Hacker Cloning Tool Goes Viral, But How Dangerous Is It? – NBC Chicago


Flipper Zero went viral as social media platforms were flooded with video clips showing people using the $200 hacking device to open cars, secure doors, and even doors to private buildings.

“It’s really versatile. “It’s very easy to use and it’s opening up a whole new world,” said information security expert Matthew Jakubowski, CEO of Crowd Control. It can block certain things like badges or garage door openers.

The small, portable device is packed with electronic sensors and radios that intercept and repeat signals from another wireless device. Flipper Zero is designed for beginners and advanced security professionals alike.

“When plugged into a computer, you can write scripts that run multiple commands,” adds Jakubowski.

However, both Jakubowski and security expert Chris Carlisle of the Dolos team say the Flipper Zero viral videos are a bit overblown.

“The potential dangers of flappers are not as serious as they are made out to be in these videos,” Carlisle said.

A video of the cloning device unlocking a car only works once, they say, because most cars have rolling code technology.

“If you’re walking away from your car and you hear it lock and you hear the sound doing the same thing again, take a second and try to go back and check because that person might be blocking it,” Jakubowski warned.

Also, the Flipper Zero should be close enough to block a remote control signal and close enough to block your key fob or security badge.

“With the Flipper Zero, the reading range is effectively zero. You’ve got to have it right on the bench,” Carlisle said. “There are other tools that attackers can use to effectively read up to 18 inches away.”

Amazon confirmed to the NBC5 Investigators that it banned Flipper Zero from being sold on its website in April.

An Amazon spokesperson issued the following statement via email.

“Third-party sellers are independent businesses and are required to follow all applicable laws, regulations, and Amazon guidelines when listing items for sale in our store. We have proactive measures in place to prevent the listing of prohibited products and regularly monitor our store. Violators of our policies will be subject to action, including the possibility of having their account removed.”

“They labeled it as a skimmer. So, it’s a credit card fraud that they don’t allow,” Jakubowski explained.

However, Carlisle warns that there are easy ways for attackers to get hold of someone’s credit card information.

“You’re more at risk of someone just taking a picture of your credit card and flipping it over and finding the little CID number on the back,” Carlisle said.

Both security professionals use Flipper Zero for their personal devices.

“Occasionally, I would forget my badge when I left the office and I would have to go back and pick it up. But now I’ve got my work badge on my Flipper Zero and it’s in my bag,” Carlisle said.

“It’s a nice little Swiss Army knife of electronics,” adds Jakubowski. “I’ve had a lot of studios and I have to go in and instead of bringing four or five key cards that I used to have, now I can just bring this one.”

NBC 5 Investigates reached out to Flipper Zero multiple times to ask about their equipment, but they did not respond.

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