Whether you use the features or not your Apple and Android devices come with a convenient, but sometimes unwelcome feature. The features, Apple’s AirDrop and Android’s Nearby Share allows the convenience of sharing pictures, files, links, and other items from your device to someone else who is near to you. AirDrop and Nearby are great and we use them frequently, but as with all good things they can be abused and come with a dark side. If not configured and secured correctly, strangers and others with malicious intent can send you (or your children in possession of devices) unsolicited pictures, links, and more.
What can you do to protect yourself?
- Disable AirDrop and Nearby Share when not in use. This is the top recommendation, although it may be the most inconvenient to implement (see links below for instructions).
- When activated, set AirDrop to allow communication with Contacts Only (if they are in your iCloud contacts list) or Everyone (if they are not in your iCloud contacts list and you do not want to add them).
- While Nearby Share does not allow granular control over who can send files, Android requires you to enable device visibility, which you can control to All Contacts (anyone in your Google Contacts), Some Contacts (Specific contacts), or Hidden. Caveat: While using these settings on Android won’t necessarily stop someone from trying to send you a file if you have Nearby Share enabled, you will still need to approve the visibility prior to them sending you a file.
- If your child has an Apple device, use ScreenTime to restrict AirDrop access.
- If you do not want to restrict your child’s use of AirDrop, use this link to sign up for Bark monitoring and see what they are being sent or sending without the need to spend hours combing through devices.
- Contact us to assist with any issues relating to AirDrop, ScreenTime, or Nearby Share.
Link to Apple’s AirDrop Instructions
Link to AndroidCentral’s Nearby Share Instructions
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CIO Services, LLC is a Las Vegas based MSP and IT Consulting firm focusing primarily on small to medium sized businesses and is a contributor to tech journals and blogs alike. Please see below for links to their website and social media sites.
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