What is Flipper Zero: A closer look at the viral hacking tool

Emre Çitak
Aug 14, 2023

Flipper Zero is an unassuming device, while touted as a hacker's delight, has garnered significant attention due to its powerful capabilities, simple interface, and potential applications in cybersecurity.

So what is Flipper Zero and what makes it stand out among the sea of gadgets?

In this comprehensive exploration, we delve into the depths of Flipper Zero, understanding its functionalities, its legal implications, and its unique positioning in cybersecurity.

Flipper Zero
Flipper Zero is a portable multi-functional device designed for interaction with various wireless signals, including RFID, NFC, radio remotes, and more - Image courtesy of Flipper Zero

What is Flipper Zero?

Flipper Zero is a portable hacking tool that has managed to garner attention across platforms, most notably on TikTok. Unlike fleeting trends on social media.

Flipper Zero is not just a gimmick; it is a robust tool that caters to a wide audience ranging from seasoned penetration testers to those dipping their toes into the world of hacking. It's important to note that, despite its playful appearance, Flipper Zero serves as both a serious testing tool and an educational resource for aspiring hackers.

Flipper Zero capabilities

Envisioned as a cyber X-ray, Flipper Zero is designed to expose vulnerabilities in the world around us. This multi-tool device is the product of successful crowdfunding on Kickstarter in 2020, emphasizing its credibility and potential.

Despite gaining prominence through TikTok, where videos portrayed hackers performing various feats with the device, it's crucial to discern that some of these presentations were likely staged and required significant preparation.

See how Flipper Zero Official TikTok account describes the device below.


While reading 125kHz RFID cards Flipper Zero detects the proper protocol and modulation of the card automatically. To support the maximum number of card vendors, Flipper switches reader protocols in a loop. ? There are two modulation types in 125 kHz RFID — Amplitude Shift Keying (ASK) and Phase Shift Keying (PSK). ??Remember that you should hold the card while Flipper Zero detects its protocol. Circle animations indicate each phase of card detection.? Wait until both steps are finished while reading the card. #flipperzero #flipperzerotutorials

? original sound - Flipper Zero Official

Nonetheless, Flipper Zero can genuinely interact with a spectrum of electronic devices and wireless signals, offering insights and information that can prove invaluable in the realm of cybersecurity.

Some of Flipper Zero's capabilities include:

  • Reading a stranger's car tire pressure sensor data
  • Detecting an animal's chip ID
  • Analyzing iPhone signals for facial recognition
  • Recording signals from garage door openers
  • Cloning building entry cards

How does Flipper Zero work?

Central to Flipper Zero's capabilities are its various antennas that allow it to capture, store, clone, and emulate wireless signals. These antennas enable it to interact with different signal types, such as NFC, 125kHz RFID, infrared, and Sub-1 GHz frequencies.

The process is straightforward: users bring Flipper Zero close to the signal source, select the corresponding program, and initiate reading. The captured signal can then be saved and later emulated, expanding the device's potential in practical applications.

Flipper Zero's versatility is further demonstrated through its ability to unlock cars using radio fobs, control infrared-equipped TVs, and create two-factor authentication tokens for websites.

What is the best Flipper Zero firmware?

When it comes to getting the most out of your Flipper Zero, choosing the right firmware is paramount. Firmware plays a crucial role in defining the capabilities, stability, and overall performance of your device.

The official Flipper Zero firmware releases, maintained on GitHub, provide a series of updates and improvements over time. These updates address bugs, introduce new features, and enhance overall functionality.

Flipper Zero
Flipper Zero can read, copy, emulate, and interact with a wide range of wireless signals, such as RFID tags, NFC cards, and radio remotes - Image courtesy of Flipper Zero

If you value stability and official support, keeping your Flipper Zero firmware up to date with the latest official release is a reliable option.

Flipper Zero also offers three distinct firmware update channels to cater to different user preferences:

  • Development (Dev): This channel offers the latest features but may be less stable and potentially unstable. It is recommended for those who want to stay at the cutting edge of features and improvements
  • Release-Candidate (RC): The RC channel offers a version that has undergone validation testing. It strikes a balance between new features and stability, making it suitable for those seeking a compromise between innovation and reliability
  • Release: The stable Release firmware is extensively tested, ensuring a reliable experience. It's the go-to option for general users who prioritize stability and reliability

Is Flipper Zero legal to use?

Addressing the legal aspects, Flipper Zero occupies an interesting space. While it has the potential to be a security threat if misused, it is not inherently dangerous. To engineer a security attack using Flipper Zero would require careful planning and intent.

It's best suited for light penetration testing and general reconnaissance, aimed at enhancing cybersecurity awareness and understanding.

As for its legality, despite occasional hiccups like customs seizure, the device itself is legal. However, it's important to stress that users should only employ Flipper Zero within ethical boundaries and with proper authorization.

Featured image credit: Flipper Zero


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