People are selling modified AirTags on Etsy that make it easier to stalk someone
Sellers are disabling the AirTags’ speakers so they become a silent tracking device.
If you are worried about AirTags being used as a stalking device, they’ve just gotten a bit worse. People are now modifying the devices so that the internal warning speaker no longer works. These new, modified AirTags have already made their way to at least one Etsy shop.
Apple AirTags are great for people that easily misplace things like their wallet or car keys. The device uses Apple’s massive network of iPhones, iPads, and other devices to triangulate its location. Inevitably, bad actors have been using the devices to track the locations of unsuspecting users.
Apple has added a few safety features to help protect its users from potential stalkers with AirTags. The company will send users alerts if an unknown AirTag is following them. That is accomplished through the iPhone by default. Android users have the option of using the Tracker Detect app.
There’s also an internal speaker that starts beeping when an AirTag is away from its owner for too long.
Some people have now begun disabling that internal speaker. One Twitter user posted an Etsy listing that advertised “silent” AirTags with modified hardware suppressing the device’s internal speaker. The modified AirTags were also highlighted on a sponsored social media post from Etsy.
The Etsy store owner told PCMag that they modified the devices to help track objects that could easily be stolen. But AirTags aren’t intended to track stolen devices.
As cybersecurity advocate Eva Galperin said in a follow-up tweet, Apple advertises AirTags as a way to keep up with lost items, not stolen ones. Even if it’s an unintended effect, disabling the speaker makes AirTags the perfect device for stalking someone. Obviously, that’s a problem.
Fortunately, that particular Etsy store owner has removed the listing. But that’s most likely not the end of silent AirTags. Now that people know that they can silence AirTags, I’d almost bet that more listings like this one will start popping up soon.
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