Apple launched its first-ever object tracker,the Apple AirTag, earlier this year. It makes use of ultra-wide-band technology and is the company’s answer to Tile and Samsung Galaxy SmartTag. Though the Cupertino-based tech giant had developed Apple AirTags in an attempt to help people not lose their valuables such as keys, wallets, and cars,in a strange turn of events, these are now actually being used by thieves to steal cars. Over the last couple of weeks, Canadian police warned citizens that AirTags are being used by thieves to track and steal luxury vehicles.
In the York region of Canada, the police have identified five incidents in which the Apple AirTags were used for stealing luxury vehicles. In all these instances, it was observed that the thieves placed an AirTag in an out-of-sight area on a high-end vehicle parked in a public space and waited for an opportunity to steal the vehicle. The Police department, in an official statement, said:
Thieves typically use tools like screwdrivers to enter the vehicles through the driver or passenger door, while ensuring not to set off alarms. Once inside, an electronic device, typically used by mechanics to reprogram the factory setting, is connected to the onboard diagnostics port below the dashboard and programs the vehicle to accept a key the thieves have brought with them. Once the new key is programmed, the vehicle will start and the thieves drive it away.
Thieves have so far been successful with this trick since AirTags can only be detected by Apple’s Find My app, and not everybody uses an iPhone, or iPad, or Mac. Though Apple notifies users with a “AirTag Found Moving With You” notification as soon as an Apple device detects that the owner is being followed by an unpaired AirTag, many people do not pay attention to the notifications, making it easier for the thieves. Also, this feature is available only on devices running iOS 14.5 and iOS 15 for now. It is to be noted that AirTags play a sound randomly after being separated from the owner within an interval of eight hours and 24 hours.
Subscribe to OnsitegoGet the latest technology news, reviews, and opinions on tech products right into your inbox
Though the use of AirTags for stealing vehicles comes as a surprise, the number of such cases remains tiny in comparison to the total number of stolen vehicles across the York region. Also, police have advised citizens to park their vehicles in a locked garage and check their vehicles for trackers, as soon as they receive an unknown AirTag notification.