Carry a Cloaking Device for your Cell Phone anywhere you go

by October 19, 2010 10/19/10

NEMO Equipment has just released a fantastic new pouch called the EMFX-47 that acts as a cloaking device for your cell phone.

Designed to block cellular phone signals using a specialized conductive textile lining, the EMFX-47 can prevent your transmissions from being maliciously intercepted to track your location.

Let us provide you with a demo of how the pouch functions and some further information on how you can stay safe.

EMFX-47

NEMO EMFX-47 04As you may be able to tell from the name, the EMFX blocks your phone’s electromagnetic field, or the physical field created by any electrical charged object. This is important if you’re concerned about any of the Data Leaks we addressed in our recent series.

Why would you need to block these transmissions? For starters, there are numerous ways to intercept the signals emitted from your cell phone, particularly from Bluetooth. While Bluetooth is typically something that can be turned off, the signals emitted from your phone can only be disabled by removing the battery from your device. As many of you iPhone owners know, there’s no way to remove the iPhone’s battery for the end-user.

NEMO EMFX-47 05The EMFX-47 was designed especially for this reason, to provide that security not available to iPhone and other smart phone users. Simply insert your device, roll the top down and secure it with the velcro strap. The EMFX-47 can also be used to prevent interference with nearby sensitive electronic devices and is large enough to fit a Passport at a squeeze, which brings us to our next topic.

RFID

U.S. Passport SymbolIf you remember from our article on Obtaining a Duplicate Passport, all new US Passports AND Passport Cards contain RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips in them (denoted by the mark in the photo to the right). While the Department of State says there’s no personal information  written on the electronic chip itself. The chip does contain a unique number which identifies a stored record within secure government databases.

A protective RFID-blocking device like the EMFX-47 is recommended when carrying your passport. It essentially acts as a Faraday Cage to block acquisition like it does for your cell phone.

NEMO is also working on a device to specifically protect your RFID equipped Passport.

Specs

NEMO EMFX-47 02The EMFX-47 features a 60 dB shelding from 30 Mhz to 1 Ghz and can operate efficiently in temperatures between -22ËšF and 194ËšF. It measures 4″ wide x 5.5″ tall with a weight of only 1.1 oz. It can be mounted either vertically or horizontally on your belt with the Hypalon belt loop on the back of the pouch.

The pouch itself is made from 210d Nylon Ripstop and that specialized conductive textile lining we mentioned previously.

NEMO EMFX-47 03If you plan on keeping your cell phone in the pouch for prolonged periods of time, it’s recommended you turn off the phone. As you can see in the video below, your phone will cease transmissions even when dropped in the pouch while on. Always test the transmission properties of the EMFX-47 before use.

Notes

If you’re interested in the NEMO EMFX-47, it’s now available at Tactical Distributors


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MattBowyer
MattBowyer

Do they make a beanie version for my head?



My tinfoil hat is really itchy, but I don't want the NSA satellites reading my brain.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden

Actually Patrick, any cell phone with a SIM card, which is nearly every cell phone out there, can have the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) remotely reprogrammed. The same way updates are sent to your phone OTA, updates to the JVM can be sent as well. These updates may reprogram your phone to do a three wall call every time you dial out, turn on the camera, black the screen out when you "power down" etc. The possibilities are endless. Needed to have physical access to a phone as you suggested is something from the 80s.

Ssp
Ssp

Ah shielding a ferrous item from a metal detector by wrapping it in metal....oh wait...

Anderson
Anderson

It looks like this device could be used to shield a ferrous object from a metal detector. However that'll be useless here soon as most mass transit travel is converting to Theta wave imagers.

joey
joey

WRONG even though your cell phone is off it can still be traced ... if the battery is in it can be traced... haven't you ever watched Public enemy LMAO

Ken
Ken

Maybe an Altoids can?

sam manila
sam manila

You can also use aluminum foil tape and duct tape to construct a pouch. I made a wallet entirely of aluminum tape and duct tape, very sporty and awesome. And RFID proof.

Graham Monteith
Graham Monteith

I wish they would make a bigger one to put laptops or iPads in. That would be cool.

OscarDelta
OscarDelta

I like the "Potato Chip Bag" idea and if concerned about the use of RFID give them a whack a couple of times with a hammer - it may even destroy the chip and leave no evidence that the tag has been tampered with!

Pig Monkey
Pig Monkey

Cool product. I like the DIY field-expedient shielding methods covered by USNERDOC.

Patrick
Patrick

Brian, I work for one of the alphabet agencies, and no, there is no way for a standard phone (that you go into a store to buy) to be turned on/activated from an off-state without you knowing it. Phones that do that are specifically designed to do that, have to be put in place, and rarely used lately.

As far as commercial-off-the-self phones go, I have never seen one with a remote access feature that would turn it on. In order to do this, the phone would either have to be constantly (or at regular intervals) looking for a signal to tell it to turn on.

RFID is a different beast, though.

Brian Green
Brian Green

So what exactly does this $50 pouch do for me? It sounds like I can just turn off my device and get the same result.

AFAIK there no passive transmitting capabilities when a device is turned off - so can a turned off device REALLY be tracked/activated without us knowing it?

Does anyone have any definitive proof of this either way? If not it seems that Tactical Distributors and other manufacturers like ALOKSAK are playing on our conspiracy theories in order to sell pointless gear?

What's the deal?

Brian Green
Brian Green

So what exactly does this $50 pouch do for me? It sounds like I can just turn off my device and get the same result. AFAIK there no passive transmitting capabilities when a device is turned off - so can a turned off device REALLY be tracked/activated without us knowing it? Does anyone have any definitive proof of this either way? If not it seems that Tactical Distributors and other manufacturers like ALOKSAK are playing on our conspiracy theories in order to sell pointless gear? What's the deal?

James
James

Turn the phone off, or turn on Airplane Mode...

Patrick
Patrick

Dave, you're a little off on your information. There are no standard phones that the gov't can just switch on. However, with a warrant and access to the phone, they can switch a real phone with a modified phone that allows this. After that information got out, they started making batteries that could act as a transmitter, so removal wouldn't become a problem. Unfortunately, batteries have gotten smaller and thinner, and that method generally isn't usable. Also, creating a battery that transmits like that has the issue of being discovered by an RF detector.

Daniel
Daniel

David Smith, I seriously think that you have seen many spy movies... A factory phone cant do anything when turned off, as the software is not loaded in memory.

At Mike, turning the iPhone off, just turns the iPhone off. It cant take pics or anything, even the GPS chip is off. The iOS isnt loaded when the iPhone is off, so no drivers/firmware or anything working.

Daniel
Daniel

David Smith, I seriously think that you have seen many spy movies... A factory phone cant do anything when turned off, as the software is not loaded in memory. At Mike, turning the iPhone off, just turns the iPhone off. It cant take pics or anything, even the GPS chip is off. The iOS isnt loaded when the iPhone is off, so no drivers/firmware or anything working.

David Smith
David Smith

Its been documented that the government has used cellular phones (while powered off) to eavesdrop, take photos and videos remotely while gathering evidence on high-profile bad guys.

Patrick
Patrick

Unless you need your cell phone to suddenly "disappear", what's the point? You could just turn it off, AND that would save your battery life. Unless your phone has been compromised and swapped out by an intelligence agency of some sort, off=no signals.

Jesse Krembs
Jesse Krembs

It will also kill your battery and you can do the same thing with a couple of potato chip bags.

Also this bag's design leaves something to be desired regarding EM attenuation.

The noted 60Db attenuation is between the frequencies of 30Mhz to 1Ghz. Many cellphone operates in frequencies well above 1Ghz. Bluetooth and Wi-fi both operate in the 2.4Ghz band

Jesse Krembs
Jesse Krembs

It will also kill your battery and you can do the same thing with a couple of potato chip bags. Also this bag's design leaves something to be desired regarding EM attenuation. The noted 60Db attenuation is between the frequencies of 30Mhz to 1Ghz. Many cellphone operates in frequencies well above 1Ghz. Bluetooth and Wi-fi both operate in the 2.4Ghz band

Mike Petrucci
Mike Petrucci

This is just really pretty awesome! Being an iPhone owner and knowing that taking the battery out is no small process, this 'cloaking device' is really the next best thing. And the fact it can be looped through a belt loop or something similar is a plus.

Charlie
Charlie

Uh you mean the king size doritos bag on sale for $4.99 at safeway?

Graham Monteith
Graham Monteith

Along with the potato chip bag regular aluminum foil works too.

rancher1school
rancher1school

I know now why where the term "tin foil hat" comes from. that was a great video for a DIY project.

Bryan Black
Bryan Black

Patrick, thanks for the info. Glad to have your input!

Patrick
Patrick

Brian, I work for one of the alphabet agencies, and no, there is no way for a standard phone (that you go into a store to buy) to be turned on/activated from an off-state without you knowing it. Phones that do that are specifically designed to do that, have to be put in place, and rarely used lately. As far as commercial-off-the-self phones go, I have never seen one with a remote access feature that would turn it on. In order to do this, the phone would either have to be constantly (or at regular intervals) looking for a signal to tell it to turn on. RFID is a different beast, though.

David Smith
David Smith

At the minimum there are federal court documents that are vague at best regarding abilities mentioned above, and also news reporting regarding such things as remote microphone, camera, and location activations.

I have over a dozen years in the wireless telecommunications industry in various capacities. I cannot speak in detail(confidentiality agreements), but I have intimate knowledge and experience with these capabilities. I have also witnessed abuse of these systems for unofficial use.

I am unsure if this or any further discussion benefits this community, I only initially replied to this article to give this product a little clout.

David Smith
David Smith

At the minimum there are federal court documents that are vague at best regarding abilities mentioned above, and also news reporting regarding such things as remote microphone, camera, and location activations. I have over a dozen years in the wireless telecommunications industry in various capacities. I cannot speak in detail(confidentiality agreements), but I have intimate knowledge and experience with these capabilities. I have also witnessed abuse of these systems for unofficial use. I am unsure if this or any further discussion benefits this community, I only initially replied to this article to give this product a little clout.

David Smith
David Smith

When a phone is turned off the OS is not loaded into its RAM or ROM, but, there does exist its boot loader. Through its one or of many boot loaders, the phone can turn on and off and operate some functions of hardware(camera, microphone, antennas) when given commands to do so. The phone would appear "off", and arguably it is.

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