Apple AirTags quirk could be used to steal the data of helpful citizens

Apple AirTags
(Image credit: Apple)
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A bug in the Apple AirTag (opens in new tab) could be exploited by malicious users to inadvertently lure good samaritans into a phishing (opens in new tab) scheme. 

When put in the “Lost Mode”, the AirTag will spit a small personalized URL and message whenever it is scanned by the NFC-enabled Android (opens in new tab) or iPhone (opens in new tab) of whoever finds the lost tracker.

Cybersecurity (opens in new tab) researchers however discovered that the Lost Mode doesn’t stop the users from injecting arbitrary code into its phone number field. This shortcoming can be exploited by attackers to take the helpful samaritan to a fake Apple iCloud (opens in new tab) page, and phish their credentials.

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“A victim will believe they are being asked to sign into iCloud so they can get in contact with the owner of the Airtag, when in fact, the attacker has redirected them to a credential hijacking page,” wrote (opens in new tab) Bobby Rauch who discovered the flaw.

Weaponized trackers

Rauch reported the issue to Apple several months ago, but the company only confirmed it would address the issue last week. 

Describing the bug as a stored cross site scripting (stored XSS) vulnerability, Rauch says it can be used for other attacks such as session token hijacking, or clickjacking. 

“An attacker can create weaponized AirTags, and leave them around, victimizing innocent people who are simply trying to help a person find their lost AirTag,” suggests Rauch, who has shared detailed steps to create such a weaponized AirTag.

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.