Browse Prior Art Database

Microprocessor Theft Deterrent

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000118413D
Original Publication Date: 1997-Feb-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Apr-01
Document File: 6 page(s) / 152K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Martin, F: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

The theft of microprocessors from computer products in use within office or commercial environments is an increasing problem. Because of the wide diversity of operating conditions for machines in the field, physical security measures are seldom globally applicable. There is a need for a simple yet effective method of deterring the theft of these devices without inhibiting the legitimate processor upgrade path.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

Microprocessor Theft Deterrent

      The theft of microprocessors from computer products in use
within office or commercial environments is an increasing problem.
Because of the wide diversity of operating conditions for machines in
the field, physical security measures are seldom globally applicable.
There is a need for a simple yet effective method of deterring the
theft of these devices without inhibiting the legitimate processor
upgrade path.

      The described solution uses a device by which unauthorized
removal of the processor causes it to be damaged beyond repair.  It
can be applied to existing system units as a discrete add-on or can
be implemented at the point of manufacture on the planar.  The total
additional cost if applied at the point of manufacture would be a few
dollars.  The retro-fit option would be marginally more in cost.

      The device consists of a self-contained battery-powered unit
capable of delivering a short high voltage electrical pulse to
selected pins of the microprocessor.  The unit is activated via a
'key'.  The same 'key' may be used to deactivate the unit for
legitimate removal of the processor.

      On receiving the system unit, the owner activates the
protection circuitry.  The circuit remains dormant (low power
consumption state) until removal of the processor or deactivation by
the 'key'.

      An illegitimately removed processor would be apparently
functional but electronically nonfunctional, resulting in it having
no resale value.  The removal of the financial incentive would make
their unauthorized removal a no benefit action and would, thus, act
as a major deterrent.

Construction

      Referring to Figs. 1 through 4, the device uses the space
provided by the center hole in the microprocessor ZIF PGA socket.
This space is sufficient to include the battery and the required
electronics.  Thermal requirements must be considered as the
processors achieve a high operating temperature.  The volume required
by the circuit is such that it can be packaged within a socket
outline.  Thus, the circuit can be accommodated within an interim
socket (Figs. 1 and 2) which receive the processor or it can be
mounted directly on the planar board (Figs. 3 and 4).

      A primary or rechargeable battery may be used.  The
requirements for a primary cell are low self discharge (long life >
three years) combined with a high capacity.  Current lithium or
lithium ion technology are examples of appropriate battery types.
Rechargeable cells  should also have a low self discharge (the rate
being a function of the  maximum time the system is left powered
down).  The system would not require an indefinite life since it is
the newest processor technology  that has the highest resale value
and potential and would be the most attractive.  The battery 'pack'
could be user replaceable, if required,  without changing the overall
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