Apple's 'Safe Deposit Box' could offer file security with cloud backup

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
Apple has shown interest in building a secure folder into its Mac OS X operating system which would allow users to safely save important files and documents, and also securely access them on the go.



The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently revealed Apple's application entitled "File Management Safe Deposit Box." In the company's proposed invention, the deposit box would be reside on a user's computer, and would verify their identity before the contents can be accessed.



Apple's application notes that users typically have files of varying importance and secrecy on their computers. In addition, users often want to have additional copies of important files to ensure they will not be lost if their computer is stolen or damaged.



"While various backup programs and encryption software suites are available to users, these are often cumbersome and time consuming for a user to set up," the application reads.



The proposed solution would be a "Safe Deposit Box" built into Mac OS X, allowing users to simply drag and drop a file onto the deposit box icon. Doing so would securely store and save the file. Users could also allow access to files for a short period of time, minimizing the risk of an unauthorized user gaining access.







The feature would go one step further, and automatically generate a copy of the file and save it to the cloud, preventing the risk of file loss. In addition to being automatically generated, these copies of files would also be secured, preventing access from unauthorized users.







Apple's explanation of the feature describes an interface that would mimic a physical safe deposit box at a bank, a personal safe, or some other way that users secure important belongings in real life.



The patent application recently made public by the USPTO was first filed by Apple in August of 2009. The proposed invention is credited to Duncan Robert Kerr and David R. Falkenburg.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    Doesn't this already exist? It's called DropBox, and is pretty sweet.
  • Reply 2 of 43
    n42n42 Posts: 34member
    I already do this with Dropbox. I created symlinks from all my home folders (Documents, Pictures, Music, Desktop, etc.) into my Dropbox and it keeps all my computers in sync, allows me to access my files from my iPhone, and from anyone else's computer via the web. I've recovered from hard drive failures with no sweat.



    The only files I do not keep on there are replaceable (e.g. programs and movies)
  • Reply 3 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aviator View Post


    Doesn't this already exist? It's called DropBox, and is pretty sweet.



    I do see your point but there is a lot of things already exist in some fashion but that doesn?t mean Apple can?t improve upon it which this patent seemingly indicates. There are usage issues with Dropbox that do make it confusing for the average person. Things that Dropbox is probably aware of but can?t circumvent without completely rewriting Mac OS X Finder and Windows Explorer to suit their specific needs.



    That said, I am surprised this is the 2nd article I?ve read on this patent that seems to go out of its way to not draw a comparison to Dropbox, which is far and away the most Mac-like experience in moving files between machines.



    Note that Apple has been using the same basic foundation Dropbox is designed off of for years with their Time Machine/Time Capsule sparse bundles which allow for the same kind of banded data file syncing that makes Dropbox so great.
  • Reply 4 of 43
    nofeernofeer Posts: 2,422member
    seemless--integrated--ecosystem



    its got to work for my mom, i can geek it out but the average person doesn't even backup

    i talked to a friend about the power of having a bootable clone backup (which has just rescued my wifes mb c2d white) and he just stares at me

    there is a lot of room for all those newbies to apple, the average joe, joanne, doens't get it

    but if the interface is slick smooth, seemless, and brainless like importing cd's to itunes and synching well it will work

    describe your use of dropbox to the avg apple user and what do you get??

    there is a better way



    and by the way, do ssd like in the air "fail" or ever need replaceing??

    my new hitachi i put in 3 months ago in my wife's mb crashed and thinking of upgrading her mb this summer with mba

    your thoughts
  • Reply 5 of 43
    "Secure Remote" is an oxymoron. As soon as your most valuable data is on a remote server, people unknown to you (administrators, government) have access to it.
  • Reply 6 of 43
    And how much will they be charging for this services?
  • Reply 7 of 43
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Safe deposit box is an important analogy because people only put their most valuable things in one of those, so people won't try and dump half their hard drive in it and overload Apple's servers. It also allows them to have a small quota and possibly therefore make it free.
  • Reply 8 of 43
    This is a wonderful idea. I use dropbox for stuff I wouldn't be concerned about if someone got access to, but I'm not confident enough to use it for something like my multi-page listing of user names and passwords for the dozens of sites I visit. I would definitely trust Apple's lock box for things like this. And being able to access it from another computer away from home would be icing on the cake. Can't wait for this!
  • Reply 9 of 43
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,894member
    I wonder just how secure it will really be. Apple needs to tread carefully here -- if they sell this as being "secure", then it had better darn well really be secure, both in the sense of strong encryption and in the sense of physical backups in the event of disaster (ie, Apple can't keep files only in one building in NC -- they need to have multiple, geographically diverse, backups)
  • Reply 10 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post


    I wonder just how secure it will really be. Apple needs to tread carefully here -- if they sell this as being "secure", then it had better darn well really be secure, both in the sense of strong encryption and in the sense of physical backups in the event of disaster (ie, Apple can't keep files only in one building in NC -- they need to have multiple, geographically diverse, backups)



    what are the odds of losing your machine(s) and an Enterprise data center at the same moment?



    strong encryption and geographical diversity are trivial.. getting users to use a good password is the weakest link in the chain.
  • Reply 11 of 43
    I thinks it's funny several are posting about "this already exists". The last time I checked, there were smartphones before 2007 and tablets before April 2010. That didn't stop Apple from walking in and changing both of those industries.
  • Reply 12 of 43
    axualaxual Posts: 244member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post


    "Secure Remote" is an oxymoron. As soon as your most valuable data is on a remote server, people unknown to you (administrators, government) have access to it.



    They may have access to files, but if files are encrypted (which they will be), they can't read them without an encryption key (which only you would have).
  • Reply 13 of 43
    I love apple, but this is not an "invention". Such systems have existed for years now. I could do the same thing today with an encrypted disk image and dropbox.
  • Reply 14 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post


    "Secure Remote" is an oxymoron. As soon as your most valuable data is on a remote server, people unknown to you (administrators, government) have access to it.



    in one sense you're right...

    in one sense you're wrong...



    secure in this context suggests protection against loss due to physical loss. your time machine backup is useless if your house burns down. offiste backup is way better than local.



    by the same token, your important dead trees are gone if the bank with physical boxes burns.



    if Apple uses AES-256 for this (the same thing they use for filevault).. I'd say you're safe in terms of physical security (fire or other loss) and unauthorized eyes viewing your docs.
  • Reply 15 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GotWake View Post


    I thinks it's funny several are posting about "this already exists". The last time I checked, there were smartphones before 2007 and tablets before April 2010. That didn't stop Apple from walking in and changing both of those industries.



    Yes, but you don't see apple trying to take credit for inventing the phone industry.
  • Reply 16 of 43
    cubertcubert Posts: 728member
    If you read the whole patent application, it even describes a creaking sound that the lockbox door will make when it swings open and a loud clunk with the sound of tumblers spinning when the door closes.



    Sweet.
  • Reply 17 of 43
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,268member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GotWake View Post


    I thinks it's funny several are posting about "this already exists". The last time I checked, there were smartphones before 2007 and tablets before April 2010. That didn't stop Apple from walking in and changing both of those industries.



    Apple seem to be becoming a bit of a Not Invented Here company - something which harmed them back in the day. They would be better off buying DropBox and using the clearly brilliant engineers there and this patent holder can add encryption.



    The "can be bought out" attitude actually encourages developers. I know of many a startup - even university funded startups - which build their exit strategies around Google buyouts - not IPOs



    Needless tosay they stick with Android.
  • Reply 18 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post


    "Secure Remote" is an oxymoron. As soon as your most valuable data is on a remote server, people unknown to you (administrators, government) have access to it.



    Physically, yes. Legally, no. No government agency would be allowed access to it without the same warrant they'd need to search your home comupter.
  • Reply 19 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple has shown interest in building a secure folder into its Mac OS X operating system which would allow users to safely save important files and documents, and also securely access them on the go ...



    It sounds just like a secure version of the current iDisk though, which is far too slow to be useful for most users at the moment.



    If I throw a file into a synced iDisk now, it takes hours sometimes to upload to the cloud and be available on my other devices. Everyone else I know (in my country) has the same problem.



    iDisk and MobileMe might be fast for those of you living in California USA, but it's a giant suckage for many others. (and yes, I have high-speed broadband and live in a giant city with all mod-cons, etc.)
  • Reply 20 of 43
    this would fit quite well with an integrated mobile payment system..
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