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Dead Drops for Anonymous File Sharing – Tech Tuesday

The other day I came across an article about Dead Drops. These are offline file sharing networks, that are publicly accessible and open to everyone. They’re basically just a USB flash drive, embedded into a wall, building or some other structure. You just walk up to it, hook your laptop or netbook to it, and start sharing. And there’s a dead drop here in Capital Region.Granted this is kind of different from BitTorrent, which right now is the king of online file sharing. But it’s kind of neat to take an old spy tool, and recycle it for modern day hackers and the like. Back in the Cold War (and even before that), a dead drop was just a place that someone could leave information, and then someone else who knew about the site would go and pick the information up. Now it’s just been given a little information age upgrade. Instead of paper or microfilm, you just connect your computer and drop files on to it or pick them up. There’s no logs of who dropped what off. So it’s truly anonymous.

But there are pitfalls to this. Any person could walk up to it and unknowingly or on purpose, drop a virus on it and ruin the day of someone who is just curious or wants to share something. But I think, for the most part, people are good about these things and won’t do anything like that. But it never hurts to be cautious. one thing you can do is to use a Live CD distribution of Linux to boot your computer with. This will protect your hard drive because it’s read only when booted by a Live CD. From there, you could simply upload the file to Dropbox or another similar site so you can scan the file later for any malware or virii.

As for what to share on these, that one is up to you. I would suggest nothing illegal or you don’t have a right to distribute or own. Save a bunch of time and money on legal fronts. But if this kind of thing piques your interest, there is a video below on how to create your own dead drop. And if you want to check one out for yourself, there is supposedly one in Saratoga Springs, but I can’t confirm it. But it is listed in the Dead Drop database. If you find it and use it, let me know about it. I’m eager to hear how it goes. And if you create one, please add it to the database and share it with people.

UPDATE: An iOS app for searching the database and finding Dead Drops near you, is now available on the iTunes App store. A problem with the app reading the database has been fixed and the app is 100%. I suggest checking it out.

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