New-Gen Thieves Turn to Apple’s Tracking Device to Steal Expensive Cars

In theory, Apple’s AirTag is a super-useful device that helps people never lose their belonging and keep an eye on their valuables. But in practice, it looks like it’s also a very effective way to monitor someone else’s valuables too.
Apple's AirTag 10 photos
Photo: Apple
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The York Regional Police in Canada has issued a public warning to reveal that more and more thieves are using Apple’s tracking device to monitor their targets as part of new-generation thefts.

More specifically, criminals look for new vehicles in public places like parking lots and supermarkets, install the AirTag in an area where the owner wouldn’t be able to locate it, and then use an iPhone to see where it’s going. Once the vehicle is parked, thieves can determine its location and proceed with the theft.

Apple has built several privacy features in AirTag to let people know they’re being tracked, but in many cases, these prove ineffective, simply because the targets don’t even have an iPhone.

The police claim a total of 5 vehicles have recently been stolen using this method, but on the other hand, the number of thefts in the region reached no less than 2,000 over the past year.

Thieves typically use tools like screwdrivers to enter the vehicles through the driver or passenger door, while ensuring not to set off alarms. Once inside, an electronic device, typically used by mechanics to reprogram the factory setting, is connected to the onboard diagnostics port below the dashboard and programs the vehicle to accept a key the thieves have brought with them. Once the new key is programmed, the vehicle will start and the thieves drive it away,” the warning reads.

Police officers recommend Canadians to park their vehicles in a locked garage, as most vehicles are stolen from a driveway, and to use a steering wheel lock to at least make it harder for a potential thief to run away with the car.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows renderings of the Apple Car.

About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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