Feeds

Apple patent stashes passwords in chargers

Forgot your login? Your power adapter will spill the beans

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Apple has filed a patent on a power adapter that helps users to get back forgotten passwords.

The system works by storing login information in a memory chip in the power supply and a key on the computer or server to unlock the secret.

The documentation describes one scenario in which a computer user's login password is encrypted using a unique ID number as the key. The encrypted password is stored as a secret in the connected power adapter's memory chip and the ID number is stored in the computer. If the user forgets his or her password then they can plug in the adapter so the computer can read off the encrypted secret, decrypt it using the ID number and present this to the login system on the computer - hey presto, you've got your password back.

The approach is positioned as an alternative to traditional password recovery techniques, which encourage users to pick weak passwords because remembering or reseting them can be a pain in the arse. With Apple's system, passwords can be as complex as allowed because recovering them is a case of plugging in a power adapter.

However, as Apple concedes, the approach is limited to cases where a device is not normally carried around with a charger. And just about every Cupertino product needs to be ferried about with a charger.

Apple's patent explains how the adapter password recovery approach might be combined with technology at its server to make using a device more difficult for a thief, even if he steals both a device and its power adapter. The patent - US patent 2012/0005747 [PDF] - goes on to outline a broader approach for password recovery and peripherals, involving the storage of password recovery data on printers or Wi-Fi routers, for example.

More commentary on the patent can be found in a story on the technology by The New Scientist here. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.