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Law Enforcement Agencies Issue Warnings Following the Latest Apple iOS Release

Law Enforcement Agencies Latest Apple iOS
With the release of the latest Apple iOS, law enforcement agencies warned people to use the NameDrop feature with caution. Credit: HS You / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Law enforcement agencies across the United States are urging caution regarding a new feature in the latest Apple iOS software update, known as NameDrop.

In the recent iOS 17.1 and watchOS 10.1 updates, there’s a tool called NameDrop. This tool allows you to rapidly exchange contact details with nearby iPhones or Apple Watches, according to Apple’s official website.

However, this convenience has raised concerns among the police. They’re advising users to be cautious about this feature. Meanwhile, some people think the warnings are unnecessary.

FOX 35 Orlando reported that police are specifically advising parents to check their kids’ phone settings. It is because the iOS 17 update automatically activates NameDrop.

“This feature allows you to easily share contact information and photos to another iPhone by simply holding the phones close together,” Longwood Police Department wrote on Facebook. “This feature is defaulted to ‘ON’ which could result in you unknowingly sharing your contact information contact with others.”

11 agencies across the USA issued warnings

Law enforcement agencies, including the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office and police departments in Carmi, Illinois; Middletown, Ohio; Watertown, Connecticut; Jefferson Hills, Pennsylvania; and Fort Smith, Arkansas, have all issued alerts regarding NameDrop, as reported by Forbes.

In contrast, a digital security expert from IT security firm Sophos dismissed these alerts as “hysteria” and “nonsense” when speaking to The Washington Post.

The new NameDrop feature operates much like AirDrop. To exchange information, you need to be very close to the iPhone or Apple Watch you want to share with. Plus, both parties must agree before any sharing happens. For detailed instructions, you can check Apple’s website.

However, cybersecurity experts say that the NameDrop feature does make it simpler to share personal information, even with potential wrongdoers.

Mike Scheumack, Chief Innovation Officer of the identity theft protection company IdentityIQ, warns that this could involve sharing details like your name, phone number, email address, home and work addresses, birthday, a picture of your face, and potentially more.

The more access cybercriminals have to such information, the greater the potential harm to you and your financial well-being, Scheumack further expressed.

Fox News Digital says that it has contacted Apple for a statement, but as of now, there’s been no immediate response from them.

How can users turn off the ‘NameDrop’ feature?

To disable the NameDrop feature on your iPhone, follow these simple steps:

1. Open your iPhone’s settings.

2. Select “General.”

3. Click on “AirDrop.”

4. To turn off NameDrop, switch the “Bringing Devices Together” sharing option button to the off position.

While it’s wise for users to be cautious when using the NameDrop feature, some argue that the warnings advising complete avoidance of NameDrop are exaggerated, as reported by CBS News.

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