Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,135,839) for “electronic devices having adaptive security profiles and methods for selecting the same.” The goal: to further beef up security on Macs, iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that portable electronic devices have become ubiquitous and continue to evolve to have an ever-expanding range of capabilities. It’s not uncommon for a single device to perform multiple functions, including playing music, displaying video, storing pictures, sending and receiving email, receiving and transmitting phone calls, etc. Because of the portability of modern electronic devices, users often carry them wherever they go.
However, the increased convenience brought about by these devices is not without attendant perils. Apple notes that, one potential downside, for example, is that unauthorized access to an electronic device may pose a dangerous security risk for a user. Users often have access to personal information (e.g., bank accounts, contact lists, and email) and confidential data (e.g., work related information) through their electronic devices that can be compromised in the event that the device is lost or stolen.
One solution may be to provide password protection for each interaction between a user and his or her device, though frequent authentication may become onerous. Apple says what’s needed are systems and methods for supporting various adaptive security profiles on an electronic device.
Here’s the summary of the invention:
“Adaptive security profiles are supported on an electronic device. One or more security profiles may be automatically or selectively applied to the device based on the device's location and one or more geographic zone definitions. The security profiles may be used to determine the level of authentication or number of invalid authentication attempts for a particular feature or application or set of features or applications.”
Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day.