand and Symantec developed a "special RFID blocking fabric lining" to manufacture "RFID-blocking jeans and jackets."

That's right, a clothes manufacturer has entered the cybersecurity business to fight cybercrime by using Symantec Norton's RFID technology and line the pockets of their clothes with RFID- blocking fabric to prevent criminals from using RFID readers from stealing your personal information.

We credit-card companies like Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover say that RFID credit/debit cards are safe via a unique code being used for each individual transaction and through encryption, you still need to be aware that criminals often beat the security. Just ask Sony.

Mark's most important: Whether new blue jeans with protective pockets or using current protective options for smart card technology, be proactive in protecting yourself from electronic pickpockets.

 

Mark Pribish is vice president and ID-theft practice leader at Merchants Information Solutions Inc., a national ID-theft and background-screening provider based in Phoenix. Reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This article was originally published on AZcentral.com and republished with the author's permission.

 

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