Lately, traditional banks have exhibited a strong inclination towards the cryptocurrency world. While some have integrated cryptocurrency into their systems, some were seen hedging their funds, and a few others have acquired or filed patents regarding specific aspects related to the crypto space. The second-largest bank in the US, the Bank of America, recently lead the race by acquiring its latest patent in the blockchain and crypto space for ‘tamper-responsive’ remote storage of private keys. The patent was filed in September 2016.
As per the document released by US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) with the full-text and image database of the patent, the invention provides for systems and devices for hardened remote storage of private cryptography keys used for authentication. The ‘tamper responsive’ storage device indicates that it will delete all private cryptography key(s) from the memory if it receives any hint of physical or non-physical tampering with the storage device or its components.
The document also states, “the storage device is configured to be separate and remote from a computing node that executes an authentication routine requiring the private cryptography key(s) and, as such, the private cryptography key(s) are accessible to, but not communicated to, the computing node only when the computing node is executing the authentication routine.”
Private keys of users can also be deleted if/when a virus or malevolent code is detected,
“In other specific embodiments of the system, the first processor is further configured to receive the tamper-related signal, from the computing node. In such embodiments of the system, the tamper-related signal indicates that a user has exceeded a predetermined number of attempts of inputting user authentication credentials to the authentication routine.”
According to the patent, users have to configure what tamper signals are and how they are processed.
Earlier in its application the Bank of America had mentioned that most cryptography keys’ only layer of protection is a password.
“Since most computing devices… are frequently, and in some instances continuously, connected to a wired and/or wireless public network, such as the internet or the like, internally stored private cryptography keys are continuously susceptible to being misappropriated by an entity that desires to usurp a user’s identity,” said the patent.
Through this new initiative, the Bank of America intends to keep its clients immediately informed in case their private keys are tampered with, at the same time keep user-friendly methods handy to deal with such incidents. Though this invention is meant to serve all sorts of clients, exchanges and other larger clientele would benefit the most as they are more vulnerable to malicious attacks.
The Bank of America is not the only financial institute to have ventured into the crypto space. Earlier in June, American multinational financial services corporation, Mastercard had filed a patent application with the objective to use public blockchains to verify payment cards at the point of sale. Again in October, Mastercard filed a patent to incorporate blockchain in fractional reserve banking.