The Pirate Box

One of the most fun aspects of a LAN party was exploring the shared files of all the other users on the network. There were people that would show up, solely for the file swapping. That is exactly what this project is about. From the projects wiki, the Pirate box is a mobile p2p sharing and collaboration platform. Basically it is a wireless hotspot with a slick interface and a shared folder. It doesn’t connect to the internet, and it doesn’t log any connections. You can have a file swapping session simply by flipping it on and sharing its space with other people. They’ve included a step by step guide to setting up your own, but if you’re going to do some subversive file swapping we might suggest putting it in a less conspicuous enclosure. Imagine this as a portable verion of dead drops.

21 thoughts on “The Pirate Box

  1. All I can think about after this article is a scene from the movie “Hook”:

    Captain Hook: Yes, you made a boo-boo.
    Pirate: I did. I did!
    Captain Hook: The Boo Box.
    Pirate: Not the Boo Box! NOO!!

    My apologies to anyone else who is about to have that same problem.

  2. I’m an amateur radio operator, and have done RDF in the military. Why are you worried about RDF? Set this up in an area that you can see around you. A park, a library (the rooms here in the library have glass walls), or outside a coffee shop. Then never set up in the same area twice in a year. You’ll need 52 locations to LAN party at (I thought of 20 off the top of my head). If someone does call some form of authority, you’ll be done and gone before they can arrive, and you won’t be back for a year. The vehicles/antennas used are easy to spot. Shut down if you get worried. Understand the ONLY way you get caught, is if you are stupid.

  3. This same thing could be accomplished with a wrt-54g if you added a sd slot. One plug, smaller form factor. You probably could power it by battery quite easily. A lot cheaper, especially if you have an old router lurking in the shaddows.

  4. 1. How about not having to carry a lunchbox with an antenna and skull-and-crossbones if you’re worried about being a moving target?

    2. If you MUST have a lunchbox with an antenna and a skull-and-crossbones, at least put up some real pirated content.

    3. Old Android phone, AP mode. Put the appropriately logoed patch on your pants if you must.

  5. Damn. Every time I think I have a project idea that is somewhat original, it shows up here. Here’s my spin on the project.

    Not to be too paranoid, but with state governments here in the US being courted to declare bankruptcy, I don’t feel it’s too big a stretch to think we could have major disruptions of public services soon. I have developed something of a compulsion to hoard information, both entertaining and potentially useful. As a way to share my paranoia and build some kind of redundancy into this semi-doomsday archive I wanted a way for people to mirror it without being subject to ISP monitoring.

    So with this project the hardware is taken care of. All I would add is automated mirroring and secured access (I really don’t want to bring down big media or anything, so I don’t want to create a feeding frenzy of piracy.) Anybody interested in joining such an effort? If so, I’ll put this project on the front burner.

  6. Half of the fun of a lan party is indeed sharing files. This is an awesome tool for doing that. I am curious if it is possible to do the same idea but wired? Additionally, what if you want access to the internet. As much as I like swapping files, I would not like to be disconnected from the internet to do so. Can you be connected to a wired network for internet, and connected to this wifi network for file swapping simultaneously?

  7. @Nol, Looks like prices start at $150.

    I wonder if any of the legion of inexpensive android tablets from china could do this. They have some that I’m sure are crap for their original purpose because of anemic 300/400mhz chips, 128mb ram, etc for $60-$70 on alibaba. Someone would need to get one and see if the wifi chipset can be used like an AP or if it doesn’t work in promiscuous mode. Most of those tablets support up to 32gb microsdhc and some even say they support usb2.0 host for external flash drives.

    I could see something like this running UUCP and stuck in some cars for their daily commute. It could automatically sync over wifi at separate stops and allow a sort of wifi sneakernet without necessarily making someone use gas that they wouldn’t otherwise be using anyways. ‘course, for email or other low bandwidth items, a telephone or direct radio link would probably be better anyways. A UUCP-based P2P filesharing network would be a wonder to behold though.

  8. or an aspire one or msi wind motherboard would also work, plus these have internal dual miniPCI slots.
    Two wifi cards = twice the bandwidth :-)

    Plus you could use a serial to USB connector in order to point the individual antennas to maximise signal strength.

    Plus *2 they also support SDHC up to 32GB *2, and draw very little power if underclocked a bit.
    Only spin the HDD up when needed, for initial bootup then stop spinning.

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