Browse Prior Art Database

Mobile Device Enhanced Lock-up

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000132068D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Dec-01
Document File: 2 page(s) / 164K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

This article describes an additional technique for securing a portable computing device by sensing the loss of AC power.

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Mobile Device Enhanced Lock-up

Portable computing devices like laptops are vulnerable to theft. Current solutions focus on securing the physical device and/or making sure that users of the device are authenticated. Mobile devices can be physically secured with locked doors or things like cable locks. Users typically log-on to the device and some type of authentication is done to ensure the device user is who they claim to be. All these steps can help secure a device but one major hole is what happens if a device is stolen when a user is already authenticated. This invention helps address this exiting vulnerability. Some screen savers will lock a device after a period of inactivity on a device passes but, these existing security measures are only effective when used appropriately. Because they are inconvenient, sometimes they are overlooked or configured such that there potential effectiveness is reduced. Cable locks might not get used or password protected screen savers are configured with long periods of inactivity required before they engage. This invention insures more security at vulnerable transition states. Security hardware such as the TPM (Trusted Computing Group's Trusted Platform Module) has been added to IBM ThinkPad systems, for example, but it is passive protection (the TPM is used for reporting and crypto-key storage, but it only responds when invoked by the user and it cannot actively block access). Similarly, fingerprint readers have been added to the IBM ThinkPad system as an option, but they tie into existing mechanisms such as screensavers.

Security of a mobile device can be improved by automatically locking a mobile device when the AC power (external power source) is removed and/or when the mobile device is removed from it's docking station. This action does not protect the physical asset but can protect the data stored on the device. Locking the mobile device when the AC power is removed forces the user to re-authe...