Here’s one for you – First Case of Cyber flashing reported!
Since mobile devices have had bluetooth, the authorities have had to deal with ‘bluejacking’ which is the use of bluetooth connectivity to share information with another device. Bluetooth allows people within a 5-10 metre radius to connect and in the case of bluejacking, send phone numbers, messages or images. However, the first case of cyber flashing was reported to the British Transport Police (BTP) recently.
Lorraine Crighton Smith travelling on a train in South London was the recipient of not one but two pictures of a strangers genitals – shared with her via Apple’s Air Drop functionality on her iPhone.
AirDrop is functionality specific to Apple devices and allows users to share information between devices easily. As the above image shows, you can choose who can actually see your device and who can send you information. Ms Crighton Smith received the images on her screen but is then given the opportunity to accept or refuse them. She refused the images as they were distressing to her. However, in doing so, there meant there was also no way of tracing them back to the device they were sent from.
You have to enable AirDrop and there is a clear explanation when you click on Everyone, that this makes your device open to, as you might have guessed, everyone in a 10 metre radius that has AirDrop activated. As aforementioned, you do have the opportunity to reject messages from people you don’t know, but you still get the unedited preview of whatever is being sent.
This is prime case of awareness. Using AirDrop at home is great, allows content to be shared between devices, but when you leave the house, always best to turn it off! Not only will it save your battery, but you won’t be susceptible to random, potentially offensive images or messages popping up on your mobile devices screen.
The close proximity of the offender is perhaps the most frightening as this only works within 10 metres. This means the perpetrator is on the same bus, train, tram as you and standing relatively close by. It’s an invasion of privacy and perhaps more worrying is the idea that instead of a 34 year old woman, who was quite rightly shocked and disgusted, but nevertheless able to process the situation, it could have been a child!
Protect yourselves and protect your children, turn AirDrop off when you are out in public, or at the very least set it to Contact Only.