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Physical Port Anti-Tamper Monitor Device

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000199429D
Publication Date: 2010-Sep-02
Document File: 2 page(s) / 55K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Computers and other devices such as Multifunction Printers (MFP) have ports that provide connectivity for various functions. This idea proposes a physical port monitor that detects the tampering or unauthorized use of ports that lack the capability to be physically or functionally disabled. By using an internal battery, the port monitor could sound an alarm if someone tampers or attaches to the ports on the device (Ethernet, USB, parallel, serial, CAN etc), even if power is cut to the device. Additionally, a port monitor server on a network could be used to monitor frequent status reports from a device. If these reports cease or are altered, security personnel could be alerted.

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Physical

Port

Anti-Tamper Monitor Device

Computers and other devices such as Multifunction Printers (MFP) have ports that provide connectivity for various functions.  This idea proposes a physical port monitor that detects the tampering or unauthorized use of ports that lack the capability to be physically or functionally disabled.  By using an internal battery, the port monitor could sound an alarm if someone tampers or attaches to the ports on the device (Ethernet, USB, parallel, serial, CAN etc), even if power is cut to the device. Additionally, a port monitor server on a network could be used to monitor frequent status reports from a device. If these reports cease or are altered, security personnel could be alerted.

Security sensitive customers are often concerned about unused and open/enabled/unprotected ports (e.g., USB, Ethernet, etc) on their printers or MFP devices that could be used to perform unauthorized print or scan jobs. Some machines allow such ports to be electronically disabled, but not all do, and ports that are necessarily enabled because they are in use are still at risk of being disconnected and reconnected to unauthorized equipment.

This idea proposes an embodiment that monitors the USB or network ports of any printer or MFP or indeed any Information Technology (IT) equipment that could pose a security risk, and alerts security personnel to unauthorized tampering. In a reduced security/power mode, the device would emit an audible alarm in the case of any physical port changes (connections/disconnections). In full feature mode it would additionally be in regular contact with a network server that monitors port changes from one or many other such devices on the network.

This idea proposes a device that has connections to Ethernet, USB A (host) and USB B (peripheral). These connections may also have pass-though ports for approved connections. The device may obtain power from an AC or AC/DC source or from the Ethernet connection.  The device may also contain a high-dB alarm and a battery to provide an audible alarm in the case of the power or network cable...