Apple Files Two Major Security Patents to Combat Identity Theft, More
New LED iMacs: Another Apple Patent Comes to Life

Apple Wins Crucial iPhone Encryption & WebObjects Patents

Signature Signing Verification System

The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of five newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. The most crucial patent within this group covers Apple's iPhone Encryption technology. During Apple's WWDC 2009, Phil Schiller stated that businesses had asked for hardware encryption and that all iPhone 3G-S models would have this security feature. Other notable patents published today include one relating to WebObjects, another to UI elements relating to drag and drop operations and a second design win for Apple's iPod touch 2G.  

Apple's iPhone 3G-S Encryption


Apple's patent and embodiments generally relate to asymmetric cryptography and in particular to small memory implementations of fast elliptic encryption (FEE).


Since the advent of public-key cryptography numerous public-key cryptographic systems have been proposed. Today, only three types of systems are still considered secure and efficient. These systems include integer factorization systems, discrete logarithm systems and elliptic curve cryptography (ECC) systems. The security afforded by integer factorization rests on the difficulty of factoring a large product of two prime numbers. The security of discrete logarithm systems rests on the difficulty of solving the discrete logarithm problem (DLP). The security of ECC systems rests on the difficulty of solving the elliptic curve DLP (ECDLP) problem, which amounts to finding a log in a group of points defined on an elliptic curve over a prime field. ECC's advantage over other systems is that its inverse operation gets harder, faster, against increasing key length, making it suitable for portable devices having small form factors with limited power and memory.


In recent years FEE has emerged as a strong option for memory constrained devices due, in part, to its speed and efficiency. FEE uses special primes and fast finite field and modular operations to reduce processor cycles, leading to less power consumption and heat dissipation. Although existing FEE systems provide reduced processor cycles, there remains a need for small memory implementations of FEE.


The embodiments disclosed in Apple's patent provide small memory implementations of fast elliptic encryption (FEE). In the embodiment shown in FIG.1 above, we see a method of generating a digital signature which includes generating a first random number from a finite field of numbers, and generating field elements defining a first point on an elliptic curve defined over the finite field of numbers by performing elliptic curve arithmetic on the first random number and an initial public point on the elliptic curve. The method continues by generating a product from a field element, a private key, and a second random number received from a challenger seeking verification of a digital signature, and generating a signature component by summing the product and the first random number. The signature component is reduced using one or more modular reduction operations, using a modulus equal to an order of the elliptic curve, and then the reduced signature component and the field elements are sent to the challenger as a digital signature for verification by the challenger.


Although the primary focus of this technology is aimed for Apple's iPhone, fast elliptic encryption can apply to MacBooks, Airport Extreme, various iPods, future smart cards, email devices, instant messaging devices, digital cameras, personal digital assistants (PDAs), docking stations and the like.


Apple's patent FIG. 2 noted below is that of a block diagram of one embodiment of the signing device 104 shown in FIG. 1. The signing device 104 includes interface circuitry 202, mod module 204, summing module 206, multiply module 208, elliptic multiplier module 210 and random number generator 212. Each of the modules, 204, 206, 208 and 210 can be implemented in hardware or software or a combination of both.


Signing Device FIG. 2 

Apple's patent FIG. 3 is a block diagram of one embodiment of the challenging device 102 shown in FIG. 1. The challenging device 102 includes a compare module 302, mod module 304, non-field multiply module 306, random number generator 308, elliptic multiplier module 310 and interface circuitry 312.


Challenging Device FIG. 3


Apple credits Richard E. Crandall and Douglas P. Mitchell as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,607,019, originally filed in February 2005.   


Other Noteworthy Granted Patents Published Today


Method and Apparatus for Binding User Interface Objects to Application Objects


The Next Insanely Great Thing - Wired Magazine 1996 Cover

Apple's patent generally relates to binding user interface objects to application objects – and is understood by way of WebObjects. One of the embodiments makes reference to CyberWind which is related to WebObjects in this example. The genius behind OS X and WebObjects, Avie Tevanian is listed amongst the engineers behind this patent.


In general, Apple's Abstract describes the patent this way: A graphical user interface (GUI) and accompanying functionality for binding Web page definitional elements to a back-end state (e.g., client- or server-side back-end state) and custom logic is provided. In one embodiment, a template containing definitional elements, custom logic, and bindings are generated that define all or a portion of a Web page based on input received and functionality provided by the invention.


Apple credits Avie Tevanian, Paul Marcos, Arnaud Weber, Rebecca Eades, Stefanie Herzer and Craig Federighi as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,607,095, originally filed in July 2006.  Technically, the priority patents relating to WebObjects and this patent respectfully date back to 2002, 2001 and 1997 - or about a year after this technology was revealed in the Wired Magazine interview titled: Steve Jobs: The Next Insanely Great Thing.


Dynamically Changing Appearances for User Interface Elements during Drag-and-Drop Operations


This patent, credited to CEO Steve Jobs and Bas Ording, generally relates to graphical user interfaces for computer systems, and more particularly to a user interface having elements that provide an intuitive appearance to depict an operation being performed. Granted patent 7,607,102 was originally filed for in March 2002.


Apple has also been granted a second iPod touch 2G patent under D602,486. The first granted patent was reported on last week.


Notice: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of patents with associated graphic(s) for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application and/or Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application and/or Issued Patent should be read in its entirety for further details. For additional information on any granted patent reviewed here today, simply feed the individual patent number noted above into this search engine. To read this report in another major language, use Yahoo! Babel Fish.


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