What is Flipper Zero? This intriguing question captures the essence of a toy-like portable hacking tool that’s making waves in the tech world. Marketed to “geeks,” red team hackers, and pen testers, Flipper Zero is designed to unveil vulnerabilities all around us, functioning like a cybersecurity X-ray.
The information presented in this article is focused solely on the capabilities and features of Flipper Zero, an innovative device designed for exploring cybersecurity and uncovering vulnerabilities in various systems. While some uses of the device could push legal boundaries, it is crucial to emphasize that the article does not endorse or recommend any illegal actions or activities. Ownership and utilization of Flipper Zero must always be conducted within the framework of the law. Misuse of the device, such as tampering with systems or devices without proper authorization, is the sole responsibility of the user and is not advocated by this article.
What is Flipper Zero?
Flipper Zero is like a remote control that can interact with various electronic devices, allowing you to explore how they work and even control some of them.
This open-source tool reached its funding goal on Kickstarter in 2020, underlining its appeal to a niche community.
Dolphin hack: What can you do with a Flipper Zero
The buzz around Flipper Zero grew, especially on TikTok, where it was featured in numerous videos of hackers and aspiring script kiddies playing mischief in public places.
These clips showcased hackers using Flipper Zero to switch off electronic menus in fast-food joints, remotely access the charging ports of unsuspecting Tesla owners, and even alter gas prices on fuel station displays. The operation was seemingly as simple as pointing the device at a target system, like a remote control, and pressing a button.
Whether turning off a screen, changing display numbers, or opening a charging port, Flipper Zero appeared to do it all.
Yet, these videos painted a picture of Flipper Zero as a universal key for IoT, which is somewhat misleading. What is Flipper Zero, if not an all-access pass to modern electronics? In truth, this representation is an exaggeration, and most of the videos were probably staged, necessitating considerable planning and setup to achieve the portrayed effects.
Flipper Zero capabilities
What is Flipper Zero? It’s not merely a mischievous gadget but rather a potent and user-friendly instrument for exploring cybersecurity in the tangible world.
While the device may not have the capability to alter every wireless gadget it encounters, it does possess the ability to interpret the signals emitted by various wireless devices.
This feature enables it to divulge significant details about a wide array of electronic instruments, even though it can’t quite alter gas prices with a mere button push.
For instance, Flipper Zero’s capabilities extend to:
- Identifying the facial recognition signals emitted by an iPhone, as well as the frequency of those emissions.
- Reading a random person’s car tire pressure sensor data.
- Accessing the body temperature of a dog through an embedded animal microchip.
- Capturing and storing the signal from a garage door opener.
- Cloning a building entry card.
However, the limitations are also notable. What is Flipper Zero’s scope? It can’t modify gas station signs, replicate credit or debit cards, or switch off displays at fast-food places. Despite these constraints, the Flipper Zero can still perform some exceptionally cool and practical tasks:
Analyzing car key signals
Its sub-GHz wireless antenna can detect signals from car key fobs. Recording them is possible, although replaying them won’t unlock modern cars due to the “rolling codes” feature that alters the code with each use.
Universal infrared device management
Flipper Zero is equipped with an infrared module, allowing it to be programmed to operate a broad spectrum of devices like TVs and AC units. An intriguing application of this infrared feature is to test the functionality of other infrared remote controls.
Interaction with NFC technology
In today’s tech-savvy world, NFC is ubiquitous, and Flipper Zero provides the means to interact with this wireless protocol. While it can read NFC cards, decoding the card’s encrypted security code (known by various three-letter abbreviations like CSC, CVV, CVC, CAV) is beyond its reach.
Engagement with RFID tags and cards
In conjunction with NFC, Flipper Zero can engage with RFID, even reading a hotel key card. Some RFID cards and tags can be locked to hinder overwriting, but Flipper Zero has the capability to circumvent certain lock mechanisms, as demonstrated when it offers to unlock the card with a valid reader.
How does Flipper Zero work?
Flipper Zero is designed with a variety of antennas that enable it to capture, store, replicate, and imitate wireless signals, interacting with a multitude of signal types:
- NFC: Commonly found in bank cards and building access cards.
- 125kHz RFID: Utilized in older proximity cards and animal microchips.
- Infrared: A frequent component in many remote controls.
- Sub-1 GHz: Employed in garage door remotes and remote keyless systems for communication.
The operation of Flipper Zero is rather straightforward. To read a wireless signal, the user positions Flipper Zero near the signal source, chooses the program corresponding to the signal type, and selects “Read.” Flipper Zero then commits the signal type to memory, where the user can later access it and emulate the signal. It’s essential to note that while Flipper Zero can read NFC bank cards, it does not permit users to save and emulate them.
The allure of Flipper Zero lies in its adaptability. Demonstrating its abilities through three uncomplicated hacks, Flipper Zero can showcase its capabilities with radio signal communication and other means. Whether unlocking a car using a radio fob, taking command of a TV through infrared, or generating a two-factor authentication token for websites, Flipper Zero’s range of applications adds to its appeal, answering the question: What is Flipper Zero?
Is Flipper Zero legal?
What is Flipper Zero’s standing with legal authorities? In September 2022, Flipper Zero disclosed via its social media channels that U.S. Customs and Border Patrol had intercepted a shipment of Flipper Zeros. Despite this incident, it’s crucial to understand that the device itself is legal, though it possesses the capacity to be utilized unlawfully.
The makers of Flipper Zero explicitly advise against employing the device to interfere with systems or gadgets for which the user lacks authorized access. As a safeguard, the firmware within Flipper Zero restricts users from transmitting frequencies that are prohibited within the country of usage.
Interestingly, Flipper Zero has been barred from Amazon, labeled as a card-skimming apparatus. This ban doesn’t diminish its popularity or accessibility, as there exists a third-party Flipper locator application. This handy tool enables enthusiasts to track Flipper restocks by country and vendor, ensuring that interested parties can still find the device.
Flipper Zero exists within a complex legal framework, balancing its innovative capabilities with the need for responsible and lawful usage. Understanding what Flipper Zero is and how it should be used can help to ensure that users stay within legal boundaries while exploring its exciting potential.
Best Flipper Zero firmware
Wondering what Flipper Zero’s firmware updating process is like? Whether you’re interested in upgrading the existing firmware or exploring the world of custom third-party firmware, here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:
- Download and install the Flipper Mobile app, suitable for iPhone or Android users, or opt for qFlipper if you’re on Windows, macOS, or Linux.
- Hook up the Flipper Zero to your smartphone via Bluetooth or connect it to your desktop or laptop using a USB cable.
- Once you’ve fired up the app, the home screen will promptly inform you of any available updates.
If you’re curious about third-party firmware, you might want to begin with DarkFlipper Unleashed. This option offers you the comfort of the firmware that originally came with Flipper Zero, but with enhanced features. It extends the sub-GHz frequency range by lifting geo-location restrictions and introduces numerous NFC-related functionalities, along with an array of enjoyable extras like games.
There are multiple options for performing the update. The Web Updater method comes highly recommended – simply connect your Flipper Zero to your desktop or laptop, or through the iOS/Android app.
Flipper Zero accessories
There are 4 available Flipper Zero accessories, all carefully designed to enhance the functionality and versatility of the device.
They can be bought from the official Flipper shop: