Security Consideration Around AirTags
  • 23 Feb 2024
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Security Consideration Around AirTags

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Article Summary

Apple AirTags are a helpful tool for those who wish to keep track of their belongings. Users are prompted to follow a beeping sound to locate items marked as misplaced. The closer you get, the louder the beep.

Unfortuntately, AirTags have been misused by malicious actors, who may place the device on a person, or perhaps their automobile, allowing them to stalk individuals without their knowledge.

This can put the person being tracked in grave danger. If you find an AirTag that does not belong to you on your person, attached to your car, or placed on one of your belongings, here's what you should do:

  • Don't Go Home – Go to a safe location so that you’re in the presence of others
  • Draft a Report – Write down where you were when you found the AirTag and capture screenshots of alerts and warnings
  • Remove the Battery – Pop open the AirTag and remove the battery so it no longer transmits your location
  • Call the Police – They will investigate as a crime, conducting forensics on device serial number and issue a subpoena to Apple if necessary

For its part, Apple has build in privacy protections for protect against AirTag misuse:

  • AirTags Linked to Apple ID – Location data and history are not stored on the AirTag, and devices that relay the location of a lost AirTag stay anonymous and location data is encrypted
  • Mapping Lost AirTags – Users may see where a lost AirTag is on a map if it’s picked up by someone else’s device, but won’t know the identity of the person that helps find it nor does Apple know the location because of the end-to-end encryption
  • AirTag Detected Notifications – If an AirTag that someone else owns is in your belongings and has been traveling with you, your iPhone will send you an “AirTag Detected” alert which will prevent someone from tracking you with a planted AirTag
  • Missing AirTag Notifications – An AirTag away from its owner for eight to 24 hours will automatically play a sound to alert you to its presence

The company also said it has worked with law enforcement on this issue. Still, if you find an AirTag that doesn't belong to you, be sure to take immediate steps to protect yourself and your family.

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