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Chinese Researchers Uncover AirDrop Privacy Risks: State-Supported Data Extraction Revealed

Chinese researchers, reportedly supported by the state, assert they’ve discovered a method to obtain personal data through Apple’s AirDrop feature. According to a Bloomberg report, the Beijing Wangshendongjian Judicial Appraisal Institute in China claims to access phone numbers, email addresses, and device names from AirDrop users via device logs. This investigation was initiated after reports of someone sharing inappropriate content on the Beijing subway using AirDrop. Privacy concerns are now in focus.

Chinese Researchers Uncover AirDrop Privacy Risks: State-Supported Data Extraction Revealed

The suspect, utilizing the iPhone’s AirDrop for anonymous dissemination of inappropriate content in public spaces, prompted a call for swift identification due to the challenges of tracking AirDrop’s anonymity.

Rainbow tables were reportedly employed by researchers to dehash iOS logs, providing crucial data shared with authorities to identify multiple suspects.

Amid China’s tight internet control, citizens turned to AirDrop for private content sharing, notably during the 2019 Hong Kong protests and in 2022.

AirDrop, an iOS feature enabling Bluetooth and Wi-Fi image sharing, gained notoriety for privacy during times of heightened government scrutiny.

In response, Apple’s iOS 16.1.1 update introduced a 10-minute limit for receiving content from anyone, initially in China, causing global controversy before implementation worldwide. Via BleepingComputer.

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