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SECURITY MECHANISM FOR RESTRICTING THE USE OF SOFTWARE TO SPECIFIC HARDWARE PLATFORMS

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000009792D
Original Publication Date: 2000-May-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2002-Sep-19
Document File: 4 page(s) / 207K

Publishing Venue

Motorola

Related People

Trevor Pullen: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

When an RSS programs a radio, it presents a 'secret' security code to the radio. The security code is uniqnely associated with the radio. This restricts the use of software specific designated hardware platforms, mitigating the risk of' software piracy' . The specific implementation described is applicable to 2-way radios.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 28% of the total text.

MOTOROLA

Technical Developments

SECURITY MECHANISM FOR RESTRICTING THE USE OF SOFTWARE TO SPECIFIC HARDWARE PLATFORMS

by Trevor Pullen and Julian Richardson

ABSTRACT

When an RSS programs a radio, it presents a 'secret' security code to the radio. The security code is uniqnely associated with the radio. This restricts the use of software specific designated hardware platforms, mitigating the risk of' software piracy' . The specific implementation described is applicable to 2-way radios.

INTRODUCTION

When a software package is sold for use on a specific hardware platform (such as a computer or 2-way radio owned by the purchaser of the soft~ ware) there is the possibility that the purchaser may allow the software to be used on additional hardware platforms not covered by the original purchase agreement ('software piracy'). This paper describes an improved security mechanism for restricting the use of software to specific hardware platforms, and is particularly suited to 2-way radios.

PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED

Presently, there are only limited cost-effective options for preventing legitimately purchased software packages and upgrades being used 'illegally' on hardware other than that for which the software was purchased. Known techniques include the nse of 'hardware dongles' sold with the software without which the software will not work. This adds cost and only works when the main hardware can easily have an extra piece of hardware added. This is possible on a computer but difficult on a 2-way radio. Another technique involves encrypted remote authorization of features, such as may be used on high value professional software packages for license management. Once again this is difficult to apply to 2-way radios.

Motorola, Inc. 2000

This paper addresses the specific case of 2-way radio subscriber software upgrades, but it is evident that the concept is generically applicable to other cases where this problem arises. For 2~way radio the problem manifests in two ways, the first specific to 2-way radio, the second generic:

1) Security implications arise if 3 radio is stolen or obtained (e.g. from a police force) and is reprograrnrned to extend its operation. There is then the possibility that system security could be compromised. Alternatively, the radio could be prograrnrned for unauthorized operation on another system.

2) Business implications arise in that low tier (low specification) radios could be purchased and then upgraded to give high tier features. Radio Service Software is the manufacturer-supplied software which runs on a separate computer and which is connected to the 2-way radio to enable or disable features, define radio parameters, for example operating frequencies, and load software upgrades.

Fraudulent upgrades could therefore occur through the use of illegally obtained Radio Service Software (RSS), or through the application of an RSS which has been 'hacked'. Hacked software is software which has been modified or had its operation exten...