Canada To Implement Ban on Flipper Zero to Combat Rising Car Theft Epidemic

Flipper Zero

The Canadian authorities have announced their intention to prohibit the Flipper Zero along with devices of a similar nature, labeling them as instruments utilized by criminals for automobile theft.

The Flipper Zero, a versatile and programmable device designed for penetration testing, facilitates the exploration and troubleshooting of various hardware and digital interfaces across numerous protocols such as RFID, radio, NFC, infrared, and Bluetooth.

Since its launch, the capabilities of the Flipper Zero have been highlighted in online videos, where users have demonstrated its ability to perform replay attacks to unlock vehicles, open garage entries, ring doorbells, and duplicate a variety of digital keys.

"Advanced tools have been employed by offenders to commit vehicle theft, causing concern among Canadians," stated Fran├žois-Philippe Champagne, the Canadian Minister of Industry, in a tweet on Wednesday.

He further declared, "We are taking action by prohibiting the importation, sale, and utilization of hacking devices aimed at consumers, like flippers, which are implicated in these offenses."

This declaration was made in the wake of a national conference aimed at addressing vehicle theft, convened by the Canadian government in Ottawa, Ontario.

The Canadian government reports that approximately 90,000 vehicles, translating to one vehicle every six minutes, are stolen annually, leading to $1 billion in yearly losses. These figures include expenses related to insurance for the repair and replacement of stolen vehicles.

This information is in line with the latest statistics from the Canadian government agency, Statistics Canada, indicating a rise in reported vehicle thefts since 2021.

Furthermore, Canadian law enforcement has identified vehicle theft as a significant contributor to the rise in the national Crime Severity Index for 2022.

The department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), serving as the national regulator for industry and commerce, has expressed its commitment to "explore every possible measure to prohibit the use of devices that facilitate vehicle theft by duplicating the wireless signals of remote keyless systems, including the Flipper Zero. This effort involves collaboration with law enforcement to eliminate these devices from the Canadian market."

Despite the Canadian government's assertion that the Flipper Zero contributes to the surge in vehicle thefts, Flipper Devices, the creators of the gadget, argue that it cannot be used to steal cars manufactured in the last 24 years.

"Flipper Zero is incapable of hijacking any vehicle, especially those produced after the 1990s, due to their advanced security systems equipped with rolling codes," explained Alex Kulagin, COO of Flipper Devices, to Thank You Robot.

He emphasized that the device's hardware lacks the capability to block signals from the vehicle owner to intercept the original signal.

"Flipper Zero is designed for security research and development, with preventive measures in place to deter its misuse for illegal activities."

Moreover, since April 2023, Amazon has ceased selling the Flipper Zero, categorizing it as a device for card skimming. This action followed the seizure of Flipper Zero shipments by the Brazilian National Telecommunications Agency in March 2023, based on allegations of its criminal use.

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