Since their launch, many have considered Apple AirTag a useful tool for stalkers. The monitoring system that the devices are equipped with, in fact, could be used to follow – or persecute – poor victims. For its part, however, the Cupertino company has repeatedly denied that this is the case. And now a university study is analyzing the correlation between stalking and Apple’s trackers.
Are Apple’s AirTags a tool for stalkers?
After the accusations received, Apple has equipped its AirTags with two interesting ones anti-stalking functionality. First, an option notifies iPhone owners when an unknown AirTag moves with them. And secondly, Apple’s trackers start making a sound when away from their owners for an extended time. Furthermore, as if that were not enough, the Cupertino company has created an Android App that allows owners of competing smartphones to manually search for Apple AirTags. In short, everything suggests that the devices cannot be used to the advantage of stalkers. Yet it seems that more than an attacker has made a bad use of it.
About that Erica Olsen, Director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence’s Safety Net Project, highlighted the need for industry companies to work together to make tracking devices safer. “Businesses]could start by providing information to each other and to the public on how Bluetooth trackers are being exploited. Sharing results on how their respective products are being used in a malicious way is critical to creating privacy protections that work equally well on all smartphones. It would ensure that all companies operate on the same data while developing tools to prevent or mitigate abuse. ” So commented Olsen.
Alexander Henry, a German PhD student, has instead drawn attention to one of the weaknesses of Apple’s AirTag protection systems. That is the lack of background scanning on Android devices. A function that the researcher has included in his App AirGuard, which “offers some features that Apple does not offer, including the ability to search for AirTag in the background without having to press a specific button within the App”. An application that the German University is using to test the malicious reach of Apple device tracking. Heinrich’s conclusion was quite blunt: “The stance remains that a stalker or thief should be dumber than a brick to choose an AirTag as their favorite tracker.”