Social Computing Installations and the Security Risks

A friend of mine shared a link to this website http://deaddrops.com/ which is a social computing installation experiment that is spreading across the world. In the creators own words “Dead Drops is an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space.”

I started watching the video on how this experiment is supposed to work and its basically people installing a USB drive onto a wall in a public space using some cement and others come around with their computers and plug them into these USB drives and download and share the data. Right away security risk red flags went up everywhere in my head.

This installation serves as a testament to how ignorant and misinformed most people are. Connecting your laptop to these mounted USB drives, is like opening your house for a thiefs and inviting them over to sniff through your stuff. It’s crazy and the sad thing is that common people don’t even understand the nature of the risk.

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3 thoughts on “Social Computing Installations and the Security Risks

  1. This seems like an extremely bad idea all together. Obviously a security risk no questions there. But also it sounds like a new way to spread illegal content. I guess since you need physical access it makes catching people sharing files illegally a little easier. My guess is the person with this idea isn’t very tech savvy, you don’t need to be that smart to see the security problem.

  2. I see this project as more of an art installation than a valid attempt at community file sharing. I think even the less tech savvy public would see at least some security issues with this, and that’s a part of the statement that the creator of this is trying to make. Plugging your computer into one of these is taking a big chance, and maybe you’ll get something cool out of it, and maybe you’ll get a virus. It speaks to the nature of all people. Some would contribute something they created and wanted to share, others might share illegal music, and then there would be people who abuse the right and ruin things for everyone else.

    I still wouldn’t plug my computer into it, but I can appreciate the idea behind it.

  3. I am sure the original idea was meant to be an artistic social installation of some kind. However, I think if the artist could have done something to make people more aware of the risks of plugging their computers to these USB ports. 

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