Development for the Stealth Card began in 2012 when the company founder and CEO, Brian McFadden, observed the global shift towards smart chip card technology to transmit and process credit card/debit card transactions. With Europe and Asia already making the transition away from the magnetic strip to smart chip cards, Mr. McFadden felt the U.S. market would have to follow.
In addition, the recent large scale data breaches from major retailers in the US that affected millions of consumers’ identities made Mr. McFadden realize that there are fundamental vulnerabilities to the way financial transactions are processed.
On October 2015, the U.S. market announced the shift to smart chipped cards and the EMV standard. By using smart chip cards, the cardholder’s personal information is no longer stored on the merchant’s servers, making payment transactions more secure while preventing wide scale breaches. Instead, the cardholder’s personal information is stored in the chip and will only be transmitted at the point-of-sale/use. However, this opens up the market to identity breaches on a consumer level.
The smart chip has a vulnerability due to the ISO/IEC 14443 standard. The ISO/IEC 14443 communication follows a request-answer protocol. This means when a smart chip card is placed near a reader, the chip will release the information on proximity regardless of the reader’s origin.
Identity thieves and electronic pickpockets have exploited this request-answer protocol vulnerability. By using a smartphone together with an easily available app, they can effortlessly harvest an unlimited amount of smart chip credit and debit card information in crowded places by proximity and without contact to the victims since the chip on the smart cards do not differentiate the source of the reader.
Recognizing this vulnerability, Mr. McFadden was motivated to develop a solution that can protect the information on the chip on the smart card and keep the information safe from identity thieves and electronic pickpockets.
Mr. McFadden reached out to his father, Jeff McFadden, who is an expert in radio frequency shielding. Together, they form a group of engineers who collectively hold over 100 U.S. and International patents in the field of radio frequency shielding, mechanical engineering, antenna technology and materials and started developing the solution to protect consumers.
After three years in development, the team was able to achieve a cost-effective solution that would protect the consumer from illegal skims, while making the smart chip card invisible to electronic pickpockets and identity thieves.
The Stealth Card was born.