Browse Prior Art Database

Using a Connector Mounted Parallel to ROM Memory as a Feature Availability Connector or as a Security Dongle Connector

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000011748D
Publication Date: 2003-Mar-12
Document File: 3 page(s) / 79K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method that uses a connector mounted parallel to the FLASH and ROM as a point of connection for a feature access authorization or security dongle. Benefits include a less expensive, simplified security process

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Using a Connector Mounted Parallel to ROM Memory as a Feature Availability Connector or as a Security Dongle Connector

Disclosed is a method that uses a connector mounted parallel to the FLASH and ROM as a point of connection for a feature access authorization or security dongle. Benefits include a less expensive, simplified security process

Background

Currently, the information about user access feature authorization of software is hard-coded in SW, or downloaded remotely via a network or any other communication media. If the SW upgrade is needed, the software vendor must generate a special version of the SW image for a specific customer. In addition, security information must be configured via a network, UART console, or any other communication medium.

General Description

The disclosed method has two implementations:

Feature authorization dongle connector. The dongle (containing for example, FLASH and OTP ROM) connected to this special dongle connector controls user access to authorized features (i.e. these features are not normally available to the user without this dongle). The processor sees the dongle as it sees FLASH or ROM, but in another address space (see Figure 1). The feature list dongle access is very simple for a CPU, and it is a very useful solution to store information about feature lists available to the user in specific versions of software. Embedded system software can easily access the feature list dongle, and therefore it can validate feature access authorization.

Security dongle connector. This special connector allows a security dongle (containing FLASH and OTP ROM) access to the embedded system CPU, and to retrieve confidential information needed by SW running on the system (see Figure 2). The processor sees the dongle the same way it sees a FLASH or ROM but in another address space. Embedded system software can easily access the security dongle, and therefore it can store secure information such as access codes, passwords, and cipher information (i.e. keys for RSA, DES, MD5 algorithms if the security dongle is inside).

Advantages

Some implementations of the disclosed method provide one or more of the following advantages:

When the feature authorization dongle i...