NextPit Apple AirTag 9
NextPit Apple AirTag 9

Shortly after the initial euphoria surrounding the Apple AirTags, reports of hacking attacks, phishing and other unsavory acts followed. This is only natural and the obvious question arises: can people be tracked via these mini-tracers? NextPit decided to address all major security concerns related to Apple’s tracker.

One question kept popping up in our articles on Apple’s AirTags: Can’t someone just plant these tiny trackers on me and use them to track me? It’s a fair question if you are doing this to track lost items via the “Where is?” Can be followed to within a few meters. Network.

In addition to these concerns, other news sources reported hacking attacks, phishing and cracked NFC codes shortly after the AirTags were released. Therefore, we would like to dispel these concerns in order to give you peace of mind after purchasing the Apple AirTags. But let’s start with the most obvious question.

Can you track people with AirTags?

The AirTags are about the size of a half dollar coin. As a result, many of you have raised concerns that people could just toss these trackers in your backpack without your knowledge. Use the “Where is it?” Network and other countless Apple devices that are located around the world, you and your tracker could theoretically be detected to within a few meters.

As Apple revealed to YouTuber Rene Ritchie, there are two basic preventive measures you can take against this. The first takes effect when you are an iPhone user yourself. If an AirTag is within range of an iPhone that is not directly connected to it, you will receive a notification. You can then produce a subtly planted AirTag beep and just remove the battery.

If you are using an Android smartphone instead, you will not see this notification. This is where the second safety error protection comes into play. If an AirTag is out of range of a paired device for three days, an alert sounds. You can even use the NFC function of your smartphone to check which account the tracker is connected to.

So it would be stupid to chase someone with an AirTag. This is because the NFC information stored would make it pretty easy for the police to track you down for such a crime.

Stalking Android users is theoretically possible

Even if it’s a pretty stupid thing Curved magazine Hints of another interesting scenario: If someone wraps the AirTag in a few layers of fabric or puts it in a fairly soundproofed case, it can be pretty easy to miss the warning tones. This process can be traced back to a Washington Post Journalist who tested the trackers this way.

First and foremost, he mentioned that the length of time the AirTags are silent is crucial – do you remember the three day window? After that, he said, the AirTags will be pretty quiet at 60 decibels and the warning beep will only sound for 15 seconds every few hours. Even if such security concerns are justified, I wonder why an AirTag of all things could be misused in this way.

NextPit Apple AirTag 13

Your iPhone shows you where the AirTags are. Unfortunately, this is not the case with Android / © NextPit

Several years ago I wrote a number of articles on smartphone tracking. With the right app and paid providers, it was even possible to access the GPS module of smartphones, the video camera or the microphone. In short, if you want to vandalize other people during a crime, phone tracking is far easier.

Have Apple’s AirTags Really Been Hacked?

But what if someone could simply exchange the NFC information and also deactivate the integrated security mechanism? This is a valid question from the moment the first AirTag was hacked. The short answer: yes. A hobbyist managed to get access to the tracker’s microcontroller.

To do this, he opened an AirTag and changed the saved URL that the gadget transmits when reading the NFC chip. This is important as it can also be used to store phishing websites or fake Apple pages. The conceivable scenarios are too cumbersome to make the hacking effort worthwhile.

To hack your AirTags, an attacker would first have to steal them, take them apart, solder the appropriate cables, hack the software and reassemble them. If someone wanted to lure you to a phishing site through an AirTag, they had to hope that someone would find the lost tracker and then scan it.

While the latter scenario is certainly possible, it doesn’t seem particularly worth the effort. When it comes to phishing in particular, emails or SMS are far more profitable as bait than distributing paid AirTags.

As mentioned by the editor of the German website Computer imageApple is also already working on an update to close the security gap. A hobbyist usually opens and hacks new devices to get 15 minutes of fame. At the same time, of course, it’s cool to show Apple that their supposedly secure devices are not 100% secure after all.

Can someone steal my AirTag and connect it to their iPhone?

Of course, if you’ve lost an AirTag or your keychain was found without the tracker, that’s a tragedy! Swiping through one of the Apple Item Trackers isn’t particularly useful, however. The first time you set it up, the serial number printed on the housing is linked to your Apple ID, among other things.

NextPit Apple AirTag 1

The Apple AirTag requires an accessory that fits on a key fob. / © NextPit

When you pair it with your account, an AirTag cannot simply be connected to another iPhone. So it’s not worth stealing the $ 29 accessories. Since your account information is also stored in the NFC tag itself, it is also pretty easy to find the original owner. There isn’t much to worry about about theft here.

AirTags a danger to children?

Not to mention the safety aspect, here is an interesting story from Australia. According to GizmodoAn Australian retail chain took the AirTags off their shelves because the cell battery was too easy to remove. The rotating mechanism proved too unsafe and children could swallow the cell battery inside.

In the US and Europe, testers don’t seem concerned about this, but of course you shouldn’t give your kids an AirTag as a toy, as it’s small enough to be swallowed. Also, I don’t recommend tracking the gadget’s position in its own body after an AirTag has been swallowed and located with the U1 chip.

What do you think of the AirTags security concerns? Do you wear these tracking devices with a clear conscience or are you afraid of being followed? Let us know in the comments!


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