RFID-Shielded, Ultra-Strong Duffel Bags

They’re for carrying cash through dangerous territory:

SDR Traveller caters to people who, for one reason or another, need to haul huge amounts of cash money through dangerous territory. The bags are made from a super strong, super light synthetic material designed for yacht sails, are RFID-shielded, and are rated by how much cash in US$100 bills each can carry….

Posted on November 19, 2015 at 6:16 AM37 Comments


Clive Robinson November 19, 2015 7:58 AM

Funny thing is I used to be a keen sailor in my younger and fitter days and “spinnaker sail cloth” bags were common. Because they are incredibly strong and very very light and fold up small.

I’ve actually carried a full set of scuba gear in one, to give you an idea of just how strong. Also one “truckload” of books and papers when changing residence (it’s amazing how quickly research fills a filing cabinet).

I Must admit RFiD screaning, might turn out to be more general purpose RF/EM shielding from which a light weight SKIF might be fabricated from…

Clive Robinson November 19, 2015 8:14 AM

For those interested in the RF sheilding side,

The 1M Hauly Heist uses a double-walled silver/copper/nickel coated ripstop, to minimise the risk of RF tracking for any electronics placed inside the pouch. The silver coated hook and loop is optimised for conductivity, making it ideal for RF shielding. Tested in accordance with modified Mil Standard 285, it can be used repeatedly with minimal shielding degregation. Is RoHS compliant.

briny November 19, 2015 8:44 AM

I wonder how well it, does against EMP? Scruffy appearance a plus in my thinking as not for money. I’d have to win the lottery for that.

TS November 19, 2015 8:59 AM

LoL, this sounds perfect for the casual shoplifter, beats having to line your bag with aluminum foil!

Sailcloth is nice, but the really good stuff is Cuben Fiber, well known in the ultralight hiking community. Named after the America^3 whose sail materail lead to the development of Cuben Fiber.

As for carrying large amounts of cash… wish I had that problem.

Jeff November 19, 2015 10:06 AM

So… company that makes ultralight bags comes up with a way to get free advertisement? Just add descriptions of how much cash it holds, take some pictures, and voila, you are now differentiated from all the other places selling bags.

CallMeLateForSupper November 19, 2015 10:53 AM

@keiner “Is money RFID-tagged nowadays?”

tongue-in-cheek: ON
There is a rumor that Brit “tablecloths”, pound notes, are so tagged. The MI boys need to identify and track persons who possess those things, because even one pound of something hard makes a potent weapon in hand-to-hand. Five or ten pounds…. my gawd, that could kill!

Peter Pearson November 19, 2015 11:18 AM

Occasional reports of TSA screeners getting caught stealing wads of currency have given me the impression that modern banknotes are designed to be easily detected by airport screening equipment. I can imagine some methods that would be thwared by RF shielding.

Anybody know about this?

Dirk Praet November 19, 2015 11:31 AM

@ CallMeLateForSupper, @keiner

Is money RFID-tagged nowadays?

When in doubt, do the microwave test. Or YouTube it for your currency, which is probably a cheaper way to find out.

Pedestrian November 19, 2015 12:14 PM

Is this designed for the Colorado pot growers?

The banks generally don’t want anything to do with them, making marijuana quite literally a “cash crop”, which brings a whole host of logistical problems.

I wish a new, parallel, banking system could “grow” out of this opportunity, something like a new generation of credit unions. Who wouldn’t be sick of these gougers who charge for the privilege of taking our cash for blowing it speculative bubbles, while mercilessly foreclosing on the small fry?

Could crypto-currencies take off with weed growers? The waste heat of the computations could be used to keep their hot houses hot…

Alien Jerky November 19, 2015 2:05 PM

I put a hundred dollar note in my microwave. Now it smells like artificial butter flavored popcorn.

Wael November 19, 2015 2:08 PM

Might as well put a sticker on your back saying “come mug me”. The security cynic in me says these bags are tagged for easy remote detection.

@Dirk Praet,

Or YouTube it for your currency

I understand the microwave test. I’m not sure I understand what you mean by the “YouTube” thing.

Dirk Praet November 19, 2015 3:05 PM

@ Wael, @ Alien Jerky

I’m not sure I understand what you mean by the “YouTube” thing.

Plenty of videos on YouTube of folks doing the test with dollar, euro and other currency bills so you don’t have to blow up your own money or have your kitchen smell funny 😎

Mark November 19, 2015 3:32 PM

@Neticis, I haven’t looked into it in any detail, but it sounds like he’s re-invented the autokey cipher, with all the usual strengths and weaknesses thereof.

trm November 19, 2015 3:36 PM

Funny. A use for sailcloth that preserves $100 bills. Usually, when sailcloth is involved, the $100s are irrecoverable….

rgaff November 19, 2015 4:34 PM

@ trm

Looks to me like quite a few $100’s ARE irrecoverable when you buy these bags (they are that expensive) 🙂

Mark Mayer November 19, 2015 6:04 PM

@Dirk – it’s really better to test all the cash if practical. One million in $10,000 bundles is 100 bundles. Unless, of course, whoever hired you to transport the money wants it tagged and to stay tagged. In that case, this bag would conceal that any notes were tagged until they are removed from the bag.

@Peter Pearson – what you want to do if transporting large amounts of undeclared cash through airports is to form it into the shape of weapons. A shielded container will probably be checked out.

I don’t know who is writing the movies you all are in, but in mine there are many more scenarios where I’m tasked with transporting someone else’s money rather than trying to move around large quantities of my own.

I do think a fun feature would be if the fabric could wick away dye from a dye pack.

Dirk Praet November 19, 2015 6:55 PM

@ Mark Mayer

… it’s really better to test all the cash if practical

Most certainly so. I was merely replying to a question if money bills have RFID’s.

rgaff November 19, 2015 7:42 PM

“it’s really better to test all the cash if practical”

Of course! Nuking a million dollars is way cooler to watch than a measly hundred dollars!

Anunymoose November 19, 2015 10:57 PM

Sorry for asking something that isn’t strictly related to this post, but I was reading through older blog posts and had a question.

While reading through a post on the NSA’s decryption capabilities, you mentioned the prospect of the NSA having a quantum computer. The response you gave to this possibility was:

“I think it extraordinarily unlikely that the NSA has built a quantum computer capable of performing the magnitude of calculation necessary to do this, but it’s possible. The defense is easy, if annoying: stick with symmetric cryptography based on shared secrets, and use 256-bit keys.”

My question regards your point on shared secrets. I apologize if I’m missing something, but isn’t Diffie-Hellman secret sharing vulnerable to Shor’s algorithm, or rather some variant of it that performs Discrete Log calculations? Wouldn’t that render the key exchange mechanism vulnerable, allowing an attacker to obtain the symmetric key and decrypt your Internet traffic?

If so, is there any commonly used encryption method that is secure against post-quantum cryptanalysis? Every application I’ve looked at — VPNs, SSH, Tor, I2P, SSL, etc. — seems to be vulnerable even if a secure symmetric encryption algorithm (such as 256-bit AES) is used, because the key exchange is vulnerable to Shor’s algorithm.

I know that it’s highly unlikely there will be a quantum computer capable of breaking strong asymmetric encryption for some time, but I figured it would be prudent to start looking at post-quantum encryption now, just in case a breakthrough occurs sooner than expected or the NSA develops a quantum computer in secret or stores “suspicious” (i.e. Tor, I2P, VPN, etc) traffic indefinitely until they develop quantum computers capable of decrypting it.

pradyumna November 20, 2015 1:48 AM

Maybe I’m missing something here, but I don’t get the point at all.

It’s a bag, in which, of course, you can put anything you want, including money. Nothing fancy about that part.

Additionally, it’s made of a material that blocks some frequencies (“RFID shielded”). So what?

I mean, I can’t think of one use case of this.

Unless, money (if carried in a regular bag) could be detected and differentiated from other RFID-capable objects by thieves using RFID sniffers while you walk in a crowded place, or in trains/buses/planes., which I presume isn’t true, as money is mostly paper.

Wendy M. Grossman November 20, 2015 8:29 AM

CallMeLateforSupper: Which pound notes would those be? Most of Britain has no pound notes; only the Scottish and Northern Irish banks still produce them, and they circulate almost entirely in those areas.

I doubt very much the UK’s pound coins are RFID-tagged.


SJ November 20, 2015 8:45 AM

and are rated by how much cash in US$100 bills each can carry.

The obvious unit for this rating is “Benjamins”.

Clive Robinson November 20, 2015 10:08 AM

@ For those venturing to the UK,

As Wendy above notes the old green Bank of England £1 note is long gone, and those from other parts are generally not accepted except for a few miles around where they originate.

But it is worse than that sounds… In England we have as legal tender 5/10/20/50 denomination notes but… Most banks don’t want anything to do with the “fiddeling small change ‘fiver'” and few if any will touch let alone accept a fifty as only drug dealers, dodgy builders and Nigerian Generals are know to use them…

Thus you have the tenner which if you are lucky might get youba sandwich, muffin and coffee for lunch, or a MuckyD’s “Plasti-burger Happless Meal”. The twenty might get you a cheap lunch in a restaurant, or half a bottle of drinkable wine.

As for the £1 coine a tenners worth in a couple of socks makes a very suitable cosh. But you would quickly find you had an unbalanced walk with the same quantity in your pocket, if they had not made a hole and like rabbid ferrets escaped down your trouser leg, scratching on the way.

Also it is reputed that more than 25% of them are fakes, which is mildly ammusing when you consider they were once called “maggies” after Margret Thatcher, because the coins “were brassy and thought they were a sovereign, just like maggie”.

The next problem people from “The Americas” discover is their credit cards often don’t work in the ePos terminals in shops, and shop keepers won’t accept your signiture, or if they do want you to spend over 20 Quid…

Oh and if you arive at a London Airport, Black Cabs to London will cost you the rhick end of a hundred quid and they won’t take you to anywhere closer than the city… Dial up minicabs will take for ever but you are in danger of going around the houses. Public transport is fairly good but… Busses don’t take cash only “travel cards” and some NFC bank cards for which you will get “done over” on the exchange rate. Ticket machines at underground stations tend to be “exact change only” and ticket offices closed or have long ques. As for trains… Take a hint they have ticketing tricks that can extract money out of your pocket faster than a pickpocket. If you remember to bring a couple of spare passport photos you can get weekly bus underground&train passes but… It’s a fare zone based system so watch out you don’t spend to much.

Some hotels will send a minibus to pick you up from the airport but only by prior arrangement…

Oh and don’t use “hole in the wall” ATMs near transport hubs to get cash. Eastern European / Russian gangsters and likewise Middle East and West Assian gangs rig them, a look at Brian Krebs Website has a “hall of infamy” you can view the sort of skimers and other kit they use…

It’s not that we don’t want you here, many of us realy do, but the number of crooks especialy the “business” –especialy US branded– ones, tend to outnumber the friendlies… Which reminds me please please check your bill for service and table charges being added twice, and if you are going to tip your server do it in cash covertly, otherwise the manager will subtract it from their wages etc, so the server gets no benifit from it…

And most of all take care and enjoy your visit.

CallMeLateForSupper November 20, 2015 12:13 PM

@Wendy M. Grossman
I was implying the huge old notes. Of course those tablecloths are long gone, so not subject to any sort of tagging, and, being paper, would make an inefficient (OK, useless) sap, regardless of denomination. As I said, “tongue-in-cheek: ON”.

I invoked “tablecloths” because of the prodigeous size of the old things. Thankfully, I never had to carry those things.

I did face that challenge during extended stays in pre-Euro Germany. Unlike U.S. currency, various denomination Deutschmark notes had various dimensions, and the larger denominations were “taller” than this pilgrim’s U.S. wallet. Messy storage situation. Come to think of it, the old (pre-1991?) Australian “fiver” barely fit in my wallet.

newhere November 20, 2015 3:33 PM

So, what does the answer “tongue-in-cheek: ON” mean for the question “Is money RFID-tagged nowadays?” Is it ON (yes) or NO? And if yes, does anybody knows more about this?

ianf November 20, 2015 4:32 PM

@ trm “Usually, when sailcloth is involved, the $100s are irrecoverable….

Quite. How To Simulate Sailing: stand fully clothed in a cold shower, and tear up $100 bills (first heard from Steve Roberts, of the Behemoth/ Microship fame, but later encountered other variants of this, so it may be “folk wisdom” ;-))

Clive Robinson November 20, 2015 4:37 PM

@ newhere,

The problem with high denomination notes is they are not easily tracked and accounted for.

And governments don’t like this for various reasons. The main publicaly stated reason is “money laundering” with the subtext of “serious crime”.

Thus people think drugs money etc, which by and large many governments don’t actually care about or even enjoy the improvment to the economy (there is a story that when the banking crisis happened the only liquidity in the US economy was drugs money…). What realy gets governments panties in a wad is the so called “Black Economy” where the goverment is not getting what it believes it is due via various forms of taxation and economic benifit.

Thus if cash was traceable across borders they would get their slice or keep it in their economy.

Thus the EU amongst others have talked about RFiD or similar tags in high denomination currency, especialy the new profiled plastic notes with sealed in metal strips/wire to act as antennas.

And it’s the antennas that are the problem their efficiency is down to surface area in dipoles and cross sectional loop area in coils.

That is a chip with no antenna even if it worked up in the centi/millimeter microwave bands is not of much use as it would be seriously impaired in gathering sufficient energy to re-radiate it over any distance.

As a side note you don’t actually need an active chip in a bank note. If you remember about the WWII method of jaming a radar with “window” now called “chaf”, it was strips of foil or wire cut to half a wavelength of the radar operating frequemcy and if sufficiently dispersed one aircraft could give returns equivalent to a hundred or more actuall aircraft.

THe same principle applies to that metalic strip in a bank note, I’m fairly certain it’s frequency response is well known and thus an area could be flooded with short duration pulses and “returns” detected. Kind of like a glorified shop door anti-theft alarm. Yes there would be false positives, but they could quickly be checked by a “currency sniffing” dog responding to a handlers hand signals so that an individual could be subject to further scrutiny / search.

Clive Robinson November 20, 2015 4:52 PM

@ Mand,

So is there some cheap and easy way to find if an object has an RFID attached to it?

Several, as others have noted tiny chips tend to burn like a tiny piece of sodium on water when subjected to a strong microwave signal.

Less destructive is a “non linear junction detector” or if you are old enough to know of them a “Grid Dip Oscillator”. The former picks up the semiconductor devices on the chip such as the protection diodes by looking for the harmonics they generate, the latter detects the tuned circuit of the pickup coil coupling energy out from the oscillator coil, thus producing a field strength dip.

MikeA November 22, 2015 11:40 AM

@Clive — Funny you should mention Grid Dip Meters.

One place I worked had “key cards” that each contained three flat-coil resonant circuits. The “combination” identified the user. “Someone” briefly borrowed a director’s card on some pretense and since we were after all an engineering organization…

Clive Robinson November 22, 2015 12:38 PM

@ MikeA,

“Someone” briefly borrowed a director’s card on some pretense and since we were after all an engineering organization…

Did the shareholders realise that the director had developed “Super Hero Powers” and take advantage of the fact the director could be in two or more placed at the same time 😉

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