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US company offers Wi-Fi-proof paint

Tinfoil-hat brigade rejoices

Website security in corporate America

An American company says it has successfully tested wireless-blocking paint. EM-SEC Technologies, in a release last week, said its "Coating Solution", applied to a test facility, had successfully protected "wireless devices and other electronic equipment".

According to the company, "a one-time application of the coating creates an 'electromagnetic fortress' by preventing airborne hackers from intercepting signals".

EM-SEC reckon this would be useful for corporate offices, boardrooms, server and computer rooms, and R&D labs. It seems that wireless nets can be operated without trouble inside a painted building or room.

This latest launch by EM-SEC is an attempt to move into corporate security. Previously, the company has dealt more with government and military customers, earning some impressive validations. Its website claims that the coatings have been checked out by various groups including Sandia Labs and the Naval Surface Warfare Centre Crane Division (NSW-Crane develops and tests technology for the terribly-secret-yet-famous Navy SEAL special forces).

Perhaps even more significantly, the RF-proof paint is approved as a TEMPEST countermeasure by the US National Security Agency (NSA). Before wardrivers and Wi-Fi were ever heard of, security types were warning about TEMPEST vulns, where attackers sniff the emissions from kit which isn't even meant to communicate wirelessly. Depending on competence, equipment, and proximity TEMPEST attackers can supposedly lift info directly from unshielded electronics.

Of course, most black hats in the commercial world aren't in this league, and indeed it could be said that many corporate Wi-Fi users might do better to enable their built-in encryption than redecorate the office with radio-proof paint. Especially if they want to use their mobile phones, or look out of the window now and then.

Still, products like this seem bound to find a wide market. Cinemas or theatres might use such tech to cut off mobile phones, avoiding the legal issues around jamming.

Famous Wi-Fi-allergic latin teacher Michael Bevington might wish to paint his house or classroom with EM-SEC paint. Mobile mast antis could buy the product for use at home.

And, if EM-SEC could develop a body-paint version of the technology, they would no doubt have the tinfoil-hat tendency queuing round the block. Although they could face stiff competition in this latter arena from Clarins, which already markets an allegedly electromagnetism-proof anti-ageing cream. Clarins lacks the crucial NSA and Navy-SEAL endorsements, however, choosing instead to partner with ladies-smellies and designer togs purveyor Thierry Mugler.

One does note that EM-SEC already has RF-proof fabric at its disposal in addition to paint, offering a range of nifty laptop bags, phone holsters, etc. Could a collection of stylish headgear for the tinfoil-clad be on the cards? ®

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