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Method Disclosed to Securely Store Product Audit Data in Program Flash Memory

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000013826D
Original Publication Date: 2001-May-18
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-18
Document File: 2 page(s) / 73K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Method Disclosed to Securely Store Product Audit Data in Program Flash Memory Background Sometimes a product (computer or other machine) is sold or leased for a price that is charged for a minimal resource capacity even though the product contains, or is capable of more than the minimum. It is understood that the customer can access more of the product's resources at any time with the proviso that an additional fee will be billed for the extra resources used.

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Method Disclosed to Securely Store Product Audit Data in Program Flash

Memory

Background

Sometimes a product (computer or other machine) is sold or leased for a price that is charged for a minimal resource capacity even though the product contains, or is capable of more than the minimum. It is understood that the customer can access more of the product's resources at any time with the proviso that an additional fee will be billed for the extra resources used.

Problem: Making the Audit Data tamper-proof

A tamper-proof record must be made of the usage of resources so that it can be audited at a later date for billing purposes. We will call the record(s) "Audit Data". At first thought, one may wish to store Audit Data in nonvolatile ram. But, unfortunately, nonvolatile ram can be altered or erased.

Solution

A solution is to store Audit Data in the same flash memory that is used either for computer instructions, or chip initialization code. Many machines, especially of the "Enterprise Class" have this flash memory already in their designs.

The Audit Data can be formatted to appear identical to the data already being stored in the flash memory. In many cases, this permits existing software to manage the storage and retrieval of the new Audit Data.

Advantages of this method

Flash memory retains its contents for decades regardless of power being present.

Flash memory, if rewriteable at all while in the machine, is under control of low-level

software that is extremely di...