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Following Ban, Flipper Zero Creators Say They’re Being Scapegoated for Car Thefts

Photo: Shutterstock-Pixelsquid (Shutterstock)

The Flipper Zero has been under scrutiny ever since last month when Canadian officials claimed that it was to blame for a rise in car thefts in the country and proposed a ban on the popular (and cheap) penetration-testing device.

This week, the multi-tools’ developers published a statement on their site arguing that they have been unfairly singled out as the hacker boogeymen behind Canada’s car theft problem. They also urge web users to sign a petition denouncing the proposed Flipper ban. “We believe that proposals like this are harmful to security and slow down technological progress,” the post reads. “They are usually made by those who do not really understand how security works and will do nothing to solve the car theft problem.”

In February, the Canadian Minister of Public Safety’s office said it would pursue “all avenues to ban devices used to steal vehicles by copying the wireless signals for remote keyless entry, such as the Flipper Zero.” The statement came directly after a summit focused on “finding solutions to the growing challenge of auto theft in Canada.” Canadian officials have insisted that the Flipper is one of the primary offenders when it comes to the theft of keyless cars in the country.

Meanwhile, Alex Kulagin, the COO of Flipper Devices, has claimed that the devices “can’t be used to hijack any car.” In their blog, the Flipper’s developers note that there are tools that are specifically made for breaking into keyless car systems—what are known as “signal repeaters”—that you can freely purchase online. Such tools will intercept signals sent by a car’s key fob and relay them to a hacker’s device, allowing for the remote entry into and activation of the vehicle. The Flipper, conversely, does not have the same kind of computing power as these devices and is a less practical choice of tool for such an endeavor, the developers argue.

The developers also doubled down on an argument they’ve previously made, which is that government officials should be more interested in regulating the tech industry to make widely used software more secure rather than punishing people who poke holes in industry defenses.

“Instead of banning cybersecurity tools capable of finding vulnerabilities in security systems, these vulnerabilities must be fixed,” the statement reads. “The cybersecurity industry has long recognized that bans do not fix insecure systems, but instead only cause more problems by creating a false impression that proper measures have been taken.”

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