Apple's brand new AirTag device for tracking promises to aid in the search for bags, keys, and other items. But what happens if there is a possibility that someone might use one of the discs to try and locate your movements?
Although Apple offers a variety of security features to prevent unwanted tracking and has recently added additional protections as part of an update, it's still possible to sneak the AirTag into your vehicle or bag without your knowledge and monitor your position.
Unfortunately, there isn't a lot you can do to determine whether someone is using the AirTag (or any other similar device, such as the Samsung SmartTag tile or Samsung SmartTag tracker) to track your movements.
Location tracking is a disturbing worry for survivors and a prevalent method of abuse, according to Erica Olsen, director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence's Safety Net Project.
"Apple is attracting a lot of interest because of the magnitude of their network, which may allow these gadgets to be more exact than other similar monitoring devices. We are concerned about all possible tracking options because of the safety risks. "
New technology interrupts privacy.
To assist consumers find lost objects, AirTags employ a combination of wireless signals, sensors, and Apple's enormous Find My Network. In addition, Apple included several security features to ensure that the devices are not used for tracking individuals--a first for the industry. However, many have pointed out that the protections aren't enough to safeguard those who are affected.
At the time of launch, they came with a message that read, "AirTag Found Moving With You." However, only if you own an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch running iOS or iPadOS 14.5 or later. Then, in June, Apple announced that it was developing an Android application to inform users of AirTags that are not wanted along with them, to be launched later in the year.
Apple also had AirTags emit a sound when separated from their owner for three days. After the update, that alarm is now able to sound at an undetermined interval that lasts anywhere from 8 to 24 hours.
The privacy concerns surrounding AirTags are part of a more significant issue, Olsen said.
"Technology doesn't cause abuse, but it can facilitate it," Olsen explained. "Abusive people will use every strategy they can to gain power and control. Therefore it's not uncommon for them to misuse many technologies while also engaging in non-technological abuse."
When an innovative Internet of Things product is launched, it's likely to raise alarms, according to Zarmeena Waseem, the director of education in cybersecurity at the National Cybersecurity Alliance.
The launch of a product such as AirTags can be in some ways similar to the launch of a newly released operating system, which means Apple will detect vulnerabilities and fix them in subsequent updates, which we've already observed.
AirTags are not like stalkers were or any software you install on your device without knowing or permission to transmit your data, including your messages on text or social media posts, as well as your location on their device.
However, using a device such as an AirTag to track the location of someone could be the beginning of stalking, especially if the perpetrator isn't physically connected to your laptop or phone, according to Victor Chebyshev, a lead security researcher in the Global Research and Analysis Team at security company Kaspersky.
"We're sure this will happen — anyone can be a victim," Chebyshev declared. "And the issue is that victims do not have an appropriate remedy to this problem at this time."
Although the latest, earlier warning that was sent out to the iPhone customers is undoubtedly a great movie, the 24 hours it can take is too long, Chebyshev said. From a security point of view, it is ideal to notify the user within a few hours of time-span after the AirTag has been connected.