Police departments in major cities have been put on alert over the Flipper Zero hacking tool and expressed concern over its potential use by racially motivated extremists, documents obtained by the Daily Dot show.
In an April 6, 2023 bulletin from the South Dakota Fusion Center (SDFC), which compiles and shares intelligence with law enforcement regarding perceived domestic threats, warnings were given about the possibility of extremist groups seeking to utilize the popular device.
“The NYPD Intelligence and Counterterrorism Bureau (ICB) assesses that racially and ethnically motivated violent extremists (REMVEs) may seek to exploit the hacking capabilities of a new cyber penetration tester, known as the Flipper Zero, in order to bypass access control systems,” the bulletin states.
REMVEs are described as any “loosely organized movement of individuals and groups that espouse some combination of racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, misogynistic, and homophobic ideology,” a report from the Rand Corporation states.
“The majority of REMVE actors are motivated by cultural nationalism or White supremacy—beliefs that Caucasian or ‘Aryan’ peoples represent superior races, and that ‘White culture’ is superior to other cultures,” the report adds.
In the intelligence bulletin, which the Daily Dot obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the NYPD ICB is said to be monitoring discussions of the Flipper Zero on the messaging app Telegram among groups such as “domestic and international hackers, hobbyists, doomsday preppers, and most notably, REMVEs and accelerationists.”
The Flipper Zero is a portable and digital multi-tool that can hack everything from radio protocols to access control systems. The device is capable of cloning RFID cards, such as those used to open hotel rooms, and has been shown to be able to bypass the security on certain brands of electronic safes. While the device is able to perform some impressive feats, its capabilities have also been greatly exaggerated in staged TikTok videos.
While the NYPD ICB admits that it has not observed REMVEs “explicitly discuss the potential for Flipper Zero…