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Browse Prior Art Database

(R) Mechanically Enforcing Authorization to Access Removable Storage Devices

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000099033D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Mar-09
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-09
Document File: 1 page(s) / 26K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Security is a high concern for most people. In the computer industry, many media storage devices, such as USB keys, are small, portable and easy to steal. What is needed is a way to force a user to authenticate themselves before the portable media storage device can be accessed, thus protecting the data therein. Some new devices are incorporating biometrics for password validation/bypass. Although this is a good solution for some devices, it is not the best solution for all of these devices (perhaps due to cost, size, scale, etc.). Other devices can use encryption to protect the data that lies therein, however, this system is vulnerable in that the user might be lazy and might not take advantage of the protection this offers. They might also use weak methods that are easily cracked / hacked / broken. The mere fact that the data, in any form, encrypted, unencrypted or otherwise, can be accessed at all places the data at risk. What is needed is a mechanism that prevents the device or media type from being inserted at all by an unauthorized user.

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(R) Mechanically Enforcing Authorization to Access Removable Storage Devices

     Disclosed herein is a media type or personal device (a USB key, in particular) that forces authentication before the device can even physically dock, insert, mate or otherwise physically connect at its interface point(s) by malforming or obstructing the port, slot, etc. In this way, an unauthorized user cannot mate the media with other devices in an attempt to circumvent the security via external automated mechanisms.

     Prior to proper authentication the device has a mechanical/physical abnormality (which is corrected with proper authorization). The picture below illustrates how this idea could be used to prevent memory key insertion.

     This concept could easily be extended to other media devices, such as iPods, external drives, hot swap drives, super floppies, etc.

A similar concept could be used to keep the devices from being removed as well.

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