China Declares Apple AirDrop Compromised

Knight Writer
2 min readJan 14, 2024
Photo by Ross Stone on Unsplash

Meanwhile in China

A Chinese government forensic institute claims to have identified anonymous senders using Apple’s AirDrop feature by successfully cracking it.

The Beijing Municipal Justice Bureau Office reports in a website post that the agency instituted security crackdowns on AirDrop after some individuals received ‘inappropriate’ video via AirDrop while riding the Beijing subway.

Reportedly, forensic specialists cracked hashed values of the sender’s email address, mobile phone number, and device name using a “rainbow table.”

The following is an automated translation of the report:…

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An in-depth analysis of the iPhone device files by forensic technical experts from the Beijing Wangshendongjian Forensic Appraisal Institute revealed AirDrop-related records and clarified the transmission principle.

Upon closer inspection, it was discovered that certain elements associated with the hash value were concealed while others pertaining to the sender’s device name, email address, and mobile phone number were encoded as hash values.

The technical team devised a comprehensive “rainbow table” comprising email addresses and mobile phone numbers as a means to decipher this field swiftly.

This table enables the conversion of ciphertext to its original form and facilitates the immediate locking of the sender’s email address and mobile phone number.

The Beijing Wangshendongjian Forensic Appraisal Institute ultimately rendered a legally binding forensic opinion by diligently examining the victim’s iPhone layer by layer in search of hints.

Through an exhaustive examination of the pertinent apparatus at both the transmitting and receiving ends, law enforcement successfully identified several suspects implicated in the incident.

The forensic evaluation conducted by the Beijing Wangshendongjian Judicial Appraisal Institute (what a name) on the case of improper information distributed via “airdrop” on mobile phones overcame the technical challenges associated with anonymous traceability via AirDrop, thereby enhancing the efficacy and precision of case identification, and thwarting the dissemination of potentially harmful remarks and their subsequent impact.

Protestors in China have utilized AirDrop to distribute files and circumvent government censorship.

In China, Apple restricted the ‘Everyone’ setting for AirDrop to ten minutes with the release of iOS 16.1.1. iOS 16.2 subsequently extended that to all users. I hope you found this information impactful.

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Knight Writer

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