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US4799258: Apparatus and methods for granting access to computers

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Filing Information

Inventor(s) Donald W. Davies ·
Assignee(s) National Research Development Corporation ·
Attorney/Agent(s) Cushman, Darby & Cushman ·
Primary Examiner Salvatore Cangialosi ·
Application Number US6699447
Filing date 02/07/1985
Issue date 01/17/1989
Predicted expiration date 01/17/2006
U.S. Classifications 380/21  · 380/23  ·
International Classifications H04L 902  ·
Kind CodeA
International Classifications 17822.08;22.09;22.11 ·
Foreign Priority GB8403699 - 02/13/1984 · GB8416241 - 06/26/1984 ·
24 Claims, No Drawings


Abstract

When a computer user is granted access to certain capabilities of a computer he is often given a password signifying these capabilities. A problem arises in that unauthorized users may copy the password and so gain access to the capabilities. In the present invention an enciphered message relating to capabilities is stored in the tamper-resistant store of a circuit contained by a token. The store also holds the secret key of a public key encryption system so that the enciphered message and a distinctive message can be transformed ("signed") using the secret key and passed to the computer. The corresponding public key may then be used by the computer to carry out an inverse transverse form and check the enciphered and distinctive messages against signals sent from the token. If this check is successful the required access is granted. Preferably the public key is part of the enciphered message, especially where the token grants access to a distributed or fragmented computer system, since this avoids the necessity of making public keys available throughout a computer system.

Independent Claims | See all claims (24)

  1. 1. A method of granting access to a computer comprising:as a first preliminary step, establishing; in an authentication apparatus, a stable record of both a) a first secret key of a public key encryption system a type of access which the computer will grant and a second public key corresponding to the secret key; andas a second preliminary step, establishing a stable record of a third key used in enciphering said enciphered information;and additional steps employed when access is granted:obtaining a unique message for the authentication apparatus which is different in content from other unique messages used at other times;using the authentication apparatus to form one part of an output message to include said enciphered information produced during said first preliminary step, including said type of access information and said second public key, as enciphered in said second preliminary step, and using the secret key to encipher the unique message to generate another part of the output message;using the computer to decipher the enciphered information to obtain information including the deciphered public key, and to decipher the enciphered unique message of the output message using the deciphered public key; andcomparing digital signals representing the result of the deciphered unique message with digital signals indicative of the unique message and granting the predetermined access to the computer only if the digital signals compared are substantially the same.
  2. 10. Authentication apparatus for providing access to a computer comprising:a store, including a first secret key of a public key encryption system for encrypting data, and producing enciphered information specifying both a type of access which the computer is to grant and a second public key corresponding to the secret key;input/output means for receiving and transmitting electrical digital messages to, and from, the apparatus; andmeans for forming an output message, including one part which includes said enciphered information including saids type of access and said public key, and for obtaining and enciphering a unique message, which is of a type which can be recognized as proper by said computer but which is different from other unique messages used at other times, using the first secret key, to generate another part of the output message.
  3. 17. A computer programmed to carry out steps on receipt of a two part message when access to the computer is requested, one part of said message including, in enciphered form information specifying 1) a type of access which the computer is to confer and 2) a public key of a public key of a public key encryption system, and a second part of said message including a unique message, which can be recognized by said computer but which is different from other unique messages used at other times, transformed using a secret key,a first step being to decipher the one part of the two part message to obtain information including a deciphered public key, anda second step being to decipher the other part of the two part message using the deciphered public key corresponding to the secret key to determine whether the result after said deciphering includes the original message, and if so to confer the type of access specified by the deciphered information.

References Cited

U.S. Patent Documents

Document NumberAssigneesInventorsIssue/Pub Date
US4211919 Compagnie Internationale pour l'Informatique Ugon Jul 1980
US4453074 American Express Company Weinstein Jun 1984
US4458109 Siemens Corporation Mueller-Schloer Jul 1984
US4471216 Compagnie Internationale pour l'Informatique CII-Honeywell Bull (Societe Anonyme Herve Sep 1984
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Foreign Patent Documents

Document NumberAssigneesInventorsIssue/Pub Date
EP1031421COPYER CO., LTD.Jan 1985
GB2121569BALLY MFG CORPDec 1983

Other Publications

"Multinser Cryptographic Techniques", by Diffie et al., AFIPS-Conference Proceedings, vol. 45, pp. 109-112, 6/8/76.
Security Dynamics, "Guard Tour System", Jan. 1984.
IBM Technical Disclosure, by A. Gurnge', "Preventing Unauthorized Access to Diskette-Loaded Microcode", vol. 21, #2, 7/78.
Donald W. Davies, "Use of the `Signature Token` to Create a Negotiable Document", Advances in Cryptology, Proceedings of Crypto, Aug. 1983, pp. 377-383.
Donald W. Davies et al., "The Application of Digital Signatures Based on Public Key Cryptosystems," Division of Numerical Analysis and Computer Science, National Physical Laboratory, Proc. 5th ICCC, Oct. 1980.

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