You might have come across the popular hacking device known as Flipper Zero. The business, which was founded in 2020 in Russia, left the country at the outbreak of the war and has since moved on. It claims that after the sale, it no longer has any connections to Russia and that it expects to sell $80 million worth of items this year of almost $5 million worth of preorders through Kickstarter, and that it sold $25 million worth of devices the previous year.
What exactly are they promoting? Flipper Zero is a “portable gamified multi-tool” for penetration testers, curious nerds, students, and those with more sinister goals who are interested in cybersecurity. You can use the tool to control a variety of things, like wireless devices like garage openers, RFID card systems, remote keyless entry systems, key fobs, and so on. It can basically be programmed to mimic a wide variety of lock systems.
Although I’m not much of a hacker, I’ve been able to access garages, turn on elevators, and open other locking systems that ought to be much beyond my hacking capabilities. The system also works really well. On the one hand, it’s an interesting toy to play with that makes us realize how vulnerable much of the world is. However, I wonder if it’s a good idea to have more than 300,000 hacking tools available that make it simple to intercept signals from car keys and gate openers in order to open those apertures (which, for some inexplicable reason, also include Tesla charge ports).
My breaking point to the amount I’ve had the option to play with it has been basic: I’m too worried to plug any USB device into my computer, but the device needs a software update. A hacking-specific device that was shipped to me from Moscow? That only works with computers that are air-gapped, and I don’t have any spares. It turns out that updating the device using an iOS app is possible, so I might have to give that a shot next. Additionally, the company emphasizes that the firmware is open source and accessible to all.
I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to build this startup in the midst of a war and a lot of sanctions, but the company has found a way to get around that. “Current events will not affect the Flipper Zero production in any way,” the company wrote in an Instagram post, “and all ordered devices will be shipped to backers and those who have pre-ordered, while delays may occur for those from the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries due to regional logistics issues.
Flipper Devices, as a business, stated that its team is “radical against the ongoing’special military operation,’ and none of our team members support it” and that its team “consists of both Ukrainians and Russians.”
UPDATE: An organization representative wishes to explain that the organization isn’t, as a matter of fact, Russian. He says that the company’s CEO is from Ukraine and that more than 10% of the team are from Ukraine. He adds that Flipper Devices is a distributed business that is expanding its headquarters to London. The statement “Flipper Devices do not ship devices to Russia, do not hire in Russia, and worked to move all of their employees out of Russia” is also included.Some of their employees may travel to Russia to visit family or for other personal reasons because they hold Russian passports.
UPDATE: I added a note to the previous article stating that the device can be updated using an iOS app rather than a USB cable.