Apple taking steps to deal with calendar spam issue
Over recent weeks, Apple business and home users have seen their calendars flooded with spam event invitations offering cheap products, often for clothing, boots, sunglasses or other “luxuries”. This was due to a weakness in Apple’s software, exploited by those who thought it would be profitable to spam people. The flaw saw the software taking invitations to events in emails and adding them to people’s calendars, creating a new way for the spammers to attack people.
With virtual assistants, automated ordering and smart home technology soon to be feeding workers increasing amounts of information and products that we never actually see before ordering, it highlights the importance of understanding where any deal or offer comes from, and that any business should have an office policy to check any technology-based ordering systems.
At least in this instance the solutions are simple, and Apple is improving how the feature works. The first way to work around the problem is to unlink emails from the calendar app. To enable the fix, visit iCloud.com, log in, click on the Calendar button and tap the Settings wheel (bottom left). Find Preferences, and Advanced settings. Then, change Invitations from In-App notifications to Email, preventing future offers appearing in the calendar.
But, how long until they become official-looking toner, parts or consumable orders? Apple is introducing an easier fix that will allow users to report these invites as spam, making them go away, never to return. For now it seems in the web app version of Calendar, presumably a fix for the iOS version will be along shortly. Still, if you have any lurking invites, tap on one of them in the browser view and you will see a “Report Junk” option. Click on the link and the invite will vanish across all devices – including Macs and iPhones.
The issue highlights how, in their wish to be more helpful, service providers and companies can create big wide doors for people to abuse. At least this was only some annoying invites and another red dot on your home screen that could have fooled the unwary.