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Theft Protection for Network Attached Devices Disclosure Number: IPCOM000117958D
Original Publication Date: 1996-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-31
Document File: 2 page(s) / 92K

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Cato, RT: AUTHOR [+1]


Disclosed is a means for recovering stolen items that are typically connected to a network, such as TVs, VCRs, and PCs.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

Theft Protection for Network Attached Devices

      Disclosed is a means for recovering stolen items that are
typically connected to a network, such as TVs, VCRs, and PCs.

      Many of today's Local Area Network (LAN) cards have a unique
Media Access Control (MAC) or Universally Administered Address (UAA)
for each card manufactured.  Such a unique Identification (ID) could
be incorporated into future PCs, TVs, VCRs, and other network
attached devices.

      The trend in the next decade will be for most PCs to be
connected to some sort of data network such as CompuServ, Prodigy,
MCI Mail, or InterNet.  Cable TV service will become bidirectional,
with interactive TV possible.  Telephone companies will bring high
speed data links into homes, providing numerous data services as well
as live video.  This means that it will become possible for a
relatively few number of networks to connect, interactively, with
many many devices.

      Each device would report its unique ID ("license tag") number
to network.

      Future devices (PCs, TVs, VCRs, etc.) can be designed to
automatically respond to a query from the network it is attached to.
The device's response would be in the form of transmitting its unique
ID or "license tag" number.  This behavior could be programmed into
the device's ROM in such a way that it would take an expert to defeat

      Since virtually all interactive networks work on a subscriber
basis, the network will have a subscriber's name and address
associated with every user.  With this idea, the network will be able
to associate an individual attaching device with the subscriber.

Network could check for attachment of stolen devices

      When a device is stolen, its owner would report the device's
unique ID (for example "xxxx") to the networks' administrators.  The
networks would periodically send out a query asking for any attached
device with ID "xxxx" to respond.  If a response is received, the
name and address of the network subscriber would be forwarded to the
police.  Alternatively, the network could then simply deny the
subscriber access.

      Another method would be for the networks to require the devices
to report their unique ID when the devices signed on to the network.
This method would not require the networks to periodically query for
stolen device IDs.

      Obviously not all devices attached to the networks would have
the unique IDs built into them; these devices would not be detected
by the method described...