The last thing you want on your busy schedule is an all-day event shilling discount knock-off Ray-Ban sunglasses or Ugg boots. Sadly, thanks to an increasing wave of spammers who have figured out to exploit Apple’s iCloud Calendar to invite their marks to bogus events, you might not have a lot of free time.
The spammers are able to screw up your schedule by abusing the default settings of Apple’s iCloud calendar service, which normally allow people to send push calendar alerts to iOS and macOS devices. Johnny Spamsalot, for instance, could create an event called “Ray-Ban Only 9.99” and invite as many random email addresses as they can get their hands on, flooding their victims’ devices with the worst party invite of all time.
Declining the invite to remove it from your calendar just makes things worse. Hitting “decline” sends a message back to the spammer so they know that somebody is checking that particular iCloud Calendar, meaning it’s worth sending more spam invites that way.
Apple should be able to stop this from happening, either by limiting the number of invites somebody can send at once or monitoring which IP addresses are abusing the system. Inverse reached out to Apple for comment, but in the meantime, spammers have figured out how to circumvent whatever barricades the tech giant already had in place.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a bulletproof way to stop the invites, unless you just straight-up don’t use iCloud for your calendar. If that’s the case, simply open the Settings app on your iPhone or System Preferences on your Mac. Then all you need to do is navigate over to iCloud settings and disable calendars. Problem solved.
However, if you use iCloud Calendar to schedule your work or personal life (when it’s spam-free, it’s a very useful tool), there isn’t a quick fix. Declining invites alerts the spammer, and while there’s a roundabout way to remove it from your calendar without letting the sender know (creating a new calendar with the spam events on it then deleting it), that’s a pain.
There’s also the option to change your settings on iCloud.com so you get calendar invites as emails, not push notifications. While emails are generally less in-your-face than push alerts, you’re still dealing with a bunch of spam email.
Hopefully, Apple will find a way to clamp down on this irritating new method of sending spam. In the meantime, if you end up going to “Ray-Ban Only 9.99,” say hello for me.