Browse Prior Art Database

Improved hardfile password methodology

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000030918D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Sep-01
Document File: 1 page(s) / 5K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

A method is disclosed to remove some restrictions inherent to the current ATA/ATAPI standard method of hard file locking with passwords.

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Improved hardfile password methodology

The current ATA / ATAPI hard disk standard defines a hardfile password methodology that renders the entire contents of the disk inaccessible until a unique pass phrase (set by the user or system administrator is sent to the hard disk ). This is normally done after the user enters the pass phrase at the end of BIOS POST . This scheme can present problems in the pre boot environment if it is necessary to access the Host Protected Area (HPA, AKA "PARTIES) or other preboot data like EFI of the disk . Some examples of a need to access this area from the pre boot environment could include :

1. Loading BIOS extensions that are too large to economically store in the system flash module.
2. An application to retrieve a lost / forgotten hard file password (having such an application on the password protected hard disk would be like keeping a spare key to a safe inside the locked safe.)
3. Load an application which can access the web and recover lost passwords

Our solution to this quandary is to have the hard disk password protection logic in the hard disk controller allow access to the HPA space even if a hard disk password is loaded.

This invention will change the methodology used to protect data on the hardfile . When the hardfile password is set, the user will be allowed to specify which LBA's are protected. In this way, even if a hardfile is locked, the unlocked portion of the hardfile can be used to run utilities or preboot extensi...