Creepy reports of US women being tracked by Apple AirTags
A number of women in the United States have reported being alerted to unknown devices following them around.
It is believed that Apple’s coin-sized AirTags, which can be attached to things like wallets or keys to locate them, have been used to track their movements.
A 32-year-old woman in Mississippi said she had received a notification in late December 2021 telling her that an unknown device had been following her movements, BBC reported.
Ms Amber Norsworthy had been out and had just got home in the afternoon when it happened. She went to the Find My app on her iPhone.
"It showed me my whole route. It said 'the last time the owner saw your location was 15:02' and I was like, 'that's now, I'm at home'," the report quoted her as saying.
She called the police and Apple, which confirmed that the device was an AirTag, but she could not find where it had been planted.
BBC reported that it had spoken to six other women with similar experiences. One said she had found an AirTag taped to the inside of a bag. Others had not been able to locate the tags.
Some women have put out posts on social media about finding unknown AirTags on their cars and in their belongings.
In an earlier report, The New York Times said it had spoken to seven women who believed they had been tracked with AirTags.
It described the experience of Ms Erika Torres, a graduate music student in New Orleans, and included her YouTube video in its report.
Apple, which introduced the AirTags in April 2021, claims that it has better security features than rival products.
People with an iPhone would be alerted if an unregistered AirTag was moving with them. And the AirTags would make a beeping noise when separated from an owner for a period of time.
But critics say the beep is too soft. The devices can also be turned off remotely, for instance when the person being tracked has reached her home. This could be why many were unable to find the devices.
And it makes those who do not use an iPhone even more vulnerable. In December, Apple released an app that will alert Android users to rogue AirTags, but only a tiny fraction of them have downloaded it. And it is not automatic, meaning users have to manually activate it.
AirTags are also more of a risk because of how common Apple products are, said Ms Eva Galperin, a cybersecurity director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who studies stalkerware.
"Apple automatically turned every iOS device into part of the network that AirTags use to report the location of an AirTag," the NYT report quoted her as saying. "The network that Apple has access to is larger and more powerful than that used by the other trackers. It's more powerful for tracking and more dangerous for stalking."
Some local police departments in North America have reportedly started warning residents about the devices.
AirTags are sold in Singapore with prices starting from $45, according to the Apple website.
Watch Ms Torres' video here: