The AirDrop is surely a convenient feature from Apple to send and receive your links, video, and photos from iPhones, iPads and the Mac devices. However, what users don’t know about the sharing from AirDrop can give hackers access to the phone number of the aid devices which can then be used to recover the full digit code.
The law has recently been discovered by the workers at a security firm named Hexway. According to this flaw, the AirDrop can be used to obtain the phone numbers of the unsuspecting iPhone users. This phone number can be accessed with the help of software installed on a laptop along with a Wi-Fi adapter and a Bluetooth connection to sniff out the possible AirDrop connections.
The AirDrop works by using the Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) for creating peer-to-peer Wi-Fi network for the devices that need the data sharing. During this connection establishment and the transfer, AirDrop also uses hashes of the phone numbers of the said iPhone devices. This is basically done to create a sending or receiving contact for the device during the sharing process.
The more serious flaw in this feature is that if a user is making use of the feature named Apple Wi-Fi password, they are not only exposing the hashed parts of their phone number but also the Apple ID and the email address for it.
Although AirDrop only uses the hashed up parts of the phone numbers which is few numbers and the letters that are jumbled up, if someone really wanted to get a phone number, they can get the desired information.
Below is one of the scenarios that explain as to how hacker can sniff the phone number of an iPhone user.
– Create a database of SHA256(phone_number):phone_number for their region; e.g., for Los Angeles it’s: (+1-213-xxx-xxxx, +1-310-xxx-xxxx, +1-323-xxx-xxxx, +1-424-xxx-xxxx, +1-562-xxx-xxxx, +1-626-xxx-xxxx, +1-747-xxx-xxxx, +1-818-xxx-xxxx, +1-818-xxx-xxxx)
– Run a special script on the laptop and take a subway train
– When somebody attempts to use AirDrop, get the sender’s phone number hash
– Recover the phone number from the hash
– Contact the user in iMessage; the name can be obtained using TrueCaller or from the device name, as it often contains a name, e.g., John’s iPhone).
The security form based on their findings revealed that the iPhone models before 6S seem to be safe from this flaw.
So what is the way to protect your phone number from these hackers? Well, you have got to turn off the Bluetooth ad yes it would mean that you won’t be able to connect the AirPods, Apple Watch with your iPhones but for the sake of your privacy this is the price you would have to pay.