Apples AirTag tracker hasnt even been out for a week yet, but the conversation surrounding the item hasnt really gone the method that the company would have chosen. Not long after the AirTag was revealed, privacy groups were already sounding the alarm about prospective malicious use cases, warning that abusive partners might utilize the device to keep an eye on their victims. This was backed up by a Washington Post report which found that the AirTag made it “frighteningly easy” to stalk someone, and that the built-in security procedures were not enough.
Needless to say, this wasnt exactly how Apple wanted the very first weeks of the AirTags presence to go, however to top it all off, someone decided to hack the tracker over the weekend. On Saturday, IT security research and YouTube content developer stacksmashing announced on Twitter that he had “managed to break into the microcontroller of the AirTag.” He was then able to re-flash the microcontroller and customize components of the AirTag software application.
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In the video below, you can see that the researcher was able to customize the URL that appears in the notification when the AirTag remains in Lost Mode and comes into contact with another NFC-enabled gadget. Whereas the AirTag alert typically redirects users to “found.apple.com” and shows information associated to the owner, the scientist had the ability to modify the notification and have it reroute to his own website instead:
Constructed a fast demonstration: AirTag with customized NFC URL.
( Cables only utilized for power) pic.twitter.com/DrMIK49Tu0.
— stacksmashing (@ghidraninja) May 8, 2021.
Apples AirTag tracker hasnt even been out for a week yet, but the discussion surrounding the item hasnt actually gone the way that the company would have preferred. Not long after the AirTag was revealed, personal privacy groups were already sounding the alarm about potential destructive use cases, cautioning that violent partners might utilize the device to keep track of their victims. Needless to state, this wasnt exactly how Apple wanted the first weeks of the AirTags existence to go, however to top it all off, someone decided to hack the tracker over the weekend. Whatever the case, as unavoidable as a jailbroken AirTag may have been, this will likely raise issues among those who desire to utilize the AirTag to keep track of crucial products such as secrets, luggage, or bikes.
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This is a relatively innocent outcome, but its unclear how much even more a driven hacker might press the gadget or flex it to their will. The researcher also noted that he bricked two AirTag trackers in the procedure of trying to get into the microcontroller, so it does not appear to be specifically easy to do so. That stated, now that he has achieved it, curious tinkerers will certainly figure out how to do the same without bricking their own AirTags.
Whatever the case, as unavoidable as a jailbroken AirTag might have been, this will likely raise issues among those who wish to utilize the AirTag to keep an eye on essential products such as keys, baggage, or bikes. As Apple blog The 8-Bit notes, theres a great chance that Apple could block hacked AirTags on the Find My network to make them effectively worthless. This may dissuade people from attempting jailbreaks of their own and hopefully keep uninformed passersby safe from hacked AirTags that may attempt to fool them into checking out harmful websites.
If you wish to see more from security researcher smashstacking, you ought to probably begin with this YouTube video about playing multiplayer Game Boy video games online, which is even cooler than it sounds:.
Jacob started covering video games and technology in college as a hobby, however it quickly became clear to him that this was what he wished to do for a living. He currently resides in New York writing for BGR. His formerly released work can be discovered on TechHive, VentureBeat and Game Rant.