The Canadian government plans to ban the Flipper Zero (made by a company with Russian roots) and similar devices and has designated them as tools that thieves can use to steal cars.
Flipper Zero is a portable, programmable testing tool that helps you experiment and debug a variety of hardware and digital devices across a variety of protocols, including RFID, radio, NFC, infrared, and Bluetooth.
Users in the video demonstrate Flipper Zero’s ability to carry out signal replay attacks to unlock cars, open garage doors, activate doorbells, and clone various digital keys.
— Lina (@d0rkph0enix) September 25, 2022
Criminals use sophisticated tools to steal cars. And Canadians are rightly concerned. Today I announced that we are banning the import, sale and use of consumer hacking devices, such as the Flipper, used to commit these crimes.
— Canadian Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne on Twitter.
Champagne’s statement comes after a national summit on combating auto theft organized by the Canadian government this week in Ottawa, Ontario, Bleeping Computer reports.
Criminals have been using sophisticated tools to steal cars. And Canadians are rightfully worried.
Today, I announced we are banning the importation, sale and use of consumer hacking devices, like flippers, used to commit these crimes.
— François-Philippe Champagne (FPC) 🇨🇦 (@FP_Champagne) February 8, 2024
According to the Canadian government, about 90,000 cars are stolen each year (or one car every six minutes), and annual losses from thefts amount to $1 billion, including insurance costs to repair and replace stolen vehicles. Canadian police also reported that vehicle theft had the largest impact on the growth of the national Crime Severity Index in 2022.
Flipper Devices, the company that developed the devices, claims that the gadget cannot be used to steal cars built within the last 24 years.
Flipper Zero cannot be used to steal any cars, especially those made after the 1990s, as their security systems have moving codes. Additionally, to intercept the original signal, one must actively block the signal from the owner, which the Flipper Zero hardware is not capable of. Flipper Zero is designed for security testing and development, and we have taken the necessary precautions to ensure that the device is not used for malicious purposes.
– Flipper Devices COO Alex Kulagin. – Flipper Devices COO Alex Kulagin.
Amazon has also banned the sale of the Flipper Zero since April 2023 due to it being a card skimming device (a type of fraud where fraudsters copy payment card information), and in March 2023, the Brazilian National Telecommunications Agency began seizing incoming Flipper Zero purchases due to its likely use by criminals.
The official website says that Flipper Devices is located in Claymont, Delaware, but the name of the operating director prompted me to check. Linkedin The company says there are 34 connected members living around the world (none in the US), but almost all of them studied at Russian higher education institutions.