Do You Speak Flipper?

Happy Holidays, by the way. I’ve spent today not working. In fact, I’ve done very little today other than drive to my sister in-laws, have some food, and be part of a large gathering. (Which as an introvert… has left me pretty exhausted. I really should write about that in the future).

But that’s not what I want to talk about today (although I hope you had the day you wanted if you were celebrating… and if not, I hope you had an awesome day doing whatever you were doing)!

Today, I want to talk about something I’ve just ordered… a Dolphin.. or rather, a Flipper Zero. It’s a device that I’ve been thinking about ordering for some time. When I first found out about it, I was a little too late for its original Kickstarter, but It wasn’t yet being sold commercially. Then, it was sold out, and it was nigh-on-impossible to find.

Flipper Zero - Picture from Flipper Zero's creators.
Do you speak Dolphin?

I’ve seen it for sale on Amazon, but 1) I don’t like buying things on Amazon, and 2) the Amazon listings were very, very expensive.

I’d kind of given up on getting one any time soon, but on Christmas Eve I found that it was being sold on the Flipper Zero website for its original price, complete with all of its available accessories. Better still, it was available for less than the models being sold on Amazon, with the cost of buying one plus all of its current accessing direct being less than the Amazon price gouging.

So I purchased one. With all the doobries that you can get for it.

Better still? I checked today, and the entire site is sold out already. It seems that somehow, I ordered my Flipper Zero at the exact point where there were units in stock, all the accessories in stock, and people hadn’t figured out there’d been a new batch made available.

I’m very lucky.

Great! But what is it?

To put it as simply as I can, the Flipper Zero is a multi-tool device that features most of the common radio technology found in computers today. It’s built using open-source methodology, and it’s designed to help pentesting devices, be they commercially produced devices or hobbyist DIY affairs.

(Pentesting, or Penetration Testing, is effectively a form of ethical hacking, where you try to hack into hardware or software to see just how secure it is. The important thing about pentesting is that if you are engaging in it, you’re not doing it for illegal or nefarious purposes.)

Yes, it’s a hacking tool, and in some places around the world, it’s considered an illegal device. But I don’t view devices like this as inherently illegal. I view them as useful cybersecurity tools in the right hands.

I know I’m doing a terrible job of explaining this, so.. y’know, let’s show you this instead:

So you’re going to hack s*&t?

Tough question. Pentesting, by its very definition does involve ethical hacking. But I’m not going to be using this device for the purposes of personal gain or fraud.

Instead, I plan on using it to see just how secure things are I use every day – like Apple Pay, Car Keys, and RFID tags/Logs. I’m going to make some videos for TransportEvolved on EV security and charging station security. I’m also planning on doing some home automation projects. If I can learn various RFID and IR controls, then I can have a universal remote I can keep with me rather than a gazillion remotes.

Queenie Deerhart Pursuit.
No, there are no pockets. Which means hiding key cards for later use (and then misplacing them) is a big thing.

I’m also hoping I can figure out how to get a re-programmable RFID card embedded into my fursuits so I can unlock my hotel room at a convention without taking the hotel RFID card with me. This might seem silly, but I’ve actually been locked out of my hotel room before with no ID because I’d lost my hotel key card… while dressed as a giant, time-traveling Border Collie. I know this use is going to be… a little grey in its ethicality, but since the hotel key cards are erased after every guest leaves, I don’t feel bad about trying this as a neat work-around that means I don’t loose key cards.

I don’t know when it’s going to arrive, but I’m very eager to learn more. So I’m going to be spending some of my not a lot of time off for the holidays reading up on the device, its documentation, and its alternative firmware.

It’s going to be fun. And yeah, Flipper does some crazy tricks too (but that’s not why I’ve purchased one).