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USB Encryption Adapter

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000237994D
Publication Date: 2014-Jul-24
Document File: 4 page(s) / 62K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database


Disclosed is an USB Encryption Adapter that allows to connect an encrypted storage to or use an encrypted file with a device that is encryption-unaware.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 39% of the total text.

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USB Encryption Adapter

Security is one of the most important IT issues. One of the security goals is protecting against information leakage and document theft. A common way to accomplish the goal is data encryption, particularly data storage encryption. In order to decrypt the encrypted data, a valid encryption key is required. It can be a password, PIN code, or sequence of bits. Various encryption and password management mechanisms are usually used to protect data on hard disks. For example:
a) a hard disk password can be stored in a computer BIOS and used automatically during booting,
b) a user can be asked for a password when system is booting (e.g. PGP Whole Disk Encryption), or
c) a user can select an encrypted disk, encrypted disk partition or encrypted file, provide a password and mount the disk during run-time (e.g. TrueCrypt). The disk will appear in the system as a new regular unencrypted disk.

A problem appears if one wants to connect an encrypted storage to or use an encrypted file with a device that is encryption-unaware. Such a device may not support encryption mechanisms or may not provide user interface for providing a password or encryption key. An example case where the problem occurs is when one has an encrypted pendrive with a confidential podcast and he or she wants to play the podcast using a home audio player or video player. In many entities there is obligation that all portable data storages such as portable hard drives or pendrives, must be encrypted. Nowadays it is not possible to attach such an encrypted storage to a usual media player.

The other problem occurs if one does not want to provide the whole encrypted disk but only a subset of data, for example one of the sub folders. That case can be valid if there is different confidential data on the storage and one wants to avoid accidental disclosure of confidential files.

A partial solution of the problem is a portable storage with a build-in keyboard that would allow entering credentials. There are also portable storages with a build-in smart-card reader. Disadvantage of such devices is that each storage must have its own keyboard or smart-card reader and encryption chip build in the storage. Therefore such devices are expensive and more difficult to miniaturize.

Another attempt to solve the problem is a portable security enclosure. In comparison to the previous solution, it allows to connect different insecure hard drives however such solutions introduce additional constraint on the storage: the disk must be partitioned according to the portable security enclosure prerequisites. With that constraint, it is not possible to use any encrypted hard disk, encrypted hard drive image file, or encrypted file. The solution also does not allow for using an encryption key stored on an external storage.

Another type of existing security enclosure is the enclosure that uses RFID cards as a source of encryption key [


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