Apple AirTag poses serious security risks that most people are unfortunately unaware of. Apparently, the AirTag can be used as a stalking device.
AirTag technology is a newly released tracking device that Apple users enjoy in the iOS ecosystem. The small, round tag shows a lot of potential with its Precision Finding feature that accurately points out the distance from the tracker down to its last few inches and other exciting new features.
Unfortunately, the AirTag also opens up new risks for malicious intents, as it can be exploited by stalkers and abusers.
Apple AirTag Security Risk
Geoffrey Fowler from The Washington Post put the AirTag in an experiment. With the AirTag being button-sized, it is easy for somebody to slip an AirTag in your bag or car without your knowledge. It is reported to detect areas around 800 feet, giving the tracker a lot of range.
Fowler asked a colleague to pretend and stalk him using the AirTag. For a week, his friend tracked his movements across San Francisco Bay. The AirTag tracker was very accurate. While Fowler was riding his bike, AirTag tracked his location for every half block. It gets particularly serious when Fowler was stationary at his house because his colleague's tracker reported Fowler's exact home address.
Unfortunately, Apple does not have enough safeguards for these malicious intents. For example, AirTag has a feature that makes it sound whenever the device is three days away from its owner. However, Fowler discovered this sound to be "light chirping," easily mistaken for birds sitting on his window. The speaker is also very easy to silence, just by applying pressure or tape to AirTag's white plastic cover.
Lastly, while Fowler's iPhone did notify him that another AirTag was nearby, it did not help him trace where specifically did his "stalker" hide the device.
Stalking Potential of Apple AirTag
CBS News also noted that AirTag is a security risk because Apple has a whole ecology of devices connected to one system. So while Apple advertises its advantage to instantaneously connect your Mac, iPhone, and iPad local data, it also creates a massive surveillance network available to any Apple user.
Note that AirTag is priced at $30. Thus, this is relatively an inexpensive and easy alternative to one of the most advanced tracking devices.
Unfortunately, people who have malicious intentions could benefit from this tracking device, including stalkers, murderers, and physical abusers. By using the same method listed above, they can accurately pinpoint your specific location at any time of the day.
To avoid these circumstances, make sure to keep your bags and car locked. Don't give these malicious actors the chance to slip anything on your stuff! Also, check with your iPhone occasionally to be sure that no AirTag is attached to you.
While it remains impressive, Apple needs to work harder on its security features for the safety of its users.