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What is Pinball Zero? The hacking tool goes viral on TikTok, explained

What is Pinball Zero? The hacking tool goes viral on TikTok, explained

#Pinball #hacking #tool #viral #TikTok #explained Welcome to InNewCL, here is the new story we have for you today:

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In the United States, countless buildings, from government offices to your nearest hotel room door, are protected by RFID-controlled locks. On a recent visit to my office, I passed nearly 20 of these keyless entry systems, some of the most widely used in the world. But a playful palm-sized device with a Tamagotchi-esque interface can likely pry the locks on many of those doors.

The $200 device is called Flipper Zero, and it’s a portable pentest tool designed for hackers of all technical skill levels. Smaller than a phone, easy to hide, the tool is packed with an array of radios and sensors that you can use to intercept signals from keyless entry systems, IoT sensors, garage doors, NFC cards, and just about any other device that communicates wirelessly over short distances. For example, in just a few seconds, I used the Flipper Zero to seamlessly clone the signal from an office RFID badge tucked securely in my wallet.

If you only heard about Pinball Zero via TikTok, where the tool went viral, you might think it was a toy that could make ATMs spit out money, cars unlock themselves, and squirt gas out of pumps for free. I’ve spent the last week testing one to see if the world is as vulnerable to Pinball Zero as social media makes it out to be. What I found was mixed: Many of the most dramatic videos posted on TikTok are probably staged — most modern wireless devices aren’t vulnerable to simple replay attacks — but the Pinball Zero is still undeniably powerful, offering aspiring hackers and new tool for experienced pen testers to examine the security of the world’s most widely used wireless devices.

In reviews, people liken Flipper Zero to a Swiss Army knife for physical penetration testing. But in my week of testing Pinball Zero, it felt more like a black light – something I could literally hold up to a device that was revealing information invisible to the human eye about how it worked, what data it was sending out and how often did this.

Here’s a short list of some of the things I learned this week using Flipper Zero: Some animal microchips will tell you your pet’s body temperature. My neighbor’s car tire pressure sensor relays data to anyone within range of the signal. My iPhone bombards my face with infrared signals every few seconds. My home security system has built-in signal interference detection. WIRED’s office bathroom has a soap dispenser that sends if a refill is needed.

When I told Alex Kulagin, one of the co-creators of Pinball Zero, about my experience using his tool to make these kinds of everyday observations, he explained that the device was designed to do just that. “We want to help you understand something deeply, explore how it works, and explore the wireless world that’s all around you but hard to understand,” he says.

Kulagin and his business partner Pavel Zhovner first came up with the idea for Pinball Zero in 2019. Since then, her company has sold 150,000 devices and grown her team to almost 50 employees. But as they have grown, they have encountered resistance. This summer, more than $1.3 million in payments were stopped by PayPal, and in September, US Customs and Border Protection seized a shipment of equipment. According to Kulagin, CBP released the shipment after a month, but has yet to tell the company why it held the shipment. CBP declined WIRED’s request for comment on the confiscated Pinball Zeros.

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