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We live in an era where we put a lot of our trust in electronic and wireless devices. The convenience of, for example, keyless car opening and starting is something that we all welcome, as are credit and debit cards with contactless capability, mobile phones and many other items that we use on a daily basis without thinking. Yet, we all know the dangers that come with such devices. Theft of keyless cars is becoming widely reported and people often find their credit card has been ‘cloned’ without their knowledge.
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We use wireless communication all the time and in various forms. Most of these, such as your remote car keys, use Radio Frequency (RF) systems. Our mobile phones are a source of information for unscrupulous others who, if they know how, can find out where we are via GPS, or can tap into our Bluetooth communications. Indeed, if you can think of a day when you haven’t used some form of RF communication or Near Field Communication (NFC) – think contactless cards – we will be very surprised.
As we have said, the problem is that these systems can be quite easily compromised. No doubt you’ve had a friend or know someone who has been a victim of identity theft from their mobile phone, or had their card scanned and used, or perhaps had their car key codes copied and their vehicle stolen. This is the downside of radio frequency technology.
But, there is a way to combat it. If you haven’t heard of Faraday bags – named after the great electronics engineer Michael Faraday – you need to read on, as these cheap and effective devices could save you a great deal of trouble and money. Before we tell you more about three of the best on the market, here’s a little about what they are, how they work, and why you need one.
We took a look at three of the best-sellers on the market now, so let’s check them out.
The Three Best Selling Faraday Bags
As we mentioned above, it is a wonder why more people do not carry one of these handy little signal-blocking cases, such as this one by Monojoy, which you can buy for a few pounds as a pack of two. It could be that people have yet to fully understand how useful these items can be, or that they have yet to fall victim to having their key fob cloned.
In fact, there are two ways that thieves can get into your remote-locking car: one is to amplify the signal using a special device – this is often used to take prestigious cars from people’s driveways when the keys are inside – and the other is to get up close and use a device that clones the car’s unique signal. Both of these can be prevented if the keys are put into this protective bag when not in use.
The bag is made from 210denier nylon plus the protective material lining. It is nicely made and stitched strongly for best effect. This design is suitable for using not only for key fobs, but also for protecting your mobile phone and credit cards. Why do you need to protect your phone?
If it is set to certain settings, a phone can quite easily be hacked. This can lead to identity theft of not only your details, but those of your friends, family and colleagues. The bag will prevent against SMS signals, 3G and 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC, as well as all RFID frequencies. Note that this does mean while your phone is in the bag, it will not receive any calls or messages.
For credit cards, as it protects against NFC signals it means you cannot mistakenly make a payment – as has happened to some people – and that nobody can clone or use your card while it is within the pouch. Most people, however, will be using this for the car key fob, and rightly so. If you hang your keys on a hook by the door, or leave them on a table, you would not believe how easy it is for a criminal to amplify that signal, get in your car and drive away, all without you being aware.
This one measures 20cmx10cm, so is a decent size for whatever you want to protect, and you get two bags with change from a ten pound note, so is well worth checking out.
This bag also from the Monojoy brand so we can assume they have a foothold in this fast-growing market, is a large one so can fit more than your usual items. As with those above, it’s not an expensive item, and we can see these being very popular indeed in time, but you only get one for your money here. Nevertheless, it’s an attractive bag that is not immediately obvious as a protective pouch.
Remember what we said about thieves amplifying your car key signal? That signal is there all the time, it does not switch off, so you need to protect against it day and night. We mentioned how easy it would be to take a car from your drive; what about when you are at work? Park the car and go into the office; if there is a connection available, thieves can amplify that signal – or clone your key signal – and take your car while you work.
It’s the same with your credit and debit cards, that you might leave on a desk in your purse or wallet, or your mobile phone. We can’t stress how highly important it might be to keep your location private, and how easy it is to track you via your phone’s GPS. This bag will protect against that, and also stop criminals from quickly cloning your card while you walk by, and clearing out your bank account before you know it.
This one is made from an attractive outer material so can be carried as a pouch as it is quite stylish. It measures 21cm x 12cm and yet weighs only 77g when empty, so is not difficult to carry around. The inner lining is the latest protective material for protecting against all RF signals, plus Wi-Fi and GPS, and the outer is a very nice 610denier waterproof Oxford cloth.
It comes with a hanging point to, so you can simply drop your keys in when you get home, and nobody can detect your signal no matter how close they are. We recommend you take a look at this one if you have a number of credit cards or perhaps carry more than one mobile phone, as its extended size makes it more than capable.
As for the price, there is nothing in it; you may only get one of these while the above deal buys you a pair, but we like this one better for its higher quality and more attractive finish, and very handy size.
There is one area of interest we haven’t mentioned that these bags are useful for: protecting against someone cloning your keyless identity and access card at your place of work. More and more commercial and industrial buildings are using these – and some hi-tech housing units – so you should make sure you drop your ID card into a Faraday Bag, such as this one.
Reading this review, you might wonder whether all the RF technology is worth the bother, if it’s so easy to clone or replicate. The simple fact is the convenience is something we would miss now we have it, and after all, if you spend a few pounds on one of these bags, problem solved!
Well, not 100%, as there will always be moments when you need to use the items in the bag – take your card out to make a payment, or use your key fob to enter and start the car – and it is in these moments you are most vulnerable, so you should always be vigilant and look for anyone acting suspiciously. If you do see something or someone you are worried about, call the police, as it is better to be safe than sorry.
So, about this Faraday Bag; it’s a nice size, big enough to put one or more phones in and any other valuables such as car keys, documents, a passport or whatever, and it also comes with two separate card sleeves that can be used apart from the pouch – a nice tough that gives this one a little edge in our eyes – plus a separate key fob pouch. If you are going out and need just your cards, you can slip one or two in either little sleeve and not have to carry the whole bag with you, and likewise if you just need to take the car, and nothing else.
This design is also very stylish with a vintage leather finish, and it comes at a very sensible price considering the package. It guards against all RF signals, is very effective and – think of the time of year – would even make an excellent gift for Christmas. All in all, a great deal that we like a lot.
So, that’s out selection of the three best-sellers, but which one suits you? Let’s just check some of the features to consider before we see if we can come to a conclusion.
Important Features to Consider
We would normally present you with a lengthy list here, but we’re going to strip it back to a few sentences, as all three of these offer the same level of protection. A couple of things that you should know, however:
- Brands – these protect against all mobile phone brands, so whether you have an iPhone, Samsung, Huawei, HTC, LG or any other, they will work for you.
- Signals – these bags block all RF signals so that’s Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G, SMS, NFC, Bluetooth, GPS and more
- Cars – for remote entry key fobs, these are suitable for all brands, including Mercedes Benz, Hyundai, BMW, Audi, Jaguar, Vauxhall, Nissan, Ford and so on.
How It Works
To understand the principle behind a Faraday bag, which in short is a device that blocks electromagnetic fields, we have to travel back to the early part of the 19th century, or in fact, before then. Although the Faraday Cage – invented by the aforementioned Michael Faraday – came about in 1836, Benjamin Franklin had already observed the effects more than 70 years earlier, but had done no more with it.
Basically, Faraday – who was clearly rather clever – noticed an effect in electrical conductors, and replicated it with an experiment. He lined a room with metal foil and applied an external electrical charge to it. He then demonstrated there was not electrical charge inside the room – only externally. Thus, the Faraday Cage was born.
This is, of course, a simplistic model, but should give you the basic idea. Faraday Cages can be found in many everyday instances – cars and aircraft fuselages are effectively Faraday Cages, as are lifts, and there is a small one in your microwave oven.
So, where does the Faraday Bag come into this? In effect, it’s a very small Faraday Cage; the bag is made from a metallic material that is designed to repel electromagnetic forces. This means that when it is in the bag, nobody can pass a device over your phone that may wipe it clean or steal your info; your car keys and credit cards cannot be cloned, and so on. Why don’t we all have one as a matter of routine? It’s a good question, but suffice to say they are fast become a must-have item.
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Let’s Wrap It Up!
Being absolutely honest, these Faraday bags are among the most useful items you will ever purchase in terms of security provided, and they are very good value for money. There is no doubt that theft of remote cars is on the increase, and that more sophisticated methods of credit card cloning and phone hacking are appearing all the time, yet it is so simple to use one of these bags and make all efforts while the items are protected useless.
Is there one we prefer? Of the three, the final one – from Sicuro – wins for us on a few counts: it may be marginally more expensive than the other two, but you get a pair of protective card sleeves and a key fob pouch in addition to the main bag itself, so there’s the added convenience, plus it is well made a nicely finished in black leather in a unisex design.
Make your life easier by buying yourself one of these – the peace of mind is worth the small outlay – or give one as a gift this Christmas, there are few more useful items around at the price.