Apple devices designed to locate lost keys or personal items could let hackers track your every move – with cases having already been reported in the USA.
AirTags are small, electronic fobs created by Apple that affix to items such as keys or luggage so they can be tracked down if ever they get lost. Their geo-location is purposefully very precise, with the devices able to be located to within 0.1ft.
Whilst this proves very useful to anyone prone to misplacing their keys, it provides an alarming and very accurate way for hackers to track a user’s every move.
This appears to have been the case for Amber Norsworthy, who spoke to the BBC after she received an iPhone notification to say someone had been tracking her movements – including the journey she had just taken in her car. The last time that user had checked on her location was just moments before.
What’s most alarming for Norsworthy was that she didn’t own AirTags that had been compromised, but instead believes they may have been planted on her vehicle.
After Norsworthy shared her story, the BBC discovered five more women in America who had very similar stories.
Apple has since released a statement saying: “We take customer safety very seriously and are committed to AirTag’s privacy and security.” However, cyber security experts have warned that the issue isn’t the devices’ security or vulnerabilities, but simply that AirTags – because of their very purpose – were always going to provide a “perfect tool for stalking”.
Those were the words of Eva Galperin, Director of Cyber-Security at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. She told the BBC that, even though AirTags emit a beep when separated from their user for eight hours, the sound only registers 60 decibels, which means it could easily be muffled by general car sounds. Furthermore, after the eight hours it could already be too late.
For its part, Apple has sought to allay any fears around AirTags, saying: “If users ever feel their safety is at risk, they are encouraged to contact local law enforcement, who can work with Apple to provide any available information about the unknown AirTag.”