Browse Prior Art Database

Terminal Master Key Security

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000088073D
Original Publication Date: 1977-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-04
Document File: 1 page(s) / 11K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Matyas, SM: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

In order to provide security for data received at an interactive terminal, encryption algorithms, such as the data encryption standard (DES), are often used. These algorithms utilize a master key KMT as part of the encryption process. Protection of these master keys KMT is important because one having KMT and after-hours access to the terminal may successfully decrypt data previously transmitted from the terminal, written on a magnetic stripe card, etc.

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Terminal Master Key Security

In order to provide security for data received at an interactive terminal, encryption algorithms, such as the data encryption standard (DES), are often used. These algorithms utilize a master key KMT as part of the encryption process. Protection of these master keys KMT is important because one having KMT and after-hours access to the terminal may successfully decrypt data previously transmitted from the terminal, written on a magnetic stripe card, etc.

To avoid the need for a vault-like enclosure of the entire terminal, the master key KMT may be key entered or read from a card into the terminal each time power is turned on. The master key KMT is stored in a volatile key storage buffer from which it disappears every time power is turned off at the terminal. Therefore, when the terminal is unattended. power can be turned off or the key storage buffer can be reset to erase the master key KMT and prevent unauthorized use of the terminal to decrypt data by direct or exhaustive trial and error approach. The magnetic stripe card or a written record of the master key KMT may be stored in a vault just as any other important key is protected. Entry of the master key may also be under the control of a physical key and electrical switch lock.

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