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Have you gotten in on the fun trend known as “Dead Drops”?

Trends that capture the imagination of the entire world are fun to watch, and even more enjoyable to be a part of. It does not make sense to participate in all of them, but every now and then it probably doesn’t hurt to get involved.

Remember when “planking” was a thing? That seemed difficult, so no one would blame you if you passed. There was also the “Harlem Shake,” which was fun for many people. Then there was what was going on with Tide Pods, which was so obviously not a good thing to do.

One trend that has been around for a while now is known as “Dead Drops,” and on the surface, it seems like a wonderful thing to get involved with. However, it does not come without a bit of danger, which in some ways makes sense.

The concept is whimsical

The concept of a Dead Drop comes from spy-speak, as it was the name for a method of passing along secret information. In that case, agents would leave their secret messages in a trash can or behind a loose brick in a wall.

Nowadays, a Dead Drop refers to a concept developed by Berlin-based media artist Aram Bartholl in October 2010. What happens is USB drives are embedded into buildings, walls, trees and curbs — all of which are accessible public spaces — and people are free to drop or find files on the drive. Share or be shared with, it’s your choice.

The result is an anonymous, offline peer-to-peer file sharing network that is out in public. With a nice combination of fun and mystery, Dead Drops have attracted a cult following around the world as people are encouraged to share their favorite files with the rest of the world. Photos, poems, stories — whatever it is, it can be shared.

It might be about now where you are wondering why something so free and enjoyable could also be dangerous. Well, think about this: you are plugging your computer into a random USB drive whose contents you are unaware of.

While most people probably get into the spirit of the idea and only share nice things, there are likely some who will try and ruin it for all by uploading a virus, malware, spyware or something else that could cause your computer and you great harm. Indeed, Dead Drops represent a security risk.

That’s why if you find a Dead Drop and do want to participate, it’s probably best that you do so with a secondary computer that, if compromised, will not throw your life into chaos.

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A USB drive can also be used to lock and unlock your PC

Most of our computers contain such things as banking information, tax documents, saved passwords and more. Can you imagine someone snooping around and getting their hands on all that? If you do have sensitive info on your computer, you might want to take extra precautions to lock it down. Click here for a download that can help.

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