iPhone’s NameDrop feature: is it safe to use

As an iPhone user, you are likely familiar with your device’s wide array of features. One of these is NameDrop, a contact-sharing feature introduced in iOS 17. While this feature allows for swift and easy sharing of contact information, concerns have been raised about its impact on cyber security. Let’s delve into the details.

Introduction to NameDrop – how it works

NameDrop is an innovative contact-sharing feature that Apple introduced with its iOS 17 update. This feature allows iPhone users to share their contact details with just a tap of their phones, eliminating the need to manually type in details or hand over your device to strangers. Utilizing NameDrop is a straightforward process. When you want to share your contact information with another iPhone user, all you need to do is hold your device close to theirs. A ‘Contact Poster’ will appear, offering you the choice to receive the other person’s details, send your own, or do both. It’s important to note that NameDrop is only compatible with iPhones running iOS 17 or later and Apple Watches operating on Watch OS 10 or later.

The cyber security aspect

While NameDrop offers convenience, concerns have been raised about its implications for cyber security. Given the ease with which information can be shared, there are fears that the feature could be manipulated to steal personal data. However, it’s essential to understand that exchanging information through NameDrop is not automatic. Both parties need to agree to the transfer, and you have control over what details you share. So, even if someone attempts to force a NameDrop connection, they won’t be able to access your data without your consent.

Expanding on cybersecurity risks

Unauthorized access through coerced consent: One of the subtler risks involves situations where consent may be given under pressure or without full understanding. This could happen in social situations where declining a contact exchange might be socially awkward, potentially leading to unwanted information sharing.

Data interception risks: While the consent mechanism is a significant safeguard, the security of the data during its transmission is also a concern. If the transmission is not fully encrypted or if the software has vulnerabilities, it could lead to interception or eavesdropping by unauthorized third parties.

Social engineering tactics: Another concern is the use of social engineering tactics. Malicious individuals could deceive users into sharing more information than intended, or they could masquerade as a trusted contact to gain access to personal information.

Accidental sharing: The user-friendly nature could lead to accidental sharing of contact information, especially if the user is unfamiliar with the technology or the interface.

Vulnerability to malware and hacking: If it becomes a very popular feature, it could be targeted by hackers and malware designed to exploit its functionality. This could lead to scenarios where consent is bypassed, or malware is transferred along with contact information.

How to use NameDrop safely

To mitigate any potential cyber security risks, follow these guidelines when using NameDrop:

Be Selective with Your Information: Choose what details you’re comfortable sharing via NameDrop. You don’t need to divulge overly personal data.

Limit Usage to Trusted Contacts: Only use NameDrop with people you trust. If you’re unsure about sharing your details with someone, it’s best to refrain from using the feature.

Stay Alert: Be aware of your surroundings when using NameDrop. If you notice an unfamiliar device attempting to connect, disconnect it immediately.

How to disable NameDrop

If you still have reservations about using it, you can easily disable the feature:

Open the Settings app on your iPhone.

Head over to the ‘General’ section.

Find and tap on the ‘AirDrop’ tab.

Toggle the ‘Bring Devices Together’ option off.

This will deactivate NameDrop, preventing any unwanted attempts to share your contact information.

While NameDrop is undoubtedly a convenient feature, it’s crucial to use it responsibly to maintain cyber security. Don’t let the convenience of a feature like NameDrop compromise the safety of your data. Stay alert, stay safe, and continue enjoying the many benefits of your iPhone.

Kristi Shehu is a Cyber Security Engineer (Application Security) and Cyber Journalist based in Albania. She lives and breathes technology, specializing in crafting content on cyber news and the latest security trends, all through the eyes of a cyber professional. Kristi is passionate about sharing her thoughts and opinions on the exciting world of cyber security, from breakthrough emerging technologies to dynamic startups across the globe.