Canada Gov plans to ban the Flipper Zero to curb car thefts

Pierluigi Paganini February 12, 2024

The Canadian government is going to ban the tool Flipper Zero because it is abused by crooks to steal vehicles in the country.

The Canadian government announced that it plans to ban the tool Flipper Zero, and similar hacking devices, to curb the surge in car thefts.

Flipper Zero is a portable multi-tool for pentesters and geeks in a toy-like body. It allows hacking digital stuff, such as radio protocols, access control systems, hardware, and more, reads the official website. The tool is fully open-source and customizable, so you can extend it in whatever way you like.

Car thieves can use the tool to carry out replay attacks that can unlock the vehicles.

“Auto theft is a problem the government can’t tackle alone.” said Canadian Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne. “Criminals have been using sophisticated tools to steal cars. And Canadians are rightfully worried.   Today, I announced we are banning the importation, sale and use of consumer hacking devices, like flippers, used to commit these crimes.”

In Canada, the authorities estimated that 90,000 vehicles are stolen, equating to one car stolen every six minutes. Beyond the social implications, auto theft imposes significant economic burdens on Canadian car owners, resulting in approximately $1 billion in annual losses. This includes substantial costs for insurers, reaching an estimated $542 million annually, to repair or replace stolen vehicles.

“As a participant in the National Summit on Combatting Auto Theft, we recognize the need to coordinate and enhance efforts to combat auto theft in Canada, with a particular focus on regions that are being disproportionately impacted.” reads the Statement of Intent on Combatting Auto Theft published by the Canadian Government. “We recognize that combatting auto theft is complex, consisting of many points of possible deterrence and intervention including prevention, detection, enforcement and recovery.”

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada will work with Canadian companies, and the automotive industry, to develop new solutions to protect vehicles against theft and to assist with recovery of stolen vehicles.

The Canadian government’s Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) is focused on banning any tool that can be abused to steal cars.

ISED will pursue all avenues to ban devices used to steal vehicles by copying the wireless signals for remote keyless entry, such as the Flipper Zero, which would allow for the removal of those devices from the Canadian marketplace through collaboration with law enforcement agencies.” reads a statement from the Canadian Government.

Flipper Zero denied the use of their tool to steal vehicles.

“We’d appreciate it if you could provide any evidence of Flipper Zero being involved in any criminal activities of this kind. We’re not aware of any events like this and frankly speaking not sure what was the reason for this discussion to begin with.” reads a message published by the company on X.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Hacking, Flipper Zero)

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