Last August, we brought you the story of a cybersecurity expert in Brooklyn, New York, who was able to recover his stolen bike, by tracking it down himself, all thanks to an Apple AirTag that he had hidden inside the bike. Last month, however, we reported the story of an unidentified woman in Jonesboro, Arkansas that turned on her iPhone in her car only to get a notice informing her that there was an AirTag somewhere nearby. She was being tracked without her consent or knowledge. The stories highlight both the advantages and dangers of AirTags.
This week, Canadian police revealed that car thieves have been using AirTags to track and steal luxury cars, according to a report by Ars Technica. York Regional Police shared the tales of five incidents in which thieves have hidden AirTags on vehicles parked in public in order to be able to track them down later and steal them. The incidents had all taken place in the last three months.
For the few that may still not know what they are, Apple’s AirTags are tiny tracking devices with a speaker on them that can stick on things that are most likely to be misplaced. The user can then activate them using their Apple device and easily locate them finding their missing item along the way.
It is obvious how such a device can be problematic. Apple has said that it has engineered some anti-stalking functions into AirTags. However, they only work if you’re running iOS 14.5 or newer. The functions allow you to detect if you’re being followed by an unfamiliar device by alerting you of this fact.
For some, these added functions are too little too late. Robert Sexton, a Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Detective with the Paragould Police Department who was in charge of the stalking case in Jonesboro, Arkansas, said that these types of events are becoming increasingly more common and that people should watch out for such incidents. Yikes!