Power cords could give password protection

Jan. 5, 2012 at 8:26 PM
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CUPERTINO, Calif., Jan. 5 (UPI) -- U.S. tech giant Apple Inc. has filed for a patent on a system that allows computer or smartphone power cords to store passwords needed to access the devices.

The technology is meant to take advantage of the fact that when a consumer loses a laptop or smartphone, or in the case of theft, the power adapter is not, as a rule, lost as well -- making it a perfect part of the recovery routine for forgotten passwords.

Apple's patent calls for a power adapter with a small memory module that would store either an encrypted password or a password recovery question -- "What was your mother's maiden name" -- whose encryption key is stored on the laptop or smartphone, NewScientist.com reported.

In such a system, only the correct computer or phone can access the recovery data.

Of course, once thieves know the adapter is important, they'll steal that too if it's available, but Apple suggests further security can be added by storing some of the password recovery data in less-easily stolen peripherals like printers and Wi-Fi routers.

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