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Shielding your tech: Why you need a Faraday bag

In addition to evidence protection, Faraday bags can protect your personal devices and key fobs from hackers and unauthorized access

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In today’s digital age, law enforcement relies heavily on electronic evidence for investigations and prosecutions. Investigators protect electronic evidence, like smartphones, tablets, laptops and vehicle key fobs with Faraday bags, which prevents nefarious actors from compromising electronic data on these devices. If you want to learn more, read my article, “A game changer in Faraday equipment.”

Outside of law enforcement work, consider purchasing Faraday bags to protect your personal devices and key fobs from hackers and unauthorized access. I use Faraday bags for my spare key fobs and a Faraday backpack when traveling with my computer or tablet.

What is a Faraday bag?

A Faraday bag, named after scientist Michael Faraday, is a portable enclosure made with a special fabric that blocks electromagnetic signals. This essentially creates a cage around your device, preventing any signal from entering or exiting. Some bags have a thicker and heavier outer material making them ideal for carrying in a car or search warrant kit. Other bags are flimsy and light making it easy to stick in your pants pocket or vest.

No matter the brand or type of bag, the most important signals to block include cell phones, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. However, GPS and RFID signals are also important. Look for Faraday equipment that covers Broad Spectrum Shielding, which blocks most types of signals and a wide range of frequencies.

Here are my top Faraday bags you can find on Amazon.

Best overall: Mission Darkness Non-Window Faraday Bag for Phones

Why I love it: High quality, durable, MIL-STD-188-185 and IEEE2000-2006 certified.

What to consider: A bit more expensive than the other options. Difficult to carry on your person.

I love the Mission Darkness product line of Faraday bags. I extensively tested several of their products over months out in the field. Each product held up even after being intentionally neglected in 120+ degrees Fahrenheit weather or thrown under heavy patrol equipment. The military-grade construction and durable material in all the Mission Darkness products make them the best option for government use.

The company’s Faraday lineup is also the only MIL-STD-188-185 and IEEE2000-2006 certified products on Amazon so you can trust that your device will perform in the real world. The Mission Darkness Non-Window Faraday bag has a secure double roll and Velcro closure and is built with quality in mind. It also includes a transparent pocket on the outside to place your business card or evidence placard.

The details: 5.5-9.75” L x 9” W, 4oz.

Best variety: Exlifbag 4 Pack Faraday Bags

Why I love it: Variety of bags, low price. Suitable to carry on your person.

What to consider: Not MIL-STD-188-185 and IEEE2000-2006 certified, not made with heavy-duty material and claim of being waterproof is not accurate.

The 4 Pack Faraday Bags by Exlifbag are made from a fiberglass fireproof and waterproof material. With that said, the bag itself is not waterproof since water can easily get into the single Velcro closure. I did try to light the bag on fire and yes, it won’t burn but it will melt. In testing, the bag blocked cellular, GPS and Wi-Fi signals.

I really like this product simply because it provides you with a good variety of sizes to choose from, including one for a key fob. The quality of the bag is not the best but matches the quality of the Faraday bags in this price range. If you are looking for a short-term solution, the 4 Pack Faraday Bags by Exlifbag will work just fine.

The details: Large Faraday bag (16.9''x14.96'’), laptop Faraday bag (12.99''x 10.23'’), Faraday cage for radio (10.63''x 7.87'’), Faraday bags for phones (7.87''x 4.72'’).

Best for extreme weather: Mission Darkness Dry Shield Faraday Tote 15L

Why I love it: High-quality 500D PVC.

What to consider: Only one external pocket, sling-style tote.

The Mission Darkness Dry Shield Faraday Tote 15L is a great dry-bag style tote. It is made with 500DPVC fabric and has double-welded seams making it waterproof for those working in wet weather. The quality is what you expect from the Mission Darkness product line. Two layers of Titan RF Faraday Fabric block Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular including 5G, GPS, RFID, NFC and radio signals from low MHz to 4GHz.

The only thing I dislike about this product is the single sling strap. This is a tote, not a backpack. There is also only one pocket in front. I would have liked to see more pockets for external cables, spare batteries, etc.

Mission Darkness does have a 40L Waterproof Tactical Backpack with Molle for those tackleberries out there who like the extra space for all their equipment. If you’re looking for a large backpack with plenty of pockets, check out the 40LT Tactical Backpack.

The details: 15L capacity; 17" x 9" round.

Best for fashion: Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Mini Shoulder Bag

Why I love it: Added theft protections while still being fashionable.

What to consider: Not really a Faraday bag but better than a traditional purse.

I found this Travelon purse by accident while researching personal protection devices while traveling overseas. This purse provides a 5-point, anti-theft security system including a slash-resistant body and straps just in case you find yourself on the other side of a knife fight.

For those in high purse-theft areas, this product is great because of the reinforced straps and the ability to have a secondary strap to attach to a fixed object like a chair or table. While not a Faraday bag, it has RFID-blocking pockets for your passport or key fobs and comes in a variety of colors and patterns.

The details: 8.5 x 8.5 x 2 inches; 10.9 ounces.

Best for key fobs: TICONN Faraday Box, care Key Fob Protector Cage

Why I love it: No need to put key fobs in a sleeve first. Sleek, elegant design.

What to consider: Hard to organize multiple sets of keys.

I am a big proponent of keeping your key fobs safe from thieves who use an RF transmitter to burglarize or steal cars. If you are like me, you keep your keys within 15 feet of your front door normally on an entry table or key pegboard. Strong RF transmitters can easily pick up your key fob signal from that distance.

I used to use key fob sleeves because they are typically cheap, even for the excellent quality ones. But the problem I ran into with the key fob sleeves was remembering to put the keys inside the sleeve. With the TICONN Faraday Box, you just throw your keys in the box and close the lid. That’s it. It protects up to six car keys and has a sleek premium carbon fiber outer layer with decorative red stitching. The only thing missing is a key divider, so you don’t have to shuffle through various sets of key fobs to find the fob that you need.

The details: 6.7"L x 4.8"W x 3.8"H, 1.24.

Faraday bags are a versatile and essential tool for law enforcement officers and civilians. By understanding the different features and benefits of Faraday bags, you can choose the right one to safeguard your electronic devices and protect your privacy. Whether you need a heavy-duty bag for evidence collection or a stylish option for your key fobs, a Faraday bag provides a simple yet effective solution for shielding your tech from unwanted wireless signals.

Joshua Lee is an active-duty police sergeant for a municipal police department in Arizona. Before being promoted, Joshua served five years as a patrol officer and six years as a detective with the Organized Crime Section investigating civil asset forfeiture, white-collar financial crime, and cryptocurrency crimes.

Joshua is a money laundering investigations expert witness and consultant for banks, financial institutions, and accountants. He is also an artificial intelligence for government applications advisor and researcher.

Joshua holds a BA in Justice Studies, an MA in Legal Studies, and an MA in Professional Writing. He has earned some of law enforcement’s top certifications, including the ACFE’s Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE), ACAMS Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) and the IAFC’s Certified Cyber Crimes Investigator (CCCI).

Joshua is an adjunct professor at a large national university, and a smaller regional college teaching law, criminal justice, government, technology, writing and English courses.