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China claims to have decrypted Apple AirDrop to identify senders

China claims to have decrypted Apple AirDrop to identify senders

(CNN) — A Chinese technology company has managed to decrypt Apple's AirDrop wireless file sharing feature to identify users of the popular feature, according to the Beijing Justice Bureau.

The Beijing-based company, Wangshendongjian Technology, was able to help police track down people who used the service to send “inappropriate information” to passersby on the Beijing subway. The agency said in a statement on Monday .

The cell phone numbers and email addresses of the senders were identified as part of the investigation after a complaint, according to the statement. He added that a number of suspects had been identified, without giving details about the nature of the messages.

AirDrop has been blamed for spam messages received by some travelers on subways and buses in Chinese cities. Protesters also reportedly used the popular wireless file sharing feature to post anonymous messages critical of the Chinese government in the final months of 2022.

The company “overcame the technical difficulties of anonymous tracking through AirDrop,” which “prevented further spread of inappropriate comments and potential ill effects,” the statement said.

CNN has reached out to Apple (AAPL) for comment.

According to international media, including the New York Times and Vice World News, some residents in China used AirDrop technology, which can only be used between Apple devices, to distribute flyers and photos echoing slogans used in a rare protest against Chinese leader Xi Jinping in October. From that year.

In 2019, the AirDrop service, which only works over short distances, was particularly popular with anti-government protesters in Hong Kong, who regularly used the feature to send colorful posters and artwork to subway riders urging them to move on. Participation in protests.

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In November 2022, Apple began restricting AirDrop sharing to people who were not contacts of devices in China, making it difficult for users to share files with people they do not know. Later, this feature was expanded worldwide.