The Canadian government has banned the sale of Flipper Zero and similar gadgets in a bid to stem a surge in car thefts
The Canadian government officially banned it sell Flipper Zero and similar gadgets to stop the surge in car thefts in the country.
According to Canadian government officials, the Flipper Zero and similar devices are the main tools that thieves have begun to widely use to steal many modern cars by intercepting RFID tags and cloning NFC keys. Criminals use these gadgets to unlock car alarms, open garage doors and clone digital keys to gain access to the interior.
example using by a car owner of the Flipper Zero gadget to clone his factory key and open the car is shown in the video below.
“Criminals use sophisticated tools to steal cars. And Canadians are rightly concerned. We prohibit the import, sale and use of consumer hacking devices such as the Flipper Zero that were used to commit these crimes,” said Industry Canada Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne.
According to the Canadian government, about 90,000 cars are stolen each year (or one car every six minutes), with car theft causing an annual loss of $1 billion, including insurance costs and stolen car payments. Canadian police have reported that vehicle thefts have picked up significantly since the end of 2021 and increased in 2022.
The Government of Canada’s Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development said the agency “will use every opportunity to ban devices used to steal vehicles by copying wireless signals for remote keyless entry, such as the Flipper Zero, which will allow these devices to be removed from the Canadian market through cooperation with law enforcement agencies.”
The developer company Flipper Devices said that their gadget cannot be used to steal cars that have been on the market for the past two decades.
“Flipper Zero cannot be used to steal any car, especially those manufactured after the 1990s, as their security systems use dynamic codes. In addition, in order to catch the original signal, you need to bypass active blocking of the signal from the owner, which the Flipper Zero equipment is not capable of. Flipper Zero is designed for testing and developing security systems, and we have taken the necessary precautions to ensure that the device cannot be used for malicious purposes,” explained Flipper Devices COO Alex Kulagin.
At the beginning of February 2023, Canadian engineer Peter Fairley showed how, with the help of an IR LED matrix and the standard option “signal generator” in Flipper Zero, it is possible to turn on the green wave at traffic lights for the passage of special vehicles.
In April of last year, a review of the Flipper Zero was published on the technical channel Linus Tech Tips. The founder of the channel, Linus Sebastian, tried to understand whether this gadget is too dangerous to be widely available to consumers, or whether it is simply an unfounded fear, since the device itself does not violate the laws of the countries where it is sold or shipped by the manufacturer. According to Sebastian, Flipper Zero is actually one of the most versatile hacking tools ever to hit the market. He believes that the real capabilities of the gadget, including reading and storing data and emulating signals, are not only limited, but can be almost completely replicated using an Arduino or Raspberry Pi along with available add-on boards and modules.