Cyber flashing: How explicit images are being shared through Apple's AirDrop feature

'Cyber flashing' involves explicit images being anonymously sent - usually via AirDrop or Bluetooth - to strangers in public places. And disturbingly, children are being targeted.

This article was originally published for Channel 7 here

"Imagine you're a 13-year-old girl catching the bus home from school, just on your phone, doing your own thing," said Dr Joanne Orlando.

"All of a sudden, an image will come onto your phone - and it's normally a very sexually explicit image.

"It comes via Bluetooth - so if you have an iPhone, it's on AirDrop - and you can see that image very, very clearly.

"It comes from someone around you, and it can go to anyone."

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Anonymous AirDrop

"Once it's sent, you can't trace it and find who sent it to you," Orlando said.

"So when a person's sending it, they'll turn their AirDrop on and see all the phones with their AirDrop open - and they might send the photo to some of them or all of them.

"It's a form of bullying - and the aim of bullying is to humiliate the other person or incite fear."


Set your AirDrop receiving setting to 'Contacts Only' or 'Receiving Off' at any time to control who can see your device and send you content via AirDrop".

Joanne Orlando