As reported by Forbes, a flaw was recently discovered by researchers from Germany’s technical university of Darmstadt in which the over 1.6 Billion Apple devices out there are vulnerable and yes, including your Apple device.
The researchers explained that there is a loophole on Apple cross-device sharing platform: Airdrop, through which hackers could access user’s data.
While trying to share files between devices, “To determine whether the other party is a contact, AirDrop uses a mutual authentication mechanism that compares a user’s phone number and email address with entries in the other user’s address book.” says the report.
However, “As an attacker, it is possible to learn the phone numbers and email addresses of AirDrop users – even as a complete stranger. All they require is a Wi-Fi-capable device and physical proximity to a target that initiates the discovery process by opening the sharing pane on an iOS or macOS device.”
The researchers had reached out to Apple about this findings since May 2019, but “Apple has neither acknowledged the problem nor made any attempt to fix it.” Says the Forbes report. In fact, the researchers offered a substitute that is based on optimized cryptographic private set intersection protocols which reveals less information for a sharing connection to be established.
The best way not to reduce one’s vulnerability as an apple user is to disable Airdrop and hope for Apple to come up with a fix, probably in the next update.
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