Scooters And One Wheels

Man hunts stolen scooter with apple airtags

Guido shows where he hid an Apple AirTag in the scooter.

@dguido via Twitter

When Dan Guido’s electric scooter was stolen on the night of August 2nd, he didn’t have to admit defeat.

The Brooklyn-based cybersecurity CEO had two hidden Apple AirTags inside the black scooter, covered with black tape. The next day he set out to locate the vehicle with the help of the small Bluetooth tracker. Spoiler alert: he succeeded.

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Guido works for New York City-based Trail of Bits, a cybersecurity research and advisory firm serving defense, technology, finance, and blockchain clients. He covered his hunt for the scooter in a series of tweets on Monday, sharing both the challenges and successes of his wild journey.

“My scooter was stolen last week,” tweeted Guido. “The thief didn’t know that I hid two airtags in it.

When Guido began his search the next day, he tried to get the New York Police Department over, but they were unwilling to cooperate with him when he walked into stores or knocked on doors. “They weren’t familiar with Airtags, thought I could hire them to steal something,” tweeted Guido. Apple and New York City police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

I also went to the NYPD to pick me up on the next street corner, but they wouldn’t help. They were unfamiliar with airtags, thought I could hire them to steal something, and refused to go with me when I knocked on a door or in a shop.

– Dan Guido (@dguido) August 10, 2021

Guido said he had to cut the time to catch a flight to the blackhat security conference in Las Vegas. In a tweet, Guido said he thought this was the end of the road, assuming some noisy features on the airtags would blow their cover.

Apple announced in June that it had started sending updates to its AirTags causing them to make noise at a random time within a window that lasts between 8 and 24 hours when they are separated from their owner . They had previously sounded after three days.

With only 1 hour of hunting time, I couldn’t find its exact location and assumed it was in these apartments. I boarded my flight to Blackhat and expected that I would never see my scooter again. Why? Apple anti-stalking features.

– Dan Guido (@dguido) August 10, 2021

Fortunately, nobody found the tracking devices for the rest of the week, and Guido was able to resume the search when he returned home from the conference on August 9th.

He says he hit a wall with the NYPD again, but after some persuasion, two officers finally agreed to escort him to the scooter’s location.

I was patient, optimistic and demonstrated with the airtags on my keys. I repeated that I didn’t want them to do anything illegal to help me, joked that it was only $ 800 so not a crime, and insisted that it be resolved within an hour. It worked!

– Dan Guido (@dguido) August 10, 2021

Then they discovered something very promising: an e-bike shop.

After venturing inside, Guido received a ping alerting him that the elusive scooter was nearby. Then he was finally reunited with her.

Seconds later, I went straight in. My scooter! The staff were incredulous: how did I know it was mine? I played sounds from an air day. Not good enough. I paired it with the Ninebot iOS app. That convinced the last holdouts.

– Dan Guido (@dguido) August 10, 2021

At the end of his thread, Guido left tips for Airtag users so that they too can be prepared if someone decides to snag their Bluetooth-equipped belongings.

Here are some lessons you learned while using Airtags to recover from theft:
1) Use an airtag adhesive that blends in and muffles noise. It is clear that my thief was looking for her.
2) Do not turn on Lost Mode. It alerts the thief immediately if they are being followed.

– Dan Guido (@dguido) August 10, 2021

3) Act quickly before the anti-stalking function kicks in. Damage to my handlebars was probably due to the regular noises of the Airtag.
4) Limit your personal interactions and always involve the police. Do not try to get your stolen property back until you have a backup.

– Dan Guido (@dguido) August 10, 2021

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