Amazon has banned the incredibly versatile Flipper Zero pen-testing tool on its platform, labeling it as a prohibited card-skimming device.
The Flipper Zero almost looks like a kid’s toy, with a white and orange exterior and a picture of a dolphin on the top of the screen. But the device can be used for tasks like opening garage doors, altering price signs at gas stations, unlocking car doors, intercepting Bluetooth signals, or even gaining access to someone’s computer. Flipper Zero can also gain access to keyless entry codes, which are typically protected by RFID-controlled locks.
The device went viral on TikTok last year, with users showing off how the cute little gadget could quickly turn them into amateur hackers. Among its capabilities, it’s possible to use the device to read a credit card number through a wallet and pants.
Flipper Zero’s co-creator Alex Kulagin told Wired that the device is intended for educational purposes and hobbyists’ entertainment. “We want to help you understand something deeply, explore how it works, and explore the wireless world that’s all around you but difficult to understand,” he told the outlet.
As the device rose in popularity, Amazon stepped in and decided it wants nothing to do with this thing. A quick search on the site reveals Flipper Zero is not available for purchase anywhere on the site. The only items listed are WiFi dev boards for the device and Flipper Zero field kits. Prior links directing customers to purchase the device now show an “unavailable” page or say, “Sorry, we couldn’t find that page. Try searching or go to Amazon’s home page,” Bleeping Computer reported.
The outlet included an image of Amazon’s message on a former Flipper Zero page, which has since been removed, that notified users: “This product has been identified as a card skimming device. Amazon policy prohibits the sale or listing of card skimming devices.” The notice continues, “We took this action because this product is not permitted for sale on Amazon.com. It is your obligation to make sure the products you offer comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and Amazon’s policies.”
Amazon did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.
The company’s policies prohibit the sale of lock picking and theft devices and specifically include “card skimming devices” as an example. Although Flipper Zero is no longer available on Amazon, it can still be purchased directly through the company’s site for $169.
And while Kulagin told Wired that the devices do have the potential to become a threat, he emphasized: “That is not Flipper’s fault.” He added, “There are bad people out there, and they can do bad stuff with any computer. We aren’t intending to break laws.”
Flipper did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.
Update 4/7/2023 at 9:22 PM:
This article originally incorrectly called the Flipper Zero’s mascot a duck. It is actually a dolphin.