If you’re a hacker, a cyber security researcher, or an enthusiast who wants to crack devices and break into WiFi networks, you would typically have to assemble a bunch of tools—none of which are easy to use or carry around.
Thanks to new-age hacking tools like Pwnagotchi and Flipper Zero you no longer have to deal with unwieldy devices or worry about being seen as a security threat when you’re hacking into stuff or testing how penetrable a network is.
Flipper Zero is the better tool between Pwnagotchi and Flipper Zero. Not only is Flipper Zero more versatile but works on multiple signal types and scenarios.
That said, it’s always good to dig deeper into the two tools before making a choice. Let’s find out more about what Pwnagotchi and Flipper Zero offer.
- What is Pwnagotchi?
- What is Flipper Zero?
- Pwnagotchi vs Flipper Zero – Core Features
- Flipper Zero vs Pwangotchi – Use Cases
- Pwnagotchi vs Flipper Zero – Design and Build
- Flipper Zero vs Pwangotchi – Upgrades and Extensions
- Pwnagotchi vs Flipper Zero – Price
- Similarities and Differences
- Pros and Cons
- Pwnagotchi vs Flipper Zero – Final Verdict
What is Pwnagotchi?
Pwangotchi is an exceptional device built for WiFi hacking, auditing, and deep reinforcement learning. It was created from the minds of Simone Margaritelli, a renowned security researcher and a hacker who goes by the moniker hexwaxwing.
The Pwnagotchi is an open source, handheld tool with an A2C-based “AI ” that’s useful for snooping on WPA/WPA2-protected networks.
However, unlike most other AIs designed for reinforcement learning, Pwnagotchi takes gamification to a new level by refining its own parameters with each WiFi environment it’s exposed to, making it better at capturing and cracking WPA key material.
The build nature of Pwnagotchi was crafted with two main goals in mind: to give hackers and geeks a reason to gain real-world knowledge about WiFi networking and reinforcement learning and an excuse to leave their houses and walk around town.
Pwnagotchi’s name and design pay tribute to the Tamagotchi, a wildly popular children’s toy from the 1990s which holds great personal and cultural sentiments for lots of millennial hackers as one of the electronic toys that marked their formative years.
It’s a cheap, easy-to-use device that can help launch your foray or dive deeper into the world of wireless security and ethical hacking.
Since the software was released in September 2019, it has gained widespread acclaim in the hacker and cybersecurity niche. It even has an active community of hundreds of users constantly working to improve it with modifications and new features.
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What is Flipper Zero?
Flipper Zero is a portable WiFi hacking device designed for geeks, penetration testers, security professionals, and curious novices.
It enables users to crack into digital networks, hardware, access control systems, radio protocols, and more, giving them access to passwords and other sensitive information that may be stored on devices connected to them.
The great thing about Flipper Zero is that it brings together all the hardware and tools you need for hacking and exploring on the go in one small device that you can take with you anywhere.
With Flipper Zero, you can walk around your neighborhood or whatever locality you find yourself in and use the device to interact with real-world digital systems.
Flipper brings fun and excitement to development and hacking by turning it into a game, pushing you to challenge yourself and acquire new knowledge without it seeming like a chore.
Using the Flipper Zero to hack into stuff makes the dolphin that lives inside it happy. The more you play with it, the more it evolves, becoming smarter and better at what it does.
Like its rival, Flipper Zero is open source and fully customizable which means you can modify and extend its capabilities however you like to suit your specific needs and preferences.
This toy-like hardware with the personality of a cyber dolphin was developed by a team of Russian hackers led by Alexander Kulagin and Pavel Zhovner.
Initially, the creators of Flipper Zero started a Kickstarter campaign in 2019 with the goal of raising $60,000 to design and mass-produce the device.
However, their idea became such a viral sensation that the campaign ended up receiving $4.8 million in donations, 80 times the amount of its original goal.
Since this nifty little device entered the market in early 2021, it has sold over 150,000 units and shows no signs of slowing down.
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Pwnagotchi vs Flipper Zero – Core Features
What are the basic functions you can expect to find on Pwnagotchi and Flipper Zero? Are there any unique features that are available on Flipper Zero that you can’t get on Pwnagotchi and vice versa? Let’s find out.
Pwangotchi allows you to collect WPA key data in two ways. The first is by initiating an association attack and sending association frames to the access points directly to compel them to expose the PMKID.
Secondly, it can deauthenticate any client stations that it comes across, requiring the device to attempt to reauthentication with its access point by executing a 4-way handshake.
This action would then provide Pwnagotchi with an opportunity to intercept the handshakes and capture crackable material.
Pwnagotchi also offers another alternative for eating WIFI handshakes that functions at random known as passive sniffing. So if a device is trying to authenticate to an access point using a channel that your Pwangotchi unit is monitoring at that moment, Pwangotchi may collect the handshake packets accidentally.
Regardless of how the data is captured, it will be saved as a PCAP file on your disk. Once this information has been saved, you can return to crack them later and get access to the original WiFi key with brute force and/or dictionary attacks.
Pwnagotchi comes with an adorable ASCII-emoticon face on the screen that displays a wide range of emotions based on how the hardware device is feeling and how well you’ve been putting it to use.
Also, thanks to a recent update, Pwnagotchi can now discover other Pwnagotchis nearby and will alert each other and announce their presence by transmitting custom data elements through a parasite protocol.
What’s more, Pwnagotchi supports multiple languages, so your built-in emoticon buddy will be able to express how it’s feeling and what it wants in whatever language you understand.
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Flipper Zero’s base hardware has a variety of connectors, antennas, and other kinds of transmitters that enable the device to interact with the world around it.
It comes with a CC1101 transceiver chip and a 4333MHz antenna that allows it to intercept, record, replay, and analyze RF signals of up to 50 meters in range.
With Flipper Zero, you can exploit vulnerabilities in remote control systems around you that don’t utilize rolling codes for authentication by reading, cloning, and saving them to emulate later.
Flipper Zero also has the ability to transmit and record IR signals, read and clone physical access to different RFID cards, function as a USB to UART/SPI/I2C adapter, mimic USB HID devices, and run payloads.
The combination of 125kHz and NFC modules makes Flipper Zero a powerful RFID device that supports both high and low-frequency ranges.
Thanks to Flipper Zero’s built-in GPIO pins, you can enjoy wireless connections with any Bluetooth device and easily communicate with different hardware, IoT devices, and test protocols. Flipper Zero comes with Full BLE support, allowing it to serve as both a peripheral and a host device.
This means that you can connect it to smartphones and third-party devices at the same time. You also have the option to turn your Flipper Zero into a remote control for devices with infrared sensors such as TVs, stereos, air conditioners, and more.
Like with the Pwangotchi, you can use Flipper Zero to find and communicate with other Flippers near you. The device has an SD card slot that you can leverage to increase memory space for storing your data and plugins.
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On the feature front, both Pwnagotchi and Flipper Zero are impressive in their own right. However, Flipper Zero has more functionalities and tools to offer making it the superior option.
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Flipper Zero vs Pwangotchi – Use Cases
Who is Flipper Zero and Pwangotchi designed for and what purposes do they serve?
Flipper Zero was made to be a durable handy tool for professionals to carry out penetration tests and to be a low-barrier learning tool for people to get familiar with programming, hardware development, and electronics development.
There’s so much you can accomplish with Flipper Zero including sniffing WiFi handshakes to gain access to third-party information and interacting with devices like televisions, doorbells, restaurant pagers, garage doors, and gas station price signs.
Flipper Zero can be used to learn any kind of IR device, read and mimic high and low-frequency NFC devices such as tap cards, or even clone old-generation prox cards. You can store U2F keys on your unit for two-factor authentication.
If you want to be mischievous, you can carry out BadUSB attacks by linking the unit to a computer through USB and running Ducky Scripts.
Additionally, you can use Flipper Zero as a tool for testing protocols and signals, flashing any kind of firmware such as EEPROM, debugging, and hardware exploration.
It can also be used as a USB to I2C/SPI/UART converter to enable it to interact with any hardware right from your desktop application.
The above use cases are by no means exhaustive as people are constantly coming up with new ways to use the device. So don’t hesitate to get creative and play around with your Flipper in unusual and interesting ways.
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According to its creators, Pwnagotchi was not built to cater to professional hackers alone. It is designed to function as a learning tool for people of all ages and backgrounds who are interested in hacking or understanding how wireless security works and how to better safeguard their technologies.
Pwnagotchi can be used to break into WiFi networks, scoop passwords, and take advantage of existing vulnerabilities within the network environment.
You can use it as an analytic tool to test the security strength of your systems and networks to determine how best to protect them from both good-natured and malicious cyber attacks.
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Flipper Zone is the clear winner here because it offers lots of advanced functionalities and can interact with different kinds of networks and protocols other than WiFi. Meanwhile, the Pwangotchi is designed for trolling, auditing, and pen-testing WiFi networks only.
Pwnagotchi vs Flipper Zero – Design and Build
What can you expect from the design of both products? Is one better than the other in this respect?
This open source handheld device is designed to be unobtrusive and look adorable while hacking WiFi networks and passwords. Think of it as a digital pet for grownups that needs to be fed WiFi handshakes.
Like the iconic Tamagotchi, the Pwnagotchi device might be mistaken for a cute little toy, except that beyond the nostalgia it provokes, it gives you the power to hack the world around you.
The Pwnagotchi device usually features a Raspberry Pi Zero W, SD card, battery pack, case, and RGB LCD screen that shows you relevant information about the networks it has successfully cracked into.
It’s also DIY which means you can build your own Pwnagotchi unit yourself and connect it to the software offered by the company. Alternatively, you can buy a fully assembled Pwnagotchi kit from third parties online.
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Flipper Zero also draws inspiration from popular culture. Its design is a nod to the Tamagotchi and the cybernetic dolphin from the 1995 film Johnny Mnemonic, starring Keanu Reeves.
It has a toy-like appearance and resembles a rough drawing of a dolphin. Flipper Zeros come in white color only and they have a color LCD screen for displaying information.
Like its counterpart, Flipper Zero is small and portable with a very simple, stylish, and functional design.
It’s a tie. Both Flipper Zero and Pwnagotchi are shaped like a toy and designed to look playful and small enough to fit into your pocket or be held in your hands.
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Flipper Zero vs Pwangotchi – Upgrades and Extensions
Is it possible to customize or extend the functionalities of either Flipper Zero or Pwnagotchi?
Yes, since Flipper Zero is an open source tool, you have the freedom to tweak it to your liking. There’s plenty that you can do to extend the power of your Flipper Zero unit.
Flipper Zero encourages third-party developers to create their own modules to add new interfaces, converters, sensors, features, cellular modems, and more to the hardware.
You can make use of advanced firmware to unlock blocked features and add extra functions, borrow ideas from community discussions and suggestions to upgrade the device, or simply play around with the code and see what magic you can come up with.
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Whether you want to change your device’s name, font, language, or face, Pwnagotchi supports customization of the tool.
If you have a cool idea for something you wish your Pwnagotchi could do, you can try modifying your unit on your own to achieve it or submit a feature request for the team to work on it.
You can also take advantage of existing community hacks to improve the potential of your Pwangotchi.
I have to declare this one a draw because both tools allow you to customize, upgrade, and extend them however you see fit.
Pwnagotchi vs Flipper Zero – Price
Which is more expensive, Pwnagotchi or Flipper Zero?
If you can get your hands on the required hardware, you can build your own Pwnagotchi unit for about $60. But if you decide to buy a ready-made kit, you may have to shell out double to quadruple times that amount depending on where or whom you get it from.
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When bought directly from the manufacturer, Flipper Zero only costs $169. However, it’s usually always sold out so you’ll have to purchase it from third-party retailers at a higher price, usually around $200 – $300.
The cost of both devices is more or less the same. Unless you’re building your own Pwnagotchi, then it becomes the cheaper option.
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Similarities and Differences
|Target audience||Anyone can use it||Anyone can use it|
|Operating System||Comes pre-installed with Kali Linux operating system||Comes with a pre-installed Kali Linux operating system|
|Design||Small, portable, and toy-like with long-lasting power bank||Toy-like, handheld design with a built-in battery that can last for hours|
|Use cases||Only works for WiFi networks||Can interact with different kinds of networks and electronics|
|Screen size||Bigger screen capable of displaying more information||Smaller screen size|
|Ethics and legality||Perfectly legal tool||Perfectly legal tool|
Pros and Cons
- Can hack into WiFi networks
- Easy to use and carry around
- It doesn’t offer as much functionality as Flipper Zero
- The screen is not the easiest to read
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- Can intercept and decrypt different data packets from a variety of digital and electronic sources
- It’s more powerful than the Pwnagotchi
- It doesn’t come with a stand or case
- The screen size is not optimal
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Pwnagotchi vs Flipper Zero – Final Verdict
Both Pwnagotchi and Flipper Zero are excellent network trolling and hacking devices if you’re looking for a reliable pen testing tool or you simply want to get more familiar with wireless networks.
However, if I had to pick, I’d go for the Flipper Zero because, unlike Pwnagotchi which only works with one type of signal, it’s a multi-tool that can handle a wide range of signal types and hacking scenarios.
Scott L. Macarthur is a marketing consultant and an online author. He is mostly engaged in providing his expertise to startups and SMBs. He is also an author on TheNextWeb.