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Old 03-04-2009, 03:13 AM   #1
apostolos1975
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Ebook device and security

Hi all,

I have a rather generic question regarding security on the ebook readers. Are there any devices that offer password protection / content encryption. That is, the device asks for a password before booting and the file system (both fixed media and movable) is encrypted. The reason for asking this is the following: I am guessing that the ebook devices would get a huge boost in market share/acceptance once they are adopted by corporations as an alternative to dead-tree print outs (devices that come close to an A4 sheet). But no corporation, at least the self-respecting ones, would ever let its employees use such devices unless the corporate documents are safe through encryption. This is similar to full disk hd encryption for corporate laptops.

Encryption would cost something extra in processing power and battery life span I dont expect it to be that severe.

Any thoughts or comments?

Apostolos
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Old 03-04-2009, 03:28 AM   #2
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Encryption would require a keyboard, which the Sony PRS-505 doesn't have, and which some of the new in-process readers don't seem to have planned. That means encryption would require drastic changes in software or hardware.

An ebook reader is no less secure than the heaps of PPT presentations that are currently handed around in corporate settings. What stops corporations for adopting readers is, more than anything else, the small screens (or the extreme expense of the few with large screens); the first letter/A4-sized ebook reader that can handle PDFs and costs less than $400 will sweep the corporate & litigation landscape.

(If it can also read PPT files, they'll be etched with company logos and forced on new hires who won't have the excuse "the manual was too bulky to carry around, and that's why I haven't read it yet." Twitch. Can we lobby ebook device creators to *not* make them compatible with PowerPoint?)

A letter-sized reader that has more than 10 hours of battery life, enough memory for image-only scanned PDFs, and a decent navigation system, will *own* the litigation support landscape. Encryption's not what's holding that back.
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Old 03-04-2009, 03:45 AM   #3
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Well for devices with touch screens I dont see it so difficult to add an authentication step in the boot process. Just display a virtual keyboard and let the user punch some keys.

As for the corporate environment I would say that nothing prevents an employee from copying/distributing/stealing IP from the company in the form of documents. BUT, for a company to adopt such a scheme in a company wide range certain requirements must be met. I am talking about accidental incidents and not intentional/malicious acts.
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:27 AM   #4
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The iRex devices support password-protected PDF files.
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
Encryption would require a keyboard, which the Sony PRS-505 doesn't have, and which some of the new in-process readers don't seem to have planned. That means encryption would require drastic changes in software or hardware.
The 505 actually does let you "lock" it, so that you need to enter a 4-digit code when you either turn it on or wake it back up from sleep.

Agreed on your points about the sorry state of security for dead-tree documents.
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Old 03-04-2009, 10:05 PM   #6
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The iRex devices support password-protected PDF files.
Yea, and there about as secure as the password in Windows 98.

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