Wireless signals are everywhere. From phones to Wi-Fi networks and bank cards, countless technologies use wireless signals to communicate. Hacking into them usually requires certain cybersecurity knowledge, but with Flipper Zero, it’s a lot simpler.
Flipper Zero is a portable hacking tool that resembles a toy. The versatile tool is marketed towards malicious hackers and testers to expose vulnerabilities in the world around them, like a cyber security X-ray. The tool is open-source and successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign in 2020.
Flipper Zero gained popularity on TikTok when it appeared in a series of videos by hackers and pranksters performing stunts in public. In the videos, hackers disable electronic menus at fast-food restaurants, remotely open the charging ports of strangers’ Tesla cars, and even change gas prices on station displays.
Hackers simply point the device at the target system, like a remote control, press a button or two, and the target screen turns off, display numbers change, or the charging port opens.
While these videos make Flipper Zero seem like a skeleton key to the Internet of Things, it’s an exaggeration. Most of the videos were probably staged and required significant preparation to execute.
However, the gadget remains a powerful and intuitive tool for investigating cyber security in the physical world. While it may not be able to manipulate every wireless device in its path, it can read the signals emitted by wireless devices. With this capability, it can reveal a significant amount of information about a range of electronic devices, even if it can’t actually change gas prices with the push of a button.
For example, it can:
- Read a car’s tire pressure sensor data
- Read the body temperature of a dog with an embedded microchip for pets
- Detect signals emitted by an iPhone for facial recognition and the frequency of these emissions
- Read and record the signal from a garage door opener
- Clone a building entry card
Flipper Zero contains several different antennas that help it capture, store, clone, and emulate wireless signals. It can interact with multiple signal types.
As a reference, some countries are already taking action against this dangerous gadget. Brazil has decided to confiscate Flipper Zero portable cyber security tools to prevent potential cyber attacks.
Overall, while Flipper Zero has the potential to be a useful tool in the right hands, it’s important to use it responsibly and with caution to avoid causing harm.