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USB 'Dead Drops' 322

Okian Warrior writes "Aram Bartholl is building a series of USB dead drops in New York City. Billed as 'an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space,' he has embedded USB sticks as file cache devices throughout the city. Bartholl says, 'I am "injecting" USB flash drives into walls, buildings and curbs accessible to anybody in public space. You are invited to go to these places (so far 5 in NYC) to drop or find files on a dead drop. Plug your laptop to a wall, house or pole to share your files and data.' Current locations (more to come) include: 87 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn, NY (Makerbot), Empire Fulton Ferry Park, Brooklyn, NY (Dumbo), 235 Bowery, NY (New Museum), Union Square, NY (Subway Station 14th St), and West 21st Street, NY (Eyebeam)"
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USB 'Dead Drops'

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  • by techmuse ( 160085 ) on Saturday October 30, 2010 @06:07PM (#34075552)

    So basically, you are being invited to connect a USB device from an unknown source, with unknown code on it, to your machine. There have been many instances of people leaving USB sticks with exploit binaries around for people to find. You find the stick, stick it in your machine, and are promptly exploited. Regardless of whether the creator of the dead drops hasn't done this intentionally themselves (hopefully, they haven't), you have no idea what might have been placed on the sticks by others.

  • by techmuse ( 160085 ) on Saturday October 30, 2010 @06:09PM (#34075560)

    And here is an article on this exploit technique:

  • by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Saturday October 30, 2010 @06:50PM (#34075850) Journal

    Basically, this []. A very reasonable point, and one that I hadn't considered myself.

  • by KibibyteBrain ( 1455987 ) on Saturday October 30, 2010 @06:51PM (#34075860)
    Hate to break it to you, but the first thing a Windows boxen will do when it is then plugged into the drive then will be prompt the user to format it, NTFS, sort of making this hardly any real fix, and really just more annoying to the projects spirit as whatever pdf of the Anarchist's Cookbook or whatever "contraband" files these kiddies will be spreading at these dead-drops will be deleted twice.
  • by bsDaemon ( 87307 ) on Saturday October 30, 2010 @07:17PM (#34075994)

    They really don't have any standards for art anymore, do they?

  • by oblivionboy ( 181090 ) on Saturday October 30, 2010 @08:34PM (#34076408)

    Thats ok. And we hate you. :)

    You ultimately don't have to connect to the USB stick if you don't want to. And as for your suggestion, you've obviously missed the point, because the concept behind it is NOT to share files with someone you know. But rather to create drop spots in an urban environment to see what happens. Think of it as creating a parallel (and sllightly subversive) infrastructure that people might use in new and original ways. I would expect that in the age of "oh nohs! all the guvernmsnts r trackingzz us!!!" you would applaud this in a small way. With a bit of encryption you might be able to do all sorts of stuff with it.

    But as we say in Art: glad you don't like -- must mean its doing something right.

  • Re:Yeeeahhh (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lost Race ( 681080 ) on Saturday October 30, 2010 @11:19PM (#34077168)

    If that's really your concern then they could mess with the USB stick in the middle of the night to log details.

    Log what details? USB hosts don't leave fingerprints on storage devices. As far as the device is concerned, the host is totally anonymous.

    MAC addresses are trivial to change, even in windows.

    And USB-borne malware is trivially easy to avoid, even in Windows, which didn't stop dozens of people from posting "OH NOES, TEH VIRUS!!!!" in this discussion.

Trap full -- please empty.