A student has admitted to a misguided prank that saw them send a bomb hoax to the passengers of an airplane bound for Chicago using their iPhone’s AirDrop feature.
The hoax saw the student send an AirDrop file transfer request to other passengers that read “I have a bomb would like to share a photo.”
The plane was subsequently taken back off the runway and returned to a gate while authorities were called.
AirDrop gone wrong
AirDrop is a feature that allows iPhone, iPad, and Mac users to wirelessly transfer files to each other and is exclusive to Apple devices. Users can lock their devices down so that people they don’t know can’t initiate a transfer, theoretically preventing instances like this from cropping up.
To that end, Apple has already tweaked iOS to change AirDrop’s settings so that iPhones only accept files from everyone for ten minutes at a time. After that, they revert to only allowing messages from known contacts.
In this instance, the teen’s prank landed them in the El Paso Juvenile Probation Department after they confessed to sending the message — but only after evidence had pointed in their direction, Sky News (opens in new tab) reports.
In a statement released by the FBI, it said there was “no known credible threat to the aircraft or its passengers.” As a result, the agency said the El Paso County attorney had agreed to press charges — charges of false alarm or report, to be precise.
AirDrop can be a great way to transfer files, but some people continue to have issues with it beyond the one that cropped up here. Wireless transfers can be problematic, but there are other solutions. There are plenty of iPhone flash drives that can be used in a similar manner, with Lightning and USB ports that ensure the ultimate in compatibility.
It might not be as convenient, but you’re less likely to be sent a bomb hoax via flash drive.