Do I need a permission to install one or more Dead Drops in my city?

No! Everybody is invited to install one or more Dead Drops  in their neighborhood! I will continue installing Dead Drops around the world but you can make your own too! Please make sure to follow the guidelines how to install a Dead Drop. Once you re done please submit your Dead Drop info and pics and it ll be added to the data base. Credits for the concept (to me Aram Bartholl) and links to deaddrops.com are very welcome!

Do you put any files on the drive after you’ve installed it?

No, they are empty and waiting for your files. I only leave a readme.txt on there which explains the project and links to this site. Yes, the sticks are set to read and write and should mount as a plain mass storage drive (get rid of any autorun custom ‘cruzer’ stlye software).

How about security issues? How do you prevent  misuse with viruses, root-kits and malicious software?

I don’t take any actions here! Dead Drops are placed in public space in the city. They are public domain. This is part of the concept and part of the game. (If you ever worked in the field of street art you know what it means to place things outside). In general everybody is responsible for the security of their computers and systems. Is the Internet a safe place?!? Malicious code for USB flash drives is a problem in general. They could (and will) be misused for malicious software.  Be aware of that! Secure your system! Boot a virtual machine! Or ask your friend to go first ;-) … (It’s the thrill of the ‘glory hole’ says  boingboing ;-). Also! Dead Drops themselves will be subject to digital and or physical vandalism. Don’t be sad when it happens. Keep growing and install a new drive in maybe slight different location.

How can I make sure not to infect my system?

There are many possibilities to be on the safe side. ie. you could just boot from your system CD in save mode (Win or Mac) , this would prevent any virus to access your harddrive. Or go ahead and get  (Linux) Ubuntu ‘Live’ bootable from CD or USB.

What size of USB flash drive do you use?

You can use any size you want. I’ve used mainly 2GB and 4GB sticks. They are less expensive but old very small storage flash drives are cool too. I guess it is more interesting to have a lot of Dead Drops spread over the city, high density than a few with high capacity (USB powered hard drives are thinkable too! The first one who’s cementing one in I’ll buy a beer :-)

Why don’t you use an extension cable!

You can do that if you want. Although I like very much the gesture of plugging the computer directly into a building/wall/curb. I am sure everyone can be gentle enough to not break the Dead Drop. When you install one please make sure it is accessable with and without a cable. Leaning on the wall is very comfortable (ask Bre :-). A cable would be the next step before wireless Dead Drops which I personally don’t like as much. (But we can discuss options …)

How about water and rain?

Try to find places which are less exposed to weather. Try to find walls which are protected by overhanging roofs or similar. Often the rain doesn’t hit the wall itself (unless there is a thunderstorm). Experimentation with dryed flash drives after rain need to be done. … As long as the contacts are dry and the board is sealed of we are good, non?

What file format should the USB drive be?

I recommend FAT32 since a wide range of operating systems can read it


  1. The Mob Theory
    Posted November 10, 2010 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    I am loving this. With all the traveling I do, it would be awesome to see all the different stuff around and leave a trail wherever I go. Awesome idea! I’m in! submissions from me will be coming soon!

  2. Lord Nikon
    Posted November 10, 2010 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Just letting you guys know I have 8 dead drops set up and ready to install for Perth, Western Australia

    • Cereal Killer
      Posted November 10, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      Sweet stuff. Will probably try to set a few up myself. Makes me want to fix my netbook just in case I spot one. :P

  3. Posted November 11, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    The code to submit Dead Drops has been add to the Opencaching US site. Hopefully, this will increase awareness of the concept by Aram Bartholl and provide a feature filled place for listings.

    There are Opencaching sites in many countries and you may submit your listing in the country it is located in (although all sites accept listings from any country).

    OCUS Admin

  4. Posted November 14, 2010 at 3:28 am | Permalink

    Just think of the places you could put these things:

    Library Books
    DVD rentals
    Geocashing Boxes(why not?)

    Check this out: http://www.airstash.com/
    Somebody can rig up a solar panel or something and put the devise on a roof or something.

  5. Erik
    Posted November 14, 2010 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Regarding the effects of weather on a USB memory stick….

    I have had one go through the laundry washer and dryer with no ill effects.

    • Posted November 15, 2010 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

      o yeah, those things dont care about water or anything. Unless somebody breaks the heads off them they will be fine.