A flight departing from Tel Aviv was delayed and nine passengers arrested after numerous passengers on the plane received unsolicited airplane crash photos via Apple’s AirDrop feature, sparking panic onboard.
AirDrop Used To Send Crash Photos, Create Panic On 737-800 Flight From Israel
It was only three days ago that Kyle covered the potential hazards of using AirDrop to send pornography to unsuspecting passengers. AirDrop is a service in Apple iOS and macOS operating systems which can transfer files among supported Macintosh computers and iOS devices by means of close-range wireless communication. Here, we see another potential hazard to Apple’s AirDrop tool: the ability to instill fear to the point that a flight is delayed.
It isn’t clear if this was a practical joke or something more sinister, but the incident occurred onboard an AnadoluJet 737-800 bound for Istanbul (SAW). AnadoluJet is a subsidiary of Turkish Airlines and operated under TK7709. Just prior to takeoff at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion International Airport (TLV), passengers onboard began to receive images via AirDrop. Those included:
- 2009 crash of Turkish Airlines flight 1951, which crash landed at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, killing nine
- 2013 crash of Asiana Airlines flight 214, which crash landed at San Francisco International Airport, killing three
Both pictures were accompanied by footage from inside the plane. Passengers notified flight attendants, who notified the captain. The decision was made to return to the gate. One woman allegedly fainted.
Nine suspects were identified onboard, removed, questioned, and now face potential charges for disseminating false information, which carries a prison term of up to three years. All were Israelis from the Galilee region. After the initial delay, the aircraft took off for Istanbul, arriving over five hours late, but safely.
AirDrop has been with us for years and is an immensely helpful tool when used properly. But as the product matures, some with less scruples are seeing both commercial opportunity (as Kyle outlined) and the ability to prank unsuspecting passengers, as we saw here.
image: Radio Nederland Wereldomroep
Out of curiosity, how did the accused disseminate “false information”? They sent pics of real events. Clearly trying to instill fear. Obviously the nuances of Israeli law are not my forte
So people were accepting Airdrops from random strangers? Now THAT is strange.
The picture you’re posting of a Turkish Airlines plane crash at Amsterdam Schipol in 2009 is in total bad taste. Totally misleading. Pure clickbait garbage trap. Not to mention it is so disrespectful to the victims of such accident. Shame on you! I thought you knew better. Not to mention the fact that it has no relation whatsoever with the content in your article.
That photo is what the person sent to other pax.
Correct – I even referenced this in the article so I’m not sure what the objection is.
Sometimes when I read comments, wonder “Did this person read the article, or did he just look at the pictures and skip straight to commenting?”
Thank you for leaving no room for confusion about how you formed this comment.
I would imagine that Israeli justice will have a suitable punishment for anyone even joking about aviation security. These people may be in prison for a very long time.
“Someone broke into my car”
“Did you leave it unlocked?”
“Yes, I always do”
“Now you know to lock your car in the future.”
“Someone broke into my house.”
“Did you leave the ventilation shaft unlocked?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t know I had a ventilation shaft?”
“You didn’t initially. Workers came back later and added ventilation shafts to some of the houses, but not all houses got them. All of the ventilation shafts were built with a lockable access panel, but all of them were left unlocked.”
“Why the hell did they do that, I don’t really have a ventilation problem?”
“Now you can get fresh air into your house easier, which can be beneficial in certain situations. You are an idiot for not locking the panel up. Oh, by the way, because this seemed like a good idea, now they are included in some cars, offices, childcare centers, schools, other places too—so it’s not just houses.”
“And, all of these are left unlocked by default, so people can just get in to all of these places?”
“Yes, of course they are. Why wouldn’t they be? I can’t believe that you’re this big of an idiot.”
“I wish people talked about this more, so I would have known and could have educated myself about this.”
“That’s not necessary. You’re an idiot for talking about this. This is a non-issue.”
You, Sir, made my day. It is not often that software design decisions are explained in a humourous way and at the same time nailing the issue. Don’t buy Apple products. Or Google’s. Oh, wait…
Hmm, a one click easily displayed setting on your phone compared to a ventilation shaft in your house. An interesting but pretty weak comparison. Try harder. Unless this is satire, in which you get kudos.
That’s your criticism? That it’s easier to disable airdrop than to operate a physical lock, thus the analogy doesn’t hold?
Let me break down in no uncertain terms why your analogy is less accurate: Today, effectively 100% of production cars have door locks, and that has been the case for more than 50 years. Similarly 100% of car owners know how to use them, and know the risks of not using them. Many modern cars even lock the door for you if you forget. Today, the majority of phones don’t have airdrop. The majority of people don’t know how to use airdrop, and don’t understand the risks of using it. Modern smartphones didn’t even exist 15 years ago. Airdrop was barely known 10 years ago. Do you know how many years it took before cars were regularly manufactured with door locks? More than 40.
Beyond that, the idea of theft from an unsecured and unattended car is relatively intuitive.
Last August, my 7 year old daughter had a friend over and they were blowing bubbles on the porch. They wanted to take pictures of this. So we took some with the iPad. The friend’s parent wanted a copy of the pic, so he showed me a few buttons to press and the pics were airdropped, great. For you it’s intuitive that what that means when you share those pics on that sunny day, is that 9 months later when you get on a flight to go to the beach, some random folks can market porn to your kids who are trying watch Finding Nemo on that same iPad. To me that just isn’t intuitive.
That’s why I’m glad Kyle wrote his article, and I’m glad folks are talking about this. So that over time everyone else can be as smart as you already are.
Ok, boomer. Not sure what else to say. Way overblown. It’s a simple setting. If you are not comfortable with these things, well, don’t use them. I am not sure what else to say in response to you other than this this is a completely idiotic conversation. I am hardly tech savvy, hardly anyone to teach, but I still know full well the settings to enable a protected atmosphere for anything I am doing. And for my own daughter as well. It’s not brain surgery. In fact, it’s like locking up your house at night. If that’s too hard, well, go back to using a polaroid the next time you are all blowing bubbles on the porch.
See… Kyle’s article WAS relevant!
Um, the default setting for AirDrop *is* CONTACTS ONLY. SO I guess all these people who don’t know AirDrpp exists nor know how to use it somehow changed the setting for something they don’t even know is there?