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Method for locking operations of a portable device based on authentication via attachment cable

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000218142D
Publication Date: 2012-May-23
Document File: 5 page(s) / 153K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Method for locking operations of a portable device based on authentication via attachment cable

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 51% of the total text.

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Method for locking operations of a portable device based on authentication via attachment cable

Portable devices such as cellphones and media devices often contain sensitive personal information and/or media (pictures, video, music) which the owner of the device would make available only to themselves. Unfortunately devices are often lost or stolen and the information contained on the device might then be available to the person who finds or has stolen the device. Additionally, the lost or stolen device provides value to the finder/thief even in the form of the value and use of the device itself. Methods exist to prevent others from using a device such as a passcode which is created by the owner and stored on the device itself. If the passcode can be guessed or otherwise hacked, the finder/thief has access to all content contained on the device as well as the inherent value and usage of the device itself. The device might also be reset to the original factory state via an included button or through connection to a PC and subsequent re-install of software. What is needed is a method to prevent unauthorized access to any information on the device, prevent the ability to copy or synchronize the data on the device with another source (a PC, for example), and to remove value from the device by disabling the continued use of the device.

This invention describes a method to lock the functionality of a portable device (ability to charge, synchronize or otherwise copy data or media from device) based upon the connection status of the device. A key component of this method is the inclusion of the connecting cable having on-board memory and the ability to read/write from this memory. Methods in addition to the cable connection status may also optionally exist, such as prompting the user to enter a passphrase on the device itself or on an attached PC/laptop. Additionally, the software component providing the authentication to the device and subsequent locking of the device to unauthorized users ideally exists in a state where the security method is not overwritten in the circumstance of a "factory condition" reset.

This invention functions by requiring the use of a specific cable to be used in order to charge and synchronize content contained on the device. The cable includes flash memory which may be addressed and read from/written to in order to store a secure key which unlocks the normal functionality of the device. If this key cannot be read from the memory on the USB cable, or if the key is invalid, the device does not allow the capability to charge or synchronize. By placing the authentication key on the cable itself, the charging capability of the device can be denied even when the device is plugged into a non-intelligent power source such as...