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Shopping the Black Friday sales safely

UK NACE has pulled together a Black Friday and Cyber Monday wish list this year to inspire you to enjoy some of their favourite gadgets. With all those enticing deals about to commence, we want to remind you how you can keep your information and data safe when purchasing tech. What might seem like value for money, unfortunately might not work out to be quite the deal you thought. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

If you work in any security-related industry or perhaps travel frequently, a security gadget which protects your bank accounts is going to be pretty high up there on your wish list. An RFID wallet (radio-frequency identification) keeps your debit and credit cards safe. It prevents the digital data encoded in the chip in your credit or debit card being read by a scanner, such as a chip and pin machine via radio waves.

On the go – digital pickpockets

The problem is RFID scanners can capture data up to 20 feet away. You don’t need to be within direct line-of-sight for the data to be captured. While the risk may be low, digital pickpockets (known as ‘skimmers’) don’t have to be anywhere near you to steal your data. They just need to have a scanner with a strong directional antenna to hand.

RFID wallets block the electromagnetic fields generated by scanners from reaching your RFID enabled cards – the ones which allow you to tap on the card reader –with either carbon fibre or metal layers. Therefore, they are a must-have when it comes to protecting not only your credit and debit cards but even your passport.

Our tech-savvy teams are frequent travellers and often fly long haul to remote locations. The travel bag of choice this year is a SMART bag with an inbuilt USB charging port, made with water resistant fabric and large enough to house a 15-inch laptop. Our safety-conscious experts always look out for a bag with a hidden rear pocket to keep your valuables safe against your back.

For all you jet-setters out there, UK NACE also highly recommends a good power bank with multiple outputs, so you can charge several devices at once. An essential gadget for those who are always on the go.

No packing list is complete without a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. New models this year offer future-proof wireless charging, the new USB-C connector and next level performance for when (unlike your tech) you need to switch off.

Gadgets at home

Back at home, when they’re not keeping our nation’s assets and people safe from espionage, UK NACE, like many of us, want to make life a little easier with some SMART technology.

These days gadgets in our homes offer so much convenience, a SMART speaker for example, is a little like having your own personal butler, and extra brain. These small devices sit quietly listening for their activation keyword, before they send any information to the cloud. There is a risk that what you’re saying could be misinterpreted as their “wake word”. This might cause them to inadvertently start recording your conversation.

Unless you opt out in the privacy settings, these could also be listened to by real people for training purposes. So as helpful as they are, it’s best not to put one where you might be saying anything confidential or sensitive.

Whatever new gadget you find this year, make sure you buy from a reputable company so as not to fall victim to online scammers and hackers.

Keeping your information safe and secure

Goods that don’t come from a reputable company could be at risk of bugs, vicious malware, and poor quality software that may not be robust enough to cope with any unexpected or incorrect input.

Unauthorized goods may not have been through the comprehensive security process that legitimate companies will put their products through, leaving them open to vulnerabilities. You may not be in a position to get your money back if you unwittingly buy poor quality or even fakes, but even worse, your personal information could be compromised.

Many of us are tightening our belts this year, so let’s make sure that our hard-earned cash is spent wisely and our personal details remain safe.

Further links


    UK NACE is the UK’s national authority in protecting technical security, providing guidance and operational support to the UK government and Friendly Foreign Governments.

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