Earlier this year, Apple released its new AirTag, a device of tracking for all those who often lose their keys, wallet, backpack or even the cat. Nevertheless, it’s not the first time that are used to do evil. A few weeks ago we discovered that some hackers were reprogramming these devices to carry out a hack attack. fishing, and now, the Canadian police forces assure that they are being used to steal vehicles.
What exactly are AirTags?
When Apple introduced AirTags, we all thought it was a great idea. They are small devices in the shape of a coin that we can attach to an object and then try to look for it with our iPhone. They do not use GPS and do not need an associated data plan. They use ultra-broadband (UWB) technology and an Apple U1 chip that sends encrypted information to iPhones that come across the device by sending the location information to Apple, with the aim that only the owner of the AirTag is able to see the location of their belongings on the Find My app.
Apple makes it easy for criminals
However, AirTags are a double edged sword. According to a study by the York Regional Police, in Aurora, Ontario, five different incidents have already been detected since last September in which AirTags have been used to steal cars. And it is that, apparently, Apple has made the job very easy for organized mafias that are dedicated to car theft.
Traditionally, organized networks tend to devote considerable effort to locate and chase cars that subsequently they are going to steal. They usually study behavior patterns of their owners and the usual locations where they usually park them. They also use teams of people dedicated to this task. Until the arrival of the AirTags. York agents have detected that local mobs have begun to hide apple labels in non-visible places of high-end cars. In this way, they can locate the vehicles of their victims at all times, even detecting the place of residence of their owners.
In this way, theft becomes an easy task. In some cases, if the key and the car are close together, thieves are able to jam the signal and open the car door remotely. Despite this, the most common way is usually to pry the door open, making sure not to set off the alarm. Once inside, they usually use the car’s OBD socket (which is the port mechanics use to diagnose the machine), and reprogram a blank key that thieves carry with them. That done, they put the vehicle in gear and they are taking it away.
Is there anything we can do to avoid it?
Apple already took a few measures a few months ago when he began to realize that AirTags were starting to be used with illegal purposes. However, the measures Tim Cook’s company took are intended to prevent these devices from being used for locate people. It is possible that, on this occasion, they will respond with a new, similar measure. For now, the only thing we can do is disable Find My, although by doing so, we will also be harming users who make correct use of their AirTags.