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Personal Computer Physical Security System - Module Assembly Coatings

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000036400D
Original Publication Date: 1989-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Jan-29
Document File: 2 page(s) / 13K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Wittmann, EG: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

A system of module coatings can provide either high or low levels of physical security for personal computers.

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Personal Computer Physical Security System - Module Assembly Coatings

A system of module coatings can provide either high or low levels of physical security for personal computers.

To eliminate the security vulnerability of conventional computer modules, coatings may be applied which offer repairability with tamper detection features for low security protection. These coatings include silicone, acrylic and ultraviolet (UV) adhesives. For a higher level of security which sacrifices reparability, a coating may be applied which cannot be removed without damage to the underlying module and chips. These coatings include epoxy and parylene. As a rule, increasing the security offered by a coating decreases the reparability.

Silicone and acrylic coatings are primarily environmental coatings which can be used in conjunction with other materials to produce a security coating. For example, a coating can be applied as one coat of silicone covered by a brittle coat of ceramic. The brittle coat provides a visual tamper indicator while the silicone layer provides a means to effect repair. The legitimate repair operator will have the means for replacing the brittle layer. The outer layer could also be an electrically conductive material, such as filled epoxy. This technique could incorporate a tamper circuit within the coating. The coating can also be electrically grounded, providing the security feature of an electromagnetic interference (EMI) barrier.

Silicone may be filled with liquid or solid microspheres of various materials as tamper indicators. During tampering, the spheres will break and release the encapsulated materials. The material in the...