The Green Sheet Online Edition
February 11, 2008 • Issue 08:02:01
A paper-thin RFID shield
N ew technology always brings new selling opportunities for ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs). With the advent of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology for contactless smart cards, a need has arisen for a product to protect and shield that technology from identity thieves.
The PaperTyger Defender Contactless Card Shield manufactured by global laminate and sealant maker Chase Corp. is a patent-pending, multi-ply laminated paper with an inner security barrier.
It provides protection from unwanted access to smart cards in transit in the mail delivery system and for contactless cards carried by individual consumers.
Unwanted access means someone with the proper RFID reader can download a consumers' private information off of smart cards from several feet away, even if the smart card is carried in a wallet or purse or even if the card rests in an envelope being sorted at a mail delivery center.
Defender shields the smart card chip by limiting the flow of radio frequency energy between the reader and the smart card or other RFID device. The conductive layer in the shield creates a barrier which disrupts communication between the unauthorized reader and the card.
PaperTyger is able to sandwich this conductive layer between two sheets of thin, custom paper. A card issued at a local health club, for example, has the cardmember's information laminated on the surface of the card. In contrast, PaperTyger laminates its technology inside the paper.
The resulting paper enhanced with Defender technology has a basis weight of 28 pounds (500 sheets of 17 inch by 22 inch paper), where a ream of standard copy paper has a basis weight of 20 pounds.
From the consumer's perspective, a sheet of Defender paper is virtually indistinguishable in weight and appearance from a sheet of regular copy paper.
The Defender shield is therefore lightweight, yet more resistant to tearing and water damage than average paper. The enhanced paper comes in rolls, which PaperTyger sells at wholesale to its customers, who then convert and customize the paper into products such as envelopes, buck slips (like advertising inserts in junk mail), and sleeves.
Like regular paper, the white, opaque surface of Defender shield paper can be printed upon using digital, laser and conventional printers for the display of instructions and advertising.
The bulk of PaperTyger's business is in the issuing of smart cards to consumers through the mail system. The U.S. government is also getting into the act, employing the shield to protect new, RFID-enabled enhanced drivers licenses (EDLs).
But PaperTyger reports that individual consumers are increasingly receiving Defender sleeves from card issuers to protect the smart cards carried on their persons.Defender meets Federal Information Processing Standards 201 requirements.
According to PaperTyger, four independent laboratories tested the shield and confirmed Defender's effectiveness in both the high frequency 13.56 megahertz - used for personal identity verification credentials, common access cards and contactless payment cards - and ultra high frequency 860 to 980 megahertz range, employed for EDLs, state identification cards and people access security service cards.
New applications on the horizon for Defender involve the health care and hospitality industries, as well as the prepaid market. Health care smart cards, or electronic medical records, will contain personal medical information to be accessed in the emergency room or at the health care provider's POS terminal.
Hotels will be implementing contactless room keys to replace mag stripe cards that often need to be reprogrammed at the front desk. And card issuers are envisioning RFID-enabled prepaid cards such as gift cards - a booming prepaid sector.
PaperTyger does not currently sell Defender shields directly to the public. It is working with a U.K. company, however, to have shields integrated directly into the design of purses and wallets.
ISOs and MLSs should consult their bank acquirers regarding how to sell Defender shields as a value added service.
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