USB Dead Drops





Introduction: USB Dead Drops

Dead drops is a project by Aram Bartholl that seeks to create "dead drops" which are cloudless offline storage that anyone can access.

This instructable goes over how i set up a dead drop right in downtown san francisco, hopefully with these instructions you can do you own, anywhere.

Step 1: Concept


‘Dead Drops’ is an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space. USB flash drives are embedded into walls, buildings and curbs accessable to anybody in public space. Everyone is invited to drop or find files on a dead drop. Plug your laptop to a wall, house or pole to share your favorite files and data. Each dead drop is installed empty except a readme.txt file explaining the project.
The term dead drop comes from an old spy term where some information would be passed from one person to another, usually party a would leave something for party b to pick up sometime later. This project takes that same concept and turns it into a peer to peer system where people can share all kinds of random files or ideas. 

Step 2: Supplies

For this you will need at least the following:

1 USB stick
Plumbers tape
Patching cement (get quick drying if possible)
Small Screwdriver

Drill with masonry bit
USB extension Cable

Step 3: Dissasemble the USB Drive

First you want to take apart your usb drive so you just have the circuit board. This is easy to do with just a small screw driver.

Step 4: Wrap the Usb Drive

Next you want to wrap the usb drive in plumbers tape to make it water proof. When you are done you'll have a nice little covering.

Step 5: Prepare Your Drop Point

Next you want to prepare your drop point. If need be you can use a drill and masonry bit to drill out enough space to fit your usb drive.

Once the hole it made place the usb drive in to see if it fits.

Step 6: Cement the Drive

Now that you have a clean drop point, time to use cement to make it stick. Make sure you don't get cement on the usb tip. Just apply it inside of the hole and a bit around.

Step 7: Upload Files

Next you want to upload the required files and put them onto the drive. You could do this earlier, but any time during the process is fine

The usb stick must contain these files:

Step 8: Take Pictures

The dead drop project requires 3 pictures of your dead drop, one far away, one medium distance and one close up.

Step 9: Submit Your Dead Drop and Maintenance

Next you want to Submit your dead drop to the listing of drops all around the world, you can do that by going here:

Lastly if you want you can do some maintenance, this would include checking for viruses or deleting files that are old, etc.

This dead drop contains a special prize for those who contact it.

Please post your own dead drops in the comments!



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    Clandestine, can think of many fun places to 'hide' these.
    Depending on how liberal you want to be with the spirit of USB dead-drops, this could easily be expanded to vehicles such as trains, buses and other types of mass transit. The added twist of having to locate the right train/bus/ferry, then right seat. Sort of like e-geocaching.

    Is there a method to ensure the readme and manifesto stay on the drive and aren't removed by some cyber-hooligan, or is it just maintenance by users/you.

    If you use Linux, or a similar OS you're pretty much immune to Window$ viruses - and Linux can handle a lot of the same filetypes as Windows. Be safe - use a Linux laptop/netbook.

    In reality, Linux user base are much bigger than general public talks.

    IDEA!!! if you really wanted to only share files between friends or people in the know, and at the same time avoid viruses (maybe) is to use TrueCrypt or some other encryption to make an encrypted file or even hidden encrypted file for the flashdrive and put everything on that.

    that kinda defeats the purpose dosent it?

    new to all this dont really want to make one myself but more just wondering whether anyone knows of the locations of some in england (south west) would be great if there were some up and running :) think they are a great idea

    I am putting some around eastleigh tomorrow not really near you though. Only 2GB too but still usefull.

    weather can get to these. shouldnt the usb plug cover be left behind to,protect from corrosion ? and these arent write protected ... a virus is easily up/down loaded. i would get permission for locations. defacing/destroying property makes it more likely it will be removed soon.

    also. becareful removing cover (if you do) static charge can wipe it out before you do much with it. and maybe a nonelectric expoxy would seal better than plumbers tape. is plumbers tape electronically safe ?