iPhone feature could leave you vulnerable to receiving explicit pictures from strangers

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cyber flashing is exactly what it sounds like.

The ability to flash an unwanted picture onto someone's iPhone without even knowing their phone number and without their permission can happen through Apple's Airdrop feature on the iPhone.

The feature is meant to be convenient, to share pics and files directly from one phone to another when you're in range of someone.

"There are bad people out there who will take advantage of this," said tech expert Dan Hatter.

Hatter said there are creeps out there using Airdrop, to drop nasty pics on anyone's iPhone that isn't protected.

Cleveland 19 News brought in Mimi Puente with her grandson Cameron to show her how it works.

"What would you say if I told you right now that I could put a picture up on his phone?" asked reporter Dan DeRoos.

"You can put a picture up on his phone without knowing his number?" asked Puente. "I'd be shocked."

We first checked Cameron's Airdrop settings and turned it to everyone, meaning everyone could send his phone photos if they were within 30 feet.

That's like being on a bus, plane or busy mall and his phone is wide open to everyone.

"It would never occur to me, that someone would say hmm, I think I'll take an inappropriate picture of myself, and just randomly fire it off to anyone's phone that I can find, within the general vicinity," said Hatter.

DeRoos then took an innocent picture and hit send on the bottom of the iPhone.

The phone pulled up an airdrop as an option. By hitting Airdrop the phone looks for anyone within range that has the setting turned on.

DeRoos found Cameron's phone who was sitting in another room.

By pressing send, the photo was on its way in a matter of seconds.

The look on Puente's face was one of being stunned and shocked when the photo appeared full on her grandson's phone.

"That is just that just scares the heck out of me," said Puente.

"They could send any kind of picture. How does that make you feel?" asked DeRoos.

"I'm like completely shocked at like, I feel violated. I mean to know that he's 9 and he can get any kind of picture on his phone," said Puente.

Here's how you turn off Airdrop

Scroll up from the bottom of your phone to pull up the home menu.

Airdrop is the icon with a wave of rings.

Click and choose whether to turn Airdrop off or give accessible to only the people in your contacts.

If you are ever in a situation where you want to send a pic or file to someone in the room with you, you can always turn Airdrop back on.

Follow Dan DeRoos on Facebook and Twitter. Have a question you want him to answer? Email him at dderoos@woio.com.

Copyright 2017 WOIO. All rights reserved.