A Newark JetBlue flight bound for Tampa was evacuated Monday after someone sent an image of a suicide bombing vest to multiple passengers already boarded as the plane waited for takeoff, according to a report from The Guardian. Because the perpetrator sent the image via Apple’s AirDrop feature, the message was anonymous and difficult if not impossible—to track.
Apple AirDrop, introduced in 2011, allows Apple devices to share media through a bluetooth connection. Usually this is used to share group selfies with everyone in it quickly, or drop a picture of a cute dog to your significant other sitting four feet away on the couch while you watch House Hunters or whatever. Occasionally, like today, the technology is used with malicious intent.
After the plane was evacuated, police were called in with bomb sniffing dogs to check that the threat wasn’t more than just an ill thought out prank. Port Authority ultimately determined that there was no actual threat, and the flight was re-boarded and made its destination without issue.
It’s probably best that you just turn off the AirDrop feature on your phone. Whatever people want to anonymously send you, you probably don’t want to see it. Some people have pictures of their genitals on their phone. They might try to send those pictures to you. You don’t want to see that.
And just on the off chance that you were thinking about sending a bomb vest as a joke to a plane load of people, please do not do that. Unsolicited messages of any kind are pretty much not a thing you should be doing in the first place.