Browse Prior Art Database

Security Password Override Toggle Jumper

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000037198D
Original Publication Date: 1989-Nov-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Jan-29
Document File: 3 page(s) / 45K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Kaiser, EJ: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

Disclosed is a method which allows a customer or service person to quickly override an unknown or forgotten security password without compromising overall machine security or losing setup information.

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Security Password Override Toggle Jumper

Disclosed is a method which allows a customer or service person to quickly override an unknown or forgotten security password without compromising overall machine security or losing setup information.

The PS/2 family of computers is architected to include a power-on security password. During setup, a customer may choose to install a password, which is stored in a particular area of non-volatile CMOS RAM accessible only to the system power-on software. Once installed, the customer must key in the selected password at power-on time before the power-on software will continue. The non-volatility of the CMOS RAM where the password is stored is assured with a backup battery.

Two methods of overriding the security password have been provided. The first method requires the customer to remove the machine covers (with a key) and disconnect the backup battery. After a length of time to allow the non- volatile RAM to discharge (several minutes), the battery is reconnected, covers replaced, and the machine is powered-on. This action effectively overrides the security password, but requires machine setup and configuration programs to be re-run.

The second method, documented for service personnel only, requires that a jumper be used to connect two pins located near the battery holder together. The effect of this jumper is to ground a signal pin which is readable by the power- on software. If this jumper is in place at power-on time, the power-on software will detect it and override the security password. The jumper must be removed to allow a new password to be installed.

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Two recent developments have combined to require modifications to the architecture. The first is a technical advancement in which the non-volatile CMOS RAM device is packaged with its own integrated battery and thus eliminates the requirement for a removable backup battery. The second development is an observation that overall machine security is compromised by the design and location of the "override" jumper. A knowledgeable person could insert a screwdriver or similar long tool through ventilation louvers in the cover and short the override jumper pins together, effectively eliminating the power-on security password.

This invention is divided into two parts. The first part consists of the actual methodology used for security password override. A second signal pin is made readable to the power-o...