Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been granted some pretty creative patents in the past, and it looks like the trend that will continue. Newly published documents reveal that the company was granted the rights to U.S. Patent No. 8,429,760, which reportedly coordinates with ”a system and method for storing a password recovery secret.” Originally filed in 2010, it seems the device would use an exterior — or peripheral — component to assist in storing password data, such as a power cord, as AppleInsider suggested.
The patent puts forth the argument that current methods of password retrieval are not reliable enough. Particulars of password hints and such can be easily forgotten, and biometrics (like a fingerprint scanner) may be useless, as a portion of password retrievals may come when the user is not capable of providing such things. You know, something like death, for instance.
To remedy this, the proposed process would not work with just any device — like a power cord — but instead, specific information would be stored on the peripheral, possibly in the form of a universal unique identifier (UUID) that would allow the computer to know that the person trying to access it was in fact the rightful owner, AppleInsider explained. By using a peripheral device, Apple argues in the filing that forgotten passwords would be far less likely to occur if the device is, say, a printer. Very rarely, if ever, are printers stolen with the computers, thus rendering the password reset ability useless (with a power cord, the possibility of theft increases — a backpack, for example, that is carrying the computer and its power cord).
Though consumer-grade applications for this patent have yet to come around, Apple’s Lightning connector — released in September — does possess a chip that makes each unit unique from another, and tips Apple off if a manufacturer tries to create unauthorized duplicates of it.
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