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Instantly transfer files between Dropbox accounts using only their hashes.

branch: master
README.rst

dropship - Dropbox API utilities

Dropbox changed the way they dedupe a while ago and this project no longer works.

These utilities make use of the deduplication scheme of Dropbox to allow for "teleporting" files into your Dropbox account given only a list of hashes, provided of course that the files already exist on their servers. This enables arbitrary, anonymous transfers of files between Dropbox accounts.

This package includes:

  • dropship: Inject a file into your account using a JSON description.
  • hash_blocks: Produce a description from a file that can be used with dropship.

How does it work?

The deduplication scheme used by Dropbox works by breaking files into blocks. Each of these blocks is hashed with the SHA256 algorithm and represented by the digest. Only blocks that are not yet known are uploaded to the server when syncing.

By using the same API as the native client, Dropship pretends to sync a file to the dropbox folder without actually having the contents. This bluff succeeds because the only proof needed server-side is the hash of each 4MB block of the file, which is known. The server then adds the file metadata to the folder, which is, as usual, propagated to all clients. These will then start downloading the file.

Configuration

To be able to access the Dropbox server, the utilities need your credentials. These can be provided in the following way:

  • Copy config.py.example to config.py.
$ cp config.py.example config.py
$ chmod 600 config.py
  • Extract host_id and root_ns from your Dropbox configuration. In the current version of Dropbox this can be done with:
$ ./sqlite_dump ~/.dropbox/config.db
...
INSERT INTO "config" VALUES('host_id','00000000000000000000000000000000');
INSERT INTO "config" VALUES('root_ns',12345);
...

sqlite_dump is provided with this package for convenience.

  • Edit config.py, fill in host_id and root_ns as follows.
host_id='00000000000000000000000000000000'
root_ns=12345

Usage

A quick example of using dropship. It is very simple, type:

$ ./dropship examples/sintel_trailer-1080p.mp4.json
File /sintel_trailer-1080p.mp4 dropshipped succesfully.

After this, the file sintel_trailer-1080p.mp4 (a trailer for the open source movie Sintel by the Blender Foundation) will magically appear in your Dropbox folder. It will be synced to all devices attached to it.

If it fails with an error message, make sure that there is enough room on your quota to receive the file.

You can hash your own files to .json format with the hash_blocks utility:

$ ./hash_blocks ~/downloads/ext-4.0-beta3.zip
{"blocks": ["4f52526814cb28ecb2683c8f365f88cccaa1c213d6f36875ff98fcf980c21daa", ...
$ ./hash_blocks ~/downloads/ext-4.0-beta3.zip > ~/downloads/ext-4.0-beta3.zip.json

The resulting .json file can be shared as you wish. It contains only data from the file, and is not bound to your account in any way.

.json file format

.json files, as their name implies, are in JSON format. The top-level object contains the following fields:

blocks
List of SHA256 hashes. Each hash is a 64 character hexadecimal string.
size
Size of the file, in bytes.
name
Name of the file.
mtime
Last modification time of the file as UNIX timestamp. If not provided it defaults to the current time.

Disclaimer

Currently this is only a proof of concept, satisfying my own curiosity as to how Dropbox works. However, this probably has some interesting applications as well. Feel free to fork this project if you want to add a fancy interface or user-friendlyness.

License

Copyright (C) 2011 by Wladimir van der Laan

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

Authors

Kudos

  • Krzysztof Dziądziak mentioned the theoretical possibility of this on his blog.
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