Silent AirTags with no speakers are being used for stalking

A couple of years ago Apple launched the AirTag, a gadget that users could link to their mobile devices in order to prevent theft or loss; when someone can’t find their iPhone, iPod or iPad, the AirTag will start making a sound to tell the user its location. This could be really useful on certain circumstances, but infamous individuals can also use this gadget for malicious purposes.

According to a recent report, modified AirTags can be found online from which the built-in speakers have been removed, which would allow unsuspecting users to be spied on without even being able to identify signs of harmful activities. This “silent AirTags” is available for less than $80 USD.

While the seller of these devices, active on the e-commerce website Etsy, ensures that this modification is intended to help users find the devices without attracting the attention of potential thieves, this has undoubtedly been a cause for concern for cybersecurity experts, including director of cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation Eva Galperin.

The specialist is concerned that these modified AirTags can be easily abused for other nefarious fines, leaving a potential victim exposed to tracking their location: “Any similar item could also be used to harass people,” Galperin says.

This is not a new practice, as you can even find online tutorials in text and video on how to disable the speakers on an AirTag simply by performing a small drill under the battery of the device, although this requires some skill and experience.

The concerns are legitimate, although Apple had already taken some action on the matter before; iPhone users can receive a notification in case they find a modified AirTag, plus Apple also developed an Android app with which users of any non-iOS device can scan around them for a hidden AirTag.

At the time of writing, this item had already been removed from Etsy website.

To learn more about information security risks, malware variants, vulnerabilities and information technologies, feel free to access the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) websites.