Browse Prior Art Database

USB Based " Start-Up Key"

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000015404D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Dec-22
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Document File: 1 page(s) / 38K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

USB Based Start-Up Key" The proliferation of hand-held and pocket devices with Personal Computer technology has elevated

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USB Based " Start-Up Key"

The proliferation of hand-held and pocket devices with Personal Computer technology has elevated

the risk of theft or misplacement of such devices in public places and the possible loss of confidential

or sensitive corporate, personal or medical information. The limited computing power of such hand-held

and pocket devices limit the protection of such data to at most eight (8) character passwords for access

(if they are used at all based on the poor data entry characteristics of these devices). Eight (8)

character passwords are also easy to break using a technique called "dictionary attack hammering".

Hand-held and pocket devices that incorporate a Universal Serial Bus (USB) port into their design are

candidates for a more robust data protection scheme through the use a robust multi-character

pass-phrase stored on a generic USB memory FOB.

The invention uses a low cost generic USB memory FOB or "Start-up Key" and pass-phrase security software in the hand-held or pocket device. The pass-phrase security software is invoked at device power up and requires the user to insert the USB memory FOB with the enabling pass-phrase to enable the device. When the device is sent to the end-user from the factory the USB memory FOB and the device security software contain a generic pass-phrase as "please customize your device pass-phrase". Upon power up, the device alerts the user to insert the "Start-up key" USB memory FOB and to enter , using the device entry mechanism (stylus or mini-keyboard), a new easy to remember personal pass-phrase such as "The Florida Gators are Number One". The pass-phrase security program then stores the hash of the customized pass-phrase on the device's secure flash memory as well as on the USB memory FOB. Storing the hash of the pass-phrase and not the pass-phrase itself makes it harder for a thief to read it off the device's flash memory . The "Start-up key" USB FOB is then kept on a regular key chain that is se...