Most of the time, when we speak of smartphone technology we're touting its benefits.
That's because these handy gadgets have opened the door to an entire world of possibilities on the go. We're now able to surf the web, send business emails, check banking information and so much more right from the palm of our hands.
Unfortunately, some of this amazing technology can be used against us by bad actors. There's one phone setting in particular that if turned on could put you in a scary situation.
Is your iPhone exposed to strangers?
We're talking about a feature found on Apple products called AirDrop. This allows you to instantly share photos, videos, documents, and more with other Apple devices nearby.
A woman in Texas had AirDrop turned on and you won't believe the frightening ordeal that it led to.
Becca Blackman Wilcox was recently driving from New Mexico to Texas when she stopped at a convenience store to get some supplies. About 20 minutes after leaving the store, she was scared for her life.
That's because a man who was getting gas at the same convenience store ended up stalking her. Not only was the creepy guy following Wilcox closely behind in his car, he also knew her name and was able to send her messages.
The man even called Wilcox on the phone while tailing her vehicle. She told the "USA Today" that the man said, "Becca? It's Jason. I'm behind you. Pull over."
The incident ended up in a frantic game of cat and mouse. Wilcox did everything in her power to try and lose the stalker but she couldn't slip away. She was so terrified that she called 911 to report what was happening and then called her children to have them track her phone and keep tabs on her location.
Her kids were able to guide her to the nearest police station. Luckily, once Wilcox pulled into the police station, the man sped away.
How to secure your AirDrop settings
Typically, when AirDrop is turned on, Apple users within a certain vicinity can share files on their gadgets but are not able to see the other person's phone number. Which is why it's unknown how the stalker in the Wilcox incident was able to find her number. One possibility is at one point in time the two could have actually known each other and shared contact information.
Even if a stranger isn't able to get your phone number through AirDrop, they are able to send you unwanted pictures or files. I've heard of multiple situations where friends were in a public place and a disgusting photo just popped up on their iPhone. This is possible if you don't have your AirDrop setting locked down.
That's why you need to know how to adjust the settings. Here's how:
In AirDrop there are three options in the settings. You can have AirDrop Receiving Off, Contacts Only, or Everyone.
If it's set to everyone, then anyone within a certain range can send things to your gadget. Even strangers.
Image: Example of AirDrop set to Everyone.
Here are the steps to adjust AirDrop settings:
- Tap Settings
- Tap General
- Tap AirDrop
- Choose your setting - Either select Receiving Off, Contacts Only, or Everyone.
The settings are pretty self-explanatory. Receiving Off means the AirDrop feature is off and you can't share files with anyone. Contacts Only means you can send or receive items only with people in your contact list.
Finally, Everyone means that anyone within range can share files with you. This is the one that could put you in a precarious situation. I recommend never having the Everyone setting on, there's just no reason for it. As they say, it's always better to be safe than sorry.
Have a question about security or anything else dealing with technology? Kim has your answer! Click here to send Kim a question, she may use it and answer it on her radio show.
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