Using Privacy Swag While Traveling
  • 24 Jan 2024
  • 3 Minutes to read
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Using Privacy Swag While Traveling

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Article summary

Camera Covers

Camera covers are great for daily use, not just travel. The purpose of a camera cover is simple. By placing a camera cover over your device’s (i.e. phone, tablet, computer) camera lens you render the camera useless and protect your privacy and security at the same time.
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Cameras on your devices allow for easy communication with family, friends and business associates, however those same cameras can become compromised and used by bad actors for nefarious purposes like spying on you and recording sights and sounds. They can then use this to blackmail or harass and stalk their intended target(s).

It’s not always easy to detect that your camera has been taken over either. That’s why placing a camera cover that’s easily removable on your devices is a great idea. It also helps in those rare instances where you are hopping into a Zoom (or web conference) meeting and you may not be ready for the camera, but your Zoom (or other remote conferencing software) connects anyway and now you’re on display. Had a camera cover been residing over your lens, this would have been your saving grace.

We like the fabric reusable camera covers because they work well with all devices. Certain plastic or metal camera covers have ruined Apple laptop computers when users try to close the lids.

USB Data Blockers

USB Data Blockers don’t get the recognition or media presence they deserve. A lot of individuals don’t know they exist or how they can be used. The two most common use-cases we relay to clients are for the charging stations at airports and wall outlets at hotels.
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A USB cord has two sets of prongs. One set allows for data to be exchanged, while the other set allows for an electric charge to the device. Unfortunately, with most good and useful ideas (like charging kiosks and USB wall outlets) bad actors will figure out a way to use them for bad. In this use-case in particular, they will compromise those endpoints so when you go to plug in your USB cord directly into the kiosk or wall outlet, while your device is being charged, the bad actor is pulling data from your device (or downloading malware to it).

By inserting the USB Data Blocker into the kiosk or wall outlet first and then plugging your USB cord into the data blocker, the data exchange component is blocked and you can securely charge your device without worry of a compromise.

RFID Passport Protectors

RFID stands for radio frequency identification. It is a form of wireless communication that uses electromagnetic fields to uniquely identify an object as well as transfer data. Since late 2007, all US passports come embedded with an RFID chip that is meant to deter fraud and enhance security. The chip contains essentially the same information that is printed in your passport including a digital photo of your passport photo.
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Using RFID scanning technology, it is possible for bad actors to remotely pull information from your passport without ever having physical access. All they need to do is be in relative close proximity and face their scanner towards the location of your passport (whether it's in a bag or pants/jacket pocket). In high populated tourist areas, where lots of people congregate together, and come and go, an attack like this is not uncommon to occur.

Hence why it’s a good idea to use a RFID Passport protector. Enclosing your passport with an RFID protector will block those scan attempts. RFID Protectors can come in different forms. You always want one that is two sided (like a book cover, case, or sleeve). There are RFID protectors sold on Amazon and other platforms that look like credit cards or badges. Those will only protect one side of the passport.

RFID Credit Card Protectors

In continuation of the above, credit cards also come with RFID chips. A similar attack and siphoning of credit card data can happen.
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We don’t tend to see it occur in your “every-day” life, so we don’t say you must secure all of your credit cards in an RFID protector all the time. Attacks mostly occur in those vacation spots and touristy areas where the bad actors can move around unnoticed amongst the crowd. Therefore, especially traveling abroad where you may not take your full wallet and instead a handle of cards, using an RFID protector case or sleeve is a good idea.

If you’d rather have more peace of mind on a daily basis, there are companies that make RFID wallets. You can always share your planned purchase over to the BlackCloak team to review and ensure it’s a quality product that will enhance your security.


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