AirDrop - iOS and Mac Peer-to-peer Sharing - Information and Security Details

General Information

Apple has a feature built into Mac, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch called AirDrop.  AirDrop allows for easy, wireless sharing of images, documents, calendar items, contact details, and more from one device to another without complicated setup.

AirDrop is enabled by default on both iOS and macOS systems.  Apple has documentation on how to use AirDrop normally on an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, etc) or on a Mac computer.

Security Concerns

The default settings for AirDrop only allow individuals who are in your contacts lists to be able to send files to your device.  There is an option to open up your device to allow any other macOS or iOS device within your vicinity to send files to you.  If you do change the setting to allow Everyone to connect to you via AirDrop, you are opening up the possibility that your device could receive inappropriate content from an individual you do not know.  Harassment attacks via AirDrop are well documented.  Some attacks have taken place at UNH on devices with the settings set to Everyone.

If you do set AirDrop to allow Everyone to connect, be cautious when receiving prompts on your device as to whether you wish to allow AirDrop to send you items.  You can always hit the Decline choice to not accept the file.

We do recommend that you leave AirDrop on the default configuration to allow Contacts Only to send things to your devices.

You also have the option of turning AirDrop off completely by setting your AirDrop setting to No One.

Apple's support website has details on these settings for iOS device (iPhone, iPad, etc) and for macOS.

 

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