May 22, 2024

Magic Wormhole is a clever way to send files easily and securely


If you need to transfer a couple hundred megs to a coworker or friend across the country, you aren’t short on options. In fact, options are thick on the ground, and all have their own issues. Don’t you wish you could just speak a few magic words and send stuff directly to them, no intermediate upload, no web interface, no login? Magic Wormhole, created by developer Brian Warner, is a clever way to do just that.

Assuming both you and your friend are online and have the minimal software installed, the steps are super simple:

  • Invoke a wormhole via command line (no GUI just yet) with the file you want to send
  • Server (public or private) gives you a simple, speakable, one-time-use password like 8-horse-happy or vile-4-content
  • You tell your friend that password over phone, chat or whatever
  • They enter it in their wormhole console, key exchange occurs
  • Encrypted download starts directly between your computers and password is discarded

All right, so maybe that’s a bit more complicated than, say, dropping the file into Slack. But it avoids all the complications of third-party tools, intermediary servers, logins and passwords, making a shortlink, worrying about making a file temporarily “public” or fiddling with permissions, and so on.

And really, properly used it could be simpler than anything else. Once it’s sitting there in a script or whatever on your desktop, you just drop a file on it, it pops up with the password and you tell that to the person. They get it directly and securely, and you never have to worry about it again.

1499244148-9703-sendreceiveImagine being on the phone with someone and hearing “oh let me send you that file.” Will it be a Dropbox link? Will you have to log into something? Will you be waiting for Gmail to scan some huge attachment? Will it be — shudder — over FTP? Or will they just say “crocodile mighty 7” and boom, you’ve got it? I for one would love that.

I don’t know why I’m getting so pumped over a file transfer system! I just think it’s great.

You can download all the components or contribute your own code at the GitHub project page.

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