Privacy accessories for the secure and stylish

Privacy wearables and accessories for the secure – and stylish

There are no shortage of devices and technologies to keep government information and communications secure. From the use of strong, frequently changed passwords and two-factor authentication to biometrics, agencies have a suite of options to protect their users’ data.

And with the wakeup call from the Sony hack, people inside and outside of government are taking a harder look at extra protection for  their personal information from the devices they carry to the clothes on their backs. To answer the demand, vendors are ready with security solutions ranging from stylish privacy accessories to secure wearables and communications ecosystems.

In a collection at Macy’s, Royce Leather is offering a selection of accessories that integrates fingerprint technology, RFID blocking and GPS into its handbags, briefcases and wallets “to protect users most private possessions, said CEO Andrew Royce Bauer.

The Freedom Briefcase, which features “a slim, sleek silhouette, hand-milled hardware and Italian Saffiano leather,” uses what Royce calls “DNA-based fingerprint technology” to allow only a single user to access the bag.

The bag also uses RFID-blocking technology to thwart electronic identity theft, as do the company’s wallets, money clips and passport jackets. Privacy is further enhanced by blocking scanning devices that can read and store personal information from common contactless smart cards. A conductive layer provides a secure barrier that limits the flow of RF energy between the reader and the smart card or other RFID device.

Royce also offers GPS tracking for those who can never find their wallets.  A slim tracker inside the wallet uses a Bluetooth connection to iOS and Android devices within 100 feet of the wallet. “The greatest gift the Royce Leather Freedom Wallet offers is the security of not losing what you already have,” Bauer said.

Wait there’s more: the iWallet, not the iOS app, but a metal wallet case that protects an owner’s cash and credit cards with “space-age materials and biometric security.”

iWallet, available at Neiman Marcus, features a lock with a touch sensor that opens only with the owner's fingerprint and RFID shielding to protect from malicious scanning devices. It also comes with a Bluetooth "leash" that connects to a smartphone app and sounds an alarm when the iWallet and the owner’s phone become separated by about 15 feet.

For many people, their phone is just as important as their wallet. Even if it’s password protected, it’s still scanning for a Wi-Fi network, the GPS is active and the camera lens is uncovered, making it vulnerable to hacking.

Security totes and wearables are not only for the business crowd or up-market shoppers. Jean wearers and more informal dressers can take comfort in READY Active Jeans and the Work-It Blazer from San Francisco-based clothing company Betabrand and anti-virus group Norton.

The apparel contains RFID-blocking fabric within the pockets’ lining designed to prevent hacking through signals emitted from e-passports and contactless payment card chips.

According to Betabrand, more than 10 million identities are digitally pick-pocketed every year, and 70 percent of all credit cards are vulnerable to such attacks by 2015.

For those interested in an extra layer of security and confidence, SilentPocket offers a leather case incorporating shielding technology that blocks all signals to and from any mobile device – that includes cellular, GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, RFID, and NFC in all frequencies. The company offers a variety of pouches for phones and tablets, as well as wallets and shield inserts for wallets.

A similar product is the OFF Pocket phone case that’s billed as a “privacy accessory” for mobile phones. It uses signal blocking technology to instantly disconnect a user’s phone from all wireless networks. According to Adam Harvey, OFF Pocket’s creator, it blocks Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, cellular, iBeacon, text and data connections – from all carriers in all countries.

Harvey is also the creator of Stealth Wear, a line of burqas, hoodies and hijabs that are made of reflective fabric designed to reduce the wearer’s thermal footprint, limiting exposure to aerial surveillance vehicles using heat-imaging cameras.

Finally, while the Apple and BlackBerry ecosystems are considered less vulnerable to hacks, those looking for an  ultra secure environment, might check Silent Circle

The company offers apps, encrypted calling plans and the Blackphone for individual and even government enterprise users. The phone uses the company’s PrivatOS, a custom Android operating system and comes with Silent Suite, a collection of pre-installed privacy apps that support secure calls, video chats, texts, file transfers and contact storage.

In the current threat environment and with holiday distractions upon them, the government tech crowd can never be too secure – or too stylish.

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