Monday, September 20, 2021

Apple AirTag jailbroken already – hacked in rickroll assault – Bare Safety

Apple recently announced a tracking device that it calls the AirTag, a new competitor in the “smart label” product category.

The AirTag is a round button about the size of a key fob that you can attach to a suitcase, laptop or, indeed, to your keys, to help you find said item if you misplace it.

If you remember those whistle-and-they-bleep-back-at-you keyrings that were all the rage for a while in the 1990s, well, this is the 21st century version of one of those.

Unlike their last-millennium sonic counterparts, however, modern tracking tags come with loads more functionality, and therefore present a correspondingly greater privacy risk.

Armed with wireless connectivity in the form of Bluetooth and NFC, modern tags don’t just respond neutrally with a beep-beep-beep when you send them an audio signal and they’re within range.

Products like the AirTag also announce themselves with regular Bluetooth beaconing transmissions, just like your phone does when it’s in discoverable mode.

To stop your tags being used as a permanent tracking tool for anyone who’s stalking you, the Bluetooth identifier swaps itself around every few minutes, like the Bluetooth beacons used in the Apple-and-Google privacy-preserving “exposure notification” interface that was introduced for coronavirus infection tracking.

If someone else swipes an NFC-enabled phone near an AirTag, it presents them with a supposedly anonymous URL pointing to the Apple server, where they can report the misplaced item.

(We don’t have an AirTag to practise with, but apparently you can choose to reveal personal information such a phone number via the tracking URL, but we assume that nothing about your identity is revealed by default, so that lost items can be reported anonymously.)