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Canada Moves to Ban Flipper Zero Amid Car Theft Concerns

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The Canadian government appears set to ban the import, sale, and use of the versatile hacking tool Flipper Zero to combat car thefts. This emerges from an X report published by the Canadian Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry on Thursday, confirmed by a press release from the Canadian government.

The government is taking “immediate action to combat auto theft,” the statement said. This includes measures to ban devices “used for vehicle theft by copying wireless signals for keyless access to vehicles, such as the Flipper Zero.”

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The Flipper Zero is a mobile and programmable device for conducting penetration tests. It features various interfaces for communication with other devices, such as Bluetooth, RFID, NFC, infrared, and various sub-1-GHz frequencies. The Flipper Zero recently gained attention because it can generate annoying pop-ups on smartphones and computers via Bluetooth.

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Read Also: Flipper Zero Explained, Overview, Usage, Features & Technical Specification

Vehicle Theft Allegedly Not Possible

Alex Kulagin, COO of Flipper Devices, criticizes the ban in Canada. The Flipper Zero cannot be used to steal vehicles, “especially not those manufactured after the 1990s, as their security systems have rolling codes,” he told Gizmodo. The device is intended for security testing and development, and the manufacturer has taken precautions to ensure it cannot be used for malicious purposes.

While there are several videos online allegedly showing vehicles being unlocked using a Flipper Zero, according to Kulagin, these are usually staged videos or attacks on “very old vehicles.”

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Even if an attacker were able to intercept the key signal and unlock the vehicle, they still couldn’t start the car with the Flipper Zero. “For any modern vehicle with rolling codes, it is practically useless,” Kulagin said.

Criticism For Flipper Zero Also Comes From Other Directions

However, Kulagin is not the only one critical of the Flipper Zero ban in Canada. “You can also use screwdrivers to steal cars,” writes one user on X.

Another X user warns that the Flipper and similar tools are merely simple ARM processors equipped with a range of sensors.

Indeed, a Raspberry Pi could be used for similar purposes with some tinkering. Whether the Canadian government will also ban the popular single-board computer remains questionable.

Canada is not the first country to take action against Flipper Zero. Brazilian authorities began confiscating the hacking tools in the spring of 2023. These tools could be used not only by security researchers but also by criminals, the argument goes.

Read Also:

The Flipper Zero Can Flood Your iPhone and Android with Spam. But There’s a (Simple) Way to Stop It

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