Pause for a second and think how many times you’ve interacted with your devices today. From the moment your mobile phone alarm woke you up this morning, up until reading this article, you’ve probably interfaced with devices, little and large, seen and unseen, dozens of times.
Now, think of that moment of disconnection you feel when you misplace your mobile phone. Extend that sense of disconnection across all the devices in the span of a city block, or city, or even your state. Imagine a world where the "Power ON" switch stops working. On Everything.
“The Day The Devices Stopped Working” is a nightmare scenario. But far from being a dystopian fantasy, it’s an increasing probability in uncertain times of conflict, dissolution and institutional breakdown.
From global cataclysms and conflict knocking out entire power grids, to hackers and thieves trying to get into your digital information, to the slow burn of harmful electromagnetic radiation wiping out the electronic storage of your most precious photos and documents stored on your hard disk; there’s only one surefire scientific way to protect against this.
That way is called Faraday shielding and it's a principle that is used by law enforcement, businesses and, as 5G networks become a standard for cell signals, more people are adopting this protection as the norm.
HOW DOES FARADAY SHIELDING PROTECT ELECTRONICS?
A Faraday cage, Faraday bag, or a Faraday case protects electronics from static electric fields.
It makes use of a metal screen that conducts electricity away from the contents they protect. Much like a plane being hit by lightning protects the passengers and the vital electronic systems from interruption, a Faraday shielding protects the contents from damage. It keeps the damaging charge on the outside and conducts it away from the vital instruments and valuable lives inside.
Faraday shielding protects devices from forces as large as the damaging energy waves of EMP bombs and lightning strikes, right down to subtle and persistent undesired signal interference such as electromagnetic radiation.
Faraday shielding also has an inverse effect - isolating and blocking harmful electromagnetic threats of something that it contains from any outside electronics.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Metal objects are conductors that are surrounded by negatively charged particles called electrons. Under normal circumstances, the metal object has the same number of positive and negative particles.
When an electrically charged object is close to the conductor, these positive and negative particles separate. Electrons with the opposite charge of that object are drawn to it, while electrons with the same charge move away from it.
This is called electrostatic induction, and it results in the positive and negative particles on opposite sides of the conductor. It causes the field of the outside object’s charge to be neutralized. The opposing electric field inside of the conductor creates a bubble of insulation, shielding the interior of the conductor from radio waves, microwaves, and static electricity charges.
The principle is universal, the scientific evidence is undeniable, and the application is becoming more relevant in today's interconnected electronic world. The only remaining question is what form of shielding works best for your needs.
WHAT IS A FARADAY CAGE?
At its most simple, a Faraday cage is a metal cage of any size that will block external electric fields from reaching the space within the cage. The more conducive the metal, the more effective the cage. Aluminum, copper, or even chicken wire will do the job. If you need to store something bulky that you don’t really move around a lot, a Faraday cage for storage in your garage or basement is a good solution.
This is a sturdy solution that is long-lasting.
Effective shielding is dependent on the construction of the cage. In the same way that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so too a Faraday cage is only as effective as its structural integrity. The size of the holes in a mesh design, for example, can lead to a variance of effectiveness depending on the type and intensity of interference that it is exposed to.
And let’s face it - there’s no point in constructing the perfect mesh that will protect even the most sensitive devices from a nuclear EMP attack if water from your roof leaks straight onto it.
Depending on the material of which it’s constructed, a poorly-built Faraday cage can rust, warp or break. It’s also not a very practical solution if you’re looking for portability for phones, laptops, storage devices and other day-to-day electronics.
FARADAY BAG: THE SOLUTION FOR PEOPLE ON THE MOVE?
What a Faraday cage lacks in portability, a Faraday bag certainly makes up for it. Faraday bags range in size and style from backpacks to duffel bags and everything in between.
The convenience of a Faraday bag versus a cage is portability. Faraday bags look as contemporary as any ordinary bag on the market, they look cool and come in various designs for a variety of purposes and devices. In fact, many of the most important journalistic scoops were accomplished with the help of Faraday bags.
Journalists and writers who wanted to record sources who were vulnerable to spying insulated their phones and recording devices in their specialized Faraday bags. That’s how the world knows the story of Edward Snowden because a good Faraday bag is able to block cellular signals, satellite frequencies, Bluetooth hacking and Wi-Fi frequencies.
Manufacturing standards vary, so although your devices may be insulated from the harm caused by electromagnetic radiation, there’s no guarantee that the Faraday bag of your choice is going to be waterproof. Or even shockproof.
A good Faraday cage is sturdy, but even the best Faraday bag transporting essential electronics in the real world is vulnerable to the shocks and bumps of collisions and fall damage. The lightness and flexibility of Faraday bags can work against it. Some, but not all Faraday bags are padded, and even some of the padded bags are not always up to scratch. It might as well just be an ordinary duffel bag.
Even if the contents of Faraday bags is protected from dangerous signals, a sharp knife is all it takes to get inside most bags, making it less than ideal if your bag is supposed to protect important devices.
SMALLER FARADAY BAGS FOR CELLPHONES, CREDIT CARD, ETC.
There is an increasing market for a pouch or a bag for cellphone protection from wireless signals that can compromise the security of your data. Cell phones are especially vulnerable to radio signals that can be used for asset tracking through geolocation pings. Electronic devices store valuable information such as credit card and bank details, emails, photos and data that, in the wrong hands, could exploit your vulnerabilities.
When hackers and criminals exploit radio signals to access your electronic devices, it doesn't only compromise you, it compromises all of your contacts, in your personal and digital network.
It's not only your data that can be stolen. Wireless keys becoming the norm for accessing places of work and our homes. Even our car keys are now devices that transmit a wireless signal. A Faraday pouch for protecting smaller electronic devices will become the security standard for all people, not just law enforcement or international spies. With 5G networks becoming more commonplace, we'll see increasing interdependence on devices within those networks.
The solution would be a bag for phone and small device security. A Faraday pouch is a solution for when you don't need duffel bag-sized protection. There are mini bags for your cell phones and other smaller portable essentials that require a comprehensive level of data and device protection.
When enclosed in these miniature Faraday bags, cell phones, passports, GPS units, transponders, two-way radios, keyfobs, smartwatches are completely protected from harmful EMF radiation, or remote exploits.
A Faraday bag, or pouch is often used by key strategic services, such as law enforcement and the military to protect against data theft, EMP protection, and to enhance operational security. Does it not make sense for ordinary citizens to also adopt this strategy to protect your data, credit cards, privacy and electronic devices from malicious wireless signals?
We think so.
And we haven't even gotten to the best protection available yet...
FARADAY CASE: FOR SERIOUS PROTECTION
A Faraday case provides the best of all worlds. It’s as sturdy as a Faraday cage and as portable as a Faraday bag but with none of the weaknesses that are present in both designs. You should be able to take your devices anywhere with complete peace of mind that your electronics are protected from the expected and the unexpected.
When you need complete environmental and RFI protection from a Faraday case, you’re looking for a few things.
A conducive exterior that creates the bubble of protection from radio frequency interference. The gold standard for this is the MIL-STD-464 - Electromagnetic Effects Requirements for Systems. Make sure you check the specs of your chosen Faraday shielding to see whether this is the standard that it's held to. If it’s not, your Faraday protection may be nothing more than a fancy cooler bag.
You’ll need comprehensive shielding from environmental factors like water, dust and the shock damage of collisions. Good Faraday protection should also be airtight to prevent the intrusion of corrosive gases or moisture that would damage delicate electronics.
A good Faraday case will not lose its shielding capability due to corrosion. Leaps in engineering have resulted in the development of materials that are as tough and hard-wearing as they are effective in the dispersion and neutralization of harmful electromagnetic forces.
At UK our Faraday Case is designed to thrive in hostile environments. Through a patented process that embeds nickel coating on the carbon fibers within the plastic casing, and extensive government agency level testing, our signal protection is as advanced as it gets.
For manual protection, our cases are as sturdy as it gets and can also be locked to keep prying hands (and prying signals) away from information sensitive devices.
Whether you choose a Faraday bag, a cage or a Faraday case, good Faraday protection will depend on your unique needs. A DIY Faraday cage may be the best option, and a fun project, for some. The convenience of Faraday bags may be perfect for a quick trip. For those serious about protection: a professional Faraday case offers the greatest level of security.