What is a Flipper Zero? Viral TikTok hacking tool that can control a Tesla

flipper zeroFlipper Zero

The Flipper Zero has gained significant attention on TikTok. But is this seemingly harmless device as innocent as it appears?

Originally introduced through Kickstarter, the Flipper Zero may look cute and innocent. But looks can be deceiving, and the Flipper Zero is capable of doing more than you expect.

This tiny gadget has a colorful exterior, features a monochrome display and cute dolphin graphics, yet it is an incredibly potent cybersecurity tool. If used by someone with the right knowledge, it can hack into various devices and systems.

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The Kickstarter listing for Flipper Zero refers to it as an “Open source multi-tool device for researching and pentesting radio protocols, access control systems, hardware, and more.”

In simpler terms, the Flipper Zero is equipped with an array of sensors that can scan and interact with various RFID and NFC signals. These can be employed to imitate keycards or radio signals. It can also manage to imitate sub-wave signals for a multitude of devices. Unsurprisingly, this gadget has become a sensation on TikTok and other social platforms.

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What can the Flipper Zero do?

The Flipper Zero houses radio and wireless equipment that can fool around with screens or even a Tesla. Currently, Tesla’s charging hatch uses a particular frequency that isn’t usually available to those the general public. With this available through the Flipper Zero, it has led to pranksters causing havoc in parking lots.

It even has infrared, so you can point it and mess about with displays in stores. Don’t worry, it won’t be able to broadcast images on the screens themselves. You can only turn them off and on, or change a channel, like a TV remote.

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Additionally, the Flipper Zero also has GPIO pins at the top of the device. General Purpose Input/Output pins are often found on microcontrollers and Raspberry Pis. These pins can take in external devices – like the Wi-Fi module – and be put to use alongside Flipper’s broad spectrum of tools.

One of the best things we’ve seen has to be the Amiibo emulator. All you need to do is press a button, and get an Amiibo bonus in your Switch games. That’s as long as you copy your physical Amiibo to the Flipper Zero first.

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It’s mostly harmless

The security concern comes from a slightly misinformed place. They believe it could lead to people getting access to things that they normally wouldn’t be able to control. In reality, the majority of its functions can be replicated by a smartphone. On top of this, it requires a lot of effort in order to code to do those nefarious deeds. It’s all just a bit harmless, and a lot of fun. It can be used for those applications, but the majority of users won’t’ delve that deep.

When scanning credit cards, the device doesn’t store some essential information. You’ll only get the card’s long number, and the type of card. You couldn’t then use that data to pay for something, like Apple Pay, as it wouldn’t have the encryption data needed to make the transaction.

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However, if you lost a fob, or your keys, you can easily use the device to replace it. This could potentially save you cash, as you can just store all your digital keys directly on the device. You can open all manner of gates and doors, as long as you clone the keys first.

Is the Flipper Zero dangerous?

The Flipper Zero is an amazing device and one that has been grossly misunderstood on social media. It’s for tinkering, accessing doors, and testing security. The device is aimed at geeks and hardcore red-team penetration testers. Only after putting in a lot of effort, will it do harm to the general public.

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