(19)
(11)EP 3 606 122 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
05.02.2020 Bulletin 2020/06

(21)Application number: 19189126.6

(22)Date of filing:  30.07.2019
(51)Int. Cl.: 
H04W 12/00  (2009.01)
H04L 9/08  (2006.01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(30)Priority: 31.07.2018 JP 2018143282

(71)Applicant: CANON KABUSHIKI KAISHA
Ohta-ku Tokyo 146-8501 (JP)

(72)Inventor:
  • HANYU, Ryota
    Ohta-ku, Tokyo 146-8501 (JP)

(74)Representative: Uffindell, Christine Helen 
Canon Europe Limited 3 The Square Stockley Park
Uxbridge, Middlesex UB11 1ET
Uxbridge, Middlesex UB11 1ET (GB)

  


(54)INFORMATION PROCESSING METHOD AND INFORMATION PROCESSING SYSTEM


(57) Provided is an information processing method in an information processing system including a communication apparatus (151) and an information processing apparatus (101) which respectively include a first communication unit (156) and a second communication unit (109) that perform a wireless communication. In the information processing method, the information processing apparatus reads, by using the second communication unit, key information and first information written into a storage area (202) by the communication apparatus, and performs a registration process for registering the communication apparatus. Regardless of communication with the communication apparatus, the information processing apparatus stores in advance second information. The information processing apparatus performs the registration process if the decryption key is generated from the key information, if the first information is decrypted by using the generated decryption key, and if the decrypted first information corresponds with the second information.




Description

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION


Field of the Invention



[0001] The present invention relates to an information processing method performed by an apparatus that performs communication via a predetermined wireless communication.

Description of the Related Art



[0002] In recent years, short-range wireless communication using Bluetooth (registered trademark) has widely been used. Since information that should not be made public is included depending on the content of communication, such information needs to be encrypted. If communication is performed by performing encryption, preprocessing called pairing needs to be performed so as to confirm a trustworthy apparatus. PCT Japanese Translation Patent Publication No. 2017-537507 proposes a technique for automatically performing pairing by transferring information that is necessary for pairing between apparatuses.

[0003] In a case of automatic pairing as in PCT Japanese Translation Patent Publication No. 2017-537507, information may be encrypted also in communication in pairing in terms of security. In this case, it is desirable that pairing be performed by a more secure and easier method.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



[0004] The present invention provides an information processing method by which a communication partner can be registered with a higher security level and more easily. The present invention also provides an information processing system.

[0005] The present invention in its first aspect provides an information processing method as specified in claims 1 to 10.

[0006] The present invention in its second aspect provides an information processing system as specified in claim 11.

[0007] The present invention in its third aspect provides an information processing method as specified in claims 12 to 17.

[0008] Further features of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of embodiments with reference to the attached drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0009] 

Fig. 1 illustrates the configuration of an information processing apparatus according to an embodiment and the configuration of a communication apparatus according to the embodiment.

Fig. 2 illustrates the configuration of a short-range wireless communication unit in the embodiment.

Fig. 3 illustrates a Generic Attribute Profile (GATT) data format described in the embodiment.

Fig. 4 illustrates a process for generating or reading a key seed described in the embodiment.

Fig. 5 illustrates a process for writing encrypted data into the short-range wireless communication unit.

Fig. 6 illustrates the structure of a database included in the short-range wireless communication unit of the communication apparatus.

Fig. 7 illustrates transition of a key seed public state of the communication apparatus.

Fig. 8 illustrates a process for registering a printer in the information processing apparatus.

Fig. 9 illustrates acquisition of information via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) in the information processing apparatus.


DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS



[0010] Now, an embodiment of the present invention will be described below with reference to the drawings.

[0011] An information processing apparatus and a communication apparatus included in an information processing system according to this embodiment will be described. Although this embodiment describes a smartphone as an example of the information processing apparatus, the information processing apparatus is not limited to this. Various apparatuses such as a mobile terminal, a laptop computer, a tablet terminal, a personal digital assistant (PDA), and a digital camera are also applicable. In addition, although this embodiment describes a printer that prints images and characters on paper as an example of the communication apparatus, the communication apparatus is not limited to this either. Various apparatuses are applicable as long as the apparatus can perform wireless communication with the information processing apparatus. For example, as the printer, an inkjet printer, a full-color laser beam printer, a monochrome printer, and the like are applicable. Furthermore, not only the printer but also other apparatuses are also applicable, such as a copying machine, a facsimile, a mobile terminal, a smartphone, a laptop computer, a tablet terminal, a PDA, a digital camera, a music reproduction device, and a television. Besides, a multi-function peripheral including a plurality of functions such as a copy function, a fax function, and a print function is also applicable.

[0012] First, the configuration of the information processing apparatus according to this embodiment and the configuration of the communication apparatus that can communicate with the information processing apparatus according to this embodiment will be described. Fig. 1 illustrates the configuration of the information processing apparatus according to this embodiment and the configuration of the communication apparatus according to this embodiment. Although this embodiment will describe the information processing apparatus having the following configuration as an example, this embodiment is applicable to any apparatus that can communicate with the communication apparatus, and the functions thereof are not limited to those illustrated in Fig. 1.

[0013] An information processing apparatus 101 is the information processing apparatus according to this embodiment. The information processing apparatus 101 includes an input interface 102, a central processing unit (CPU) 103, a read-only memory (ROM) 104, and a random access memory (RAM) 105. The information processing apparatus 101 further includes a storage device 106, an output interface 107, a display unit 108, a communication unit 109, a short-range wireless communication unit 110, an image capturing device 111, and the like. The information processing apparatus 101 is assumed to be, but is not limited to, a device such as a smartphone, and may be any apparatus such as a personal computer (PC).

[0014] The input interface 102 is an interface for receiving data input or operation instructions from a user, and is formed of a physical keyboard, buttons, a touch panel, or the like. Note that the output interface 107 that will be described later and the input interface 102 may be the same configuration so that the same configuration can output a screen and receive a user operation.

[0015] The CPU 103 is a system control unit and controls the entirety of the information processing apparatus 101.

[0016] The ROM 104 stores fixed data such as control programs to be executed by the CPU 103, a data table, and an embedded operating system (hereinafter OS) program. In this embodiment, the control programs stored in the ROM 104 control execution of software such as scheduling, task switching, and interrupt processing, under the control of the embedded OS stored in the ROM 104.

[0017] The RAM 105 is formed of, for example, a static random access memory (SRAM) that needs a backup power supply. Since the RAM 105 holds data with a primary battery for data backup (not illustrated), important data such as a program control variable can be stored without volatilization. In addition, the RAM 105 also includes a memory area for storing setting information of the information processing apparatus 101, management information of the information processing apparatus 101, and the like. Furthermore, the RAM 105 is also used as a main memory and a work memory of the CPU 103.

[0018] The storage device 106 includes an application for providing a print function. In addition, the storage device 106 includes various programs such as a print information generating program for generating print information that can be interpreted by a communication apparatus 151, an information transmission/reception control program for transmitting/receiving information to/from the communication apparatus 151 that is connected via the communication unit 109, and the like. The storage device 106 stores various kinds of information to be used for these programs. The storage device 106 also stores image data obtained from another information processing apparatus or via the Internet through the communication unit 109.

[0019] The output interface 107 is an interface that controls the display unit 108 to display data or to notify the user of the state of the information processing apparatus 101.

[0020] The display unit 108 is formed of a light emitting diode (LED), a liquid crystal display (LCD), or the like and displays data or notifies the user of the state of the information processing apparatus 101. Note that a soft keyboard including keys such as numeral input keys, mode setting keys, a determination key, a cancel key, and a power key may be provided on the display unit 108 so as to receive inputs from the user through the display unit 108.

[0021] The communication unit 109 is a component for establishing a connection with an apparatus such as the communication apparatus 151 to perform data communication. For example, the communication unit 109 can be connected to an access point (not illustrated) within the communication apparatus 151. The connection between the communication unit 109 and the access point within the communication apparatus 151 enables mutual communication between the information processing apparatus 101 and the communication apparatus 151. Note that the communication unit 109 may also directly communicate with the communication apparatus 151 via a wireless communication, or may communicate with the communication apparatus 151 via an external access point (an access point 131) that is present outside the information processing apparatus 101 and the communication apparatus 151. Examples of the wireless communication scheme include Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) (registered trademark), Bluetooth (registered trademark), and the like. In addition, examples of the access point 131 include a device such as a wireless local area network (LAN) router. Note that the scheme in which the information processing apparatus 101 and the communication apparatus 151 are directly connected bypassing an external access point will be referred to as a direct connection scheme whereas the scheme in which the information processing apparatus 101 and the communication apparatus 151 are connected via the external access point will be referred to as an infrastructure connection scheme in this embodiment.

[0022] The short-range wireless communication unit 110 is a component that establishes a short-range wireless connection with an apparatus such as the communication apparatus 151 to perform data communication and performs communication by a communication scheme that is different from that of the communication unit 109. The short-range wireless communication unit 110 can be connected to a short-range wireless communication unit 157 within the communication apparatus 151. Note that Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is used as the communication scheme of the short-range wireless communication unit 110 in this embodiment. Bluetooth Device Address (BD ADDR) that is identification information unique to each Bluetooth device is assigned to a communication module of the device.

[0023] The image capturing device 111 is a device that converts an image captured by an image sensor into digital data. The digital data is stored in the RAM 105. Subsequently, the data is converted into image data in a predetermined image format by using a program executed by a CPU 154 and is stored in the storage device 106 as the image data.

[0024] A ROM 152 stores fixed data such as control programs to be executed by the CPU 154, a data table, and an OS program.

[0025] The communication apparatus 151 is the communication apparatus according to this embodiment. The communication apparatus 151 includes the ROM 152, a RAM 153, the CPU 154, a print engine 155, a communication unit 156, the short-range wireless communication unit 157, an input interface 158, an output interface 159, a display unit 160, a non-volatile memory 161, and the like. The communication apparatus 151 is assumed to be, but is not limited to, a device such as a multi-function peripheral (MFP).

[0026] The communication unit 156 includes an access point for connecting to an apparatus such as the information processing apparatus 101 as an access point within the communication apparatus 151. Note that the access point can be connected to the communication unit 109 of the information processing apparatus 101. Note also that the communication unit 156 may directly communicate with the information processing apparatus 101 via a wireless communication, or may communicate with the information processing apparatus 101 via the access point 131. Examples of the communication scheme include Wi-Fi (registered trademark), Bluetooth, and the like. In addition, the communication unit 156 may include a hardware component that serves as an access point or may operate as an access point by using software for causing the communication unit 156 to serve as the access point.

[0027] The RAM 153 is formed of, for example, a dynamic random access memory (DRAM) that needs a backup power supply. Since the RAM 153 holds data by being supplied with the power supply for data backup (not illustrated), important data such as a program control variable can be stored without volatilization. In addition, the RAM 153 is also used as a main memory and a work memory of the CPU 154, and stores various kinds of information and a reception buffer for storing print information received from the information processing apparatus 101 or the like.

[0028] The ROM 152 stores fixed data such as control programs to be executed by the CPU 154, a data table, and an OS program. In this embodiment, the control programs stored in the ROM 152 control execution of software such as scheduling, task switching, and interrupt processing, under the control of the embedded OS stored in the ROM 152. In addition, the ROM 152 also includes a memory area for storing data that needs to be held even when the power supply is not supplied, such as setting information of the communication apparatus 151, management data of the communication apparatus 151, and the like.

[0029] The CPU 154 is a system control unit and controls the entirety of the communication apparatus 151.

[0030] The print engine 155 forms an image on a recording medium such as paper by using a recording material such as ink on the basis of information stored in the RAM 153 or a print job received from the information processing apparatus 101 or the like and outputs a print result. At this time, the print job transmitted from the information processing apparatus 101 or the like has a large transmission data amount, and highspeed communication is required. Thus, the print job is received through the communication unit 156 that can perform communication at a higher speed than the short-range wireless communication unit 157.

[0031] The input interface 158 is an interface for receiving data input or operation instructions from a user, and is formed of a physical keyboard, buttons, a touch panel, or the like. Note that the output interface 159 that will be described later and the input interface 158 may be the same configuration so that the same configuration can output a screen and receive a user operation. The output interface 159 is an interface that controls the display unit 160 to display data or to notify a user of the state of the communication apparatus 151.

[0032] The display unit 160 is formed of an LED, an LCD, or the like and displays data or notifies the user of the state of the communication apparatus 151. Note that a soft keyboard including keys such as numeral input keys, mode setting keys, a determination key, a cancel key, and a power key may be provided on the display unit 160 so as to receive inputs from the user through the display unit 160.

[0033] The non-volatile memory 161 is formed of a device such as an electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM) or a flash memory. The non-volatile memory 161 is mainly used for storing data of a setting value or the like of the communication apparatus 151, which needs to be held even when the power supply of the communication apparatus 151 is not supplied.

[0034] Fig. 2 illustrates details of the short-range wireless communication unit 157. The short-range wireless communication unit 157 is a component for establishing a short-range wireless connection with an apparatus such as the information processing apparatus 101. In this embodiment, BLE is used as the communication scheme of the short-range wireless communication unit 157. The short-range wireless communication unit 157 communicates with the CPU 154 via a bus interface such as Inter-Integrated Circuit (I2C). The short-range wireless communication unit 157 includes a CPU 201, a storage area 202, a ROM 203, and a RAM 204. The storage area 202 is accessible from the CPU 154. The storage area 202 is also accessible from the information processing apparatus 101 through the short-range wireless communication unit 110. The RAM 204 is formed of, for example, a DRAM that needs a backup power supply. Since the RAM 204 holds data by being supplied with the power supply for data backup (not illustrated), important data such as a program control variable can be stored without volatilization. In addition, the RAM 204 is also used as a main memory and a work memory of the CPU 201. The ROM 203 stores fixed data such as control programs to be executed by the CPU 201, a data table, and an OS program.

[0035] Note that a memory such as an external hard disk drive (HDD) or a secure digital (SD) card may be attached to the communication apparatus 151 as an optional device, and information stored in the communication apparatus 151 may be stored in the memory.

[0036] Although this embodiment has illustrated processing allocated to the information processing apparatus 101 and the communication apparatus 151 as described above, the processing allocation is not limited to this example. The processing may be allocated in a different manner.

[0037] Now, an outline of the Generic Attribute Profile (GATT) communication in accordance with the BLE standard will be described.

[0038] In the GATT, two roles, a GATT client and a GATT server, are defined for a device that transfers data and a device that receives data. The GATT client transmits a request to the GATT server and receives a response from the GATT server. In this embodiment, the information processing apparatus 101 serves as the GATT client. Upon receipt of the request from the GATT client, the GATT server transmits a response. In this embodiment, the communication apparatus 151 serves as the GATT server. In addition, the GATT server is a device that stores data or status information. On the other hand, the GATT client can read/write data from/to the GATT server.

[0039] Next, a GATT data format will be described. The GATT data is formed of three elements called service, characteristic, and descriptor. The relationship among these three elements is illustrated in Fig. 3. Note that the descriptor is optional and may be absent.

[0040] Each of the service, characteristic, and descriptor can be identified by means of a 32-digit universally unique identifier (UUID). However, the service, characteristic, and descriptor that are defined by the standard of Bluetooth SIG are represented in 4 digits.

[0041] The UUID herein is used as an identifier for uniquely identifying an object on software. The UUID is a 128-bit numerical value and is normally represented by a hexadecimal number, such as "550e8400-e29b-41d4-a716-446655440000".

[0042] Each characteristic has its unique value. The descriptor has an attribute value to be used when additional information is necessary for the characteristic. For each of the service, characteristic, and descriptor, it is possible to set a read/write attribute or a security attribute with respect to the GATT client.

[0043] The GATT client can read/write the value of each characteristic by designating the service UUID and the characteristic UUID. However, whether read/write is allowed depends on the read/write attribute that is set for each service and for each characteristic.

[0044] Now, processes according to this embodiment will be described with reference to Figs. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. The following process performed by the communication apparatus 151 is realized by the CPU 154 executing a program stored in a storage area of the ROM 152 or the like in the RAM 153. On the other hand, the process performed by the information processing apparatus 101 is realized by the CPU 103 executing a program (e.g., application program) stored in a storage area of the ROM 104 or the like in the RAM 105.

[0045] A process in which the communication apparatus 151 generates a key seed or reads an existing key seed will be described with reference to the flowchart in Fig. 4.

[0046] The key seed herein is key information about an encryption key and is a value used for generating the encryption key. In addition, the encryption key is a value to be used when encryption is performed. In this embodiment, the encryption key is calculated by using the key seed. The algorithm for calculating the encryption key from the key seed is a hash function in this embodiment. The hash function is a function that is designed to have a unique output from an input, to have as few outputs having the same value as possible. However, the algorithm for calculating the encryption key is not limited to the hash function, and any algorithm by which an input and an output are uniquely determined may be used.

[0047] In addition, in this embodiment, the key seed is generated by performing control such that the key seed and an invalid value are distinguishable from each other. Specifically, the key seed having a value of 0 is treated as the invalid value, and generation of the key seed is controlled so as not to generate the invalid value.

[0048] In S401, the communication apparatus 151 determines whether the key seed is stored in the non-volatile memory 161 within the communication apparatus 151. In S401, the CPU 154 performs processing for reading information from an area for the key seed provided in the non-volatile memory 161 and determines whether the information is the invalid value so as to determine whether the key seed is stored.

[0049] Note that the timing for starting the process illustrated in Fig. 4, that is, the timing for determining whether the key seed is stored in S401, is the launch time of the communication apparatus 151 in this embodiment. However, the process illustrated in Fig. 4 may be started at other timing.

[0050] If it is determined in S401 that a valid key seed is not stored, it is determined that the key seed needs to be generated. Then, in S402, the communication apparatus 151 performs processing for generating the key seed. The key seed having the same value may be generated every time the key seed is generated, or the key seed having a random value may be generated. However, the generation is controlled so as not to generate the invalid value. In addition, in S402, the communication apparatus 151 stores the generated key seed in the non-volatile memory 161. Even if it is determined in S401 that the key seed is stored, the communication apparatus 151 generates the key seed in response to a user's instruction, if any, for regenerating the key seed.

[0051] Next, an example in which the communication apparatus 151 uses the key seed stored in the non-volatile memory 161 as illustrated in Fig. 4 will be described. Specifically, the communication apparatus 151 generates an encryption key from the key seed, and encrypts a setting value by using the encryption key, the setting value being stored in the RAM 153 or the non-volatile memory 161. Then, the communication apparatus 151 writes the encrypted setting value into the short-range wireless communication unit 157. Details of this process will be described with reference to the flowchart in Fig. 5 and Fig. 6.

[0052] Fig. 6 illustrates the structure of a database included in the short-range wireless communication unit 157 of the communication apparatus 151 as a GATT server in this embodiment. Through the process that will be described later with reference to Fig. 5, encrypted information is written into the database illustrated in Fig. 6. In Fig. 6, five characteristics are provided for a vendor's original service name "Original" (Service UUID: 00000000-0000-1000-1000-00405f9b34fb). For each characteristic, a read attribute or a write attribute, and whether data to be stored is to be encrypted or not is set. As for the characteristics whose "Read" is "Yes" and whose "Encryption" is "Yes" in Fig. 6, data is stored after being encrypted by using an encryption key. The encryption key is calculated from the key seed provided in a GATT characteristic 603, which will be described later.

[0053] Next, part of content of the characteristics included in the short-range wireless communication unit 157 will be described in detail. For the characteristics of a service set identifier (SSID) 601 and a password 602, the SSID and the password that enable a direct connection of the communication unit 156 of the communication apparatus 151 as an access point are encrypted and are then stored. For the characteristic of a proper noun 604 in this embodiment, a character string "printer", which is a proper noun, is encrypted and is then stored. These pieces of encrypted information are treated as highly confidential information. The database included in the short-range wireless communication unit 157 as the GATT server illustrated in Fig. 6 is an example in this embodiment, and given items can be added thereto.

[0054] In S501, the communication apparatus 151 determines whether the time is a timing for updating the characteristics in the short-range wireless communication unit 157. The timing for updating the characteristics in the short-range wireless communication unit 157 is, for example, a case where setting values stored in the RAM 153 or the non-volatile memory 161 within the communication apparatus 151 are to be updated. In addition, the timing also includes a case where the characteristics in the short-range wireless communication unit 157 are to be initialized at the launch time of the communication apparatus 151, a case where the values of the characteristics are to be updated regardless of the setting values, and a case where the key seed is initialized.

[0055] If it is determined in S501 that the time is a timing for updating the characteristics, it is determined that the updating is necessary, and the process proceeds to S502. In S502, the communication apparatus 151 reads the key seed value stored in the RAM 153 or the non-volatile memory 161 in S402. In S503, the communication apparatus 151 generates an encryption key from the key seed read in S502. The encryption key is a value to be used when information is encrypted by using an encryption algorithm.

[0056] The encryption algorithm used in this embodiment is a shared key encryption method in which an encryption key used when information is encrypted is the same as a decryption key used for decryption. Although a type of shared key encryption method called Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is employed as the encryption algorithm in this embodiment, the encryption algorithm is not limited to this, and other encryption algorithms may be employed.

[0057] In S504, by using the encryption key generated in S503, the communication apparatus 151 reads and encrypts the information (setting values of the communication apparatus 151) stored in the RAM 153 or the non-volatile memory 161. In this embodiment, the setting values to be read from the RAM 153 or the non-volatile memory 161 are the SSID and the password used by the information processing apparatus 101 to directly communicate with the communication unit 156 of the communication apparatus 151. However, the information to be read and encrypted is not limited to these.

[0058] In S505, the information (setting values) encrypted in S504 is written into the characteristics in the short-range wireless communication unit 157. In addition, values that do not have to be encrypted may be read from the RAM 153 or the non-volatile memory 161 at this timing to be written into the characteristics in the short-range wireless communication unit 157 without encryption. If a network setting value is updated in this embodiment, the SSID 601 and the password 602 are encrypted in S504 and are then written into the characteristics. It is needless to say that the information is not limited to this combination, and any value may be written into the characteristics after being encrypted or not being encrypted.

[0059] If it is determined in S501 that the key seed is initialized, an encryption key is generated from the initialized key seed in S502 and S503. Subsequently, from the RAM 153 or the non-volatile memory 161, the communication apparatus 151 reads all the values to be stored in the characteristics in which "Read" is "Yes" and "Encryption" is "Yes" in Fig. 6. Then, the communication apparatus 151 encrypts the read values in S504 and writes the encrypted values into characteristics in S505.

[0060] Next, the process in which the communication apparatus 151 sets the key seed in a public state will be described. As will be described later with reference to Fig. 8, in this embodiment, by setting the key seed in the public state and by transmitting/receiving encrypted information, pairing (process for registering the communication partner) for GATT communication in BLE is performed. Accordingly, the process for setting the key seed in the public state in the communication apparatus 151 will be described with reference to the flowchart in Fig. 7.

[0061] Note that, the communication apparatus 151 can transition to a key seed public state in response to a user's specific key operation through the input interface 158. In this embodiment, a non-key seed public state means a state where the value of the key seed is an invalid value whereas the key seed public state means a state where the value of the key seed is a valid value.

[0062] In response to the user's specific key operation, S701 is performed. In S701, the communication apparatus 151 writes the value of the key seed generated in S402 into the predetermined GATT characteristic 603 in which the value of the key seed is stored in the database illustrated in Fig. 6. The information processing apparatus 101 can refer to the GATT characteristic 603 via the BLE communication.

[0063] In S702, the communication apparatus 151 determines whether a predetermined end condition of the key seed public state is satisfied. The key seed public state is continued until the end condition is satisfied. The end condition is, for example, a notification from the information processing apparatus 101, indicating that the communication apparatus 151 has been registered, via the GATT communication with the information processing apparatus 101. For example, the notification is a completion notification that will be described later in S810 in Fig. 8. Upon reception of this notification, it is determined in S702 that the end condition is satisfied.

[0064] If it is determined in S702 that the end condition is satisfied, in S703, the communication apparatus 151 overwrites the value of the key seed in the GATT characteristic 603 to the invalid value. In response to S703, the state of the communication apparatus 151 transitions to the non-key seed public state, and the process illustrated in Fig. 7 ends.

[0065] Note that the transition to the non-key seed public state in S703 can also be realized by setting the characteristic in which the key seed is stored in the GATT database illustrated in Fig. 6 to an unreadable state. Also in this case, the effects of the embodiment can be obtained. Through the above control, a person other than an authenticated user who can perform the specific operation on the apparatus is not allowed to read the key seed.

[0066] Next, a pairing process (process for registering the communication partner) performed by the information processing apparatus 101 will be described. A process for registering a printer as the communication apparatus 151 in an application of the information processing apparatus 101 will be described with reference to the flowchart in Fig. 8. Note that the printer registration process illustrated in Fig. 8 is started when a user's instruction is input through the input interface 102 with respect to a specific key displayed on the display unit 108 by the application. In addition, the process illustrated in Fig. 8 is realized by the application being executed in the information processing apparatus 101.

[0067] Upon start of the printer registration process in the application, in S801, the short-range wireless communication unit 110 receives advertising information by BLE advertise and a scan response from peripheral printers.

[0068] Subsequently, in S802, on the basis of the advertising information received in S801, the information processing apparatus 101 checks a printer that conforms to the application and that is not registered yet. Then, printer information indicating that the printer can be newly registered is displayed on the display unit 108. Note that if a plurality of printers that can be newly registered are found on the basis of the advertising information in S802, a plurality of pieces of printer information corresponding to the plurality of printers are displayed, and a user is allowed to select a printer to be registered (not illustrated).

[0069] Subsequently, in S803, the information processing apparatus 101 requests a connection to the printer that corresponds to the printer information selected by the user through the short-range wireless communication unit 110 and establishes a BLE connection. Note that the GATT communication, in which it is necessary that pairing has been performed, is not performed at this stage. Upon establishment of the BLE connection, in S804, the information processing apparatus 101 reads the value of the GATT characteristic 603 of the communication apparatus 151.

[0070] Subsequently, in S805, the information processing apparatus 101 determines whether the communication apparatus 151 is in the key seed public state. Specifically, in S805, if the value of the key seed read in S804 is the invalid value or is unreadable, the information processing apparatus 101 determines that the communication apparatus 151 is in the non-key seed public state.

[0071] If it is determined in S805 that the communication apparatus 151 is in the non-key seed public state, the process proceeds to S806. In S806, the information processing apparatus 101 waits for a predetermined time. Note that in S806, the information processing apparatus 101 may display, on the display unit 108 of the information processing apparatus 101 for example, information for prompting the user to set the communication apparatus 151 in the key seed public state.

[0072] After waiting for the predetermined time in S806, the information processing apparatus 101 repeats S804 and S805 and waits for setting of the communication apparatus 151 in the key seed public state. If the communication apparatus 151 is not set in the key seed public state although the waiting in S806 has repeated a predetermined number of times or a predetermined time that is longer than the waiting time in S806 has elapsed, the process illustrated in Fig. 8 ends (not illustrated). Alternatively, if, for example, a cancel instruction is received from the user, the process illustrated in Fig. 8 ends (not illustrated).

[0073] If it is determined in S805 that the communication apparatus 151 is in the key seed public state, in S807, the information processing apparatus 101 generates a decryption key from the key seed read in S804.

[0074] In the GATT database of the communication apparatus 151 illustrated in Fig. 6, a proper noun character string "printer" is encrypted and stored in the characteristic of the proper noun 604 and is readable. In S808, via the GATT communication in which pairing is unnecessary, the information processing apparatus 101 reads the encrypted proper noun 604 and decrypts it by using the decryption key generated in S807.

[0075] Note that the application for executing the process illustrated in Fig. 8 stores in advance the structure regarding the characteristics illustrated in Fig. 6, the unique value of the proper noun 604 after decryption, and a value to be written into a completion notification 605 regardless of the communication with the communication apparatus 151. For example, the above information is stored in the information processing apparatus 101 when the program of the application is installed in the information processing apparatus 101. The above structure regarding the characteristics, the unique value of the proper noun 604 after decryption, and the value to be written into the completion notification 605 are provided by the vendor of the printer that is the communication apparatus 151. Thus, for example, if the same vendor provides the communication apparatus 151 and the application, these structure and values are determined by the same vendor.

[0076] In S809, the information processing apparatus 101 compares the proper noun information that is decrypted in S808 with the proper noun information "printer" that is stored in advance in the information processing apparatus 101, and if the two pieces of information correspond with each other, it is determined that the decryption key is a normal value.

[0077] If it is determined in S809 that the decryption key is a normal value, in S810, the information processing apparatus 101 performs the registration process by storing the identifier, such as BD_ADDR, of the printer selected in S802 in association with the key seed. Further, with respect to the characteristic of the completion notification 605, a specific character string "registered" indicating the completion of registration is encrypted by the above shared key method, the encrypted value is written by using the GATT communication, and the process illustrated in Fig. 8 ends. On the other hand, if it is determined in S809 that the decryption key is not a normal value, the information processing apparatus 101 does not register the printer, and the process illustrated in Fig. 8 ends.

[0078] The communication apparatus 151 decrypts the value that is written as the completion notification 605 by the information processing apparatus 101 in S810. Then, if the decrypted value is a predetermined value, it is confirmed that the writing of this value as the completion notification 605 is writing after encryption by using the key seed designated in Fig. 4. By this confirmation, it can also be confirmed in the communication apparatus 151 that the registration process has normally been completed in the information processing apparatus 101.

[0079] Next, with reference to the flowchart in Fig. 9, a process in which information is acquired via BLE from the printer as the communication apparatus 151 in the application of the information processing apparatus 101 will be described in detail. In this example, it is assumed that the process illustrated in Fig. 8 has been performed, and the printer has been registered in the information processing apparatus 101. That is, the BLE connection between the information processing apparatus 101 and the communication apparatus 151 has been established as in S803, and also the communication apparatus 151 has been registered in the application of the information processing apparatus 101 in S810. In addition, the process illustrated in Fig. 9 is also realized by the information processing apparatus 101 executing the application that has been used for executing the process illustrated in Fig. 8.

[0080] In S901, the information processing apparatus 101 transmits a request for acquiring information to the printer as the communication apparatus 151 through the short-range wireless communication unit 110. The information that is requested to be acquired herein is, out of the information illustrated in Fig. 6, information for which "Encryption" is "Yes", such as the SSID and the password, and is encrypted by the communication apparatus 151 in S504. Note that, on the condition that the communication apparatus 151 has been registered in the information processing apparatus 101 in S810, the application of the information processing apparatus 101 transmits the request for acquiring the SSID and the password, for example. That is, information that is not allowed to be acquired before S810 becomes allowed to be acquired through this processing.

[0081] In S902, from the key seed acquired from the communication apparatus 151 in S804, the information processing apparatus 101 generates a decryption key for decrypting encrypted information. The processing for generating the decryption key is the same or substantially the same as that in S503 or S807. Note that since this embodiment employs the shared key encryption method, the process for calculating the decryption key is the same or substantially the same as the process for calculating the encryption key. However, in a case where another encryption method is employed, the process for calculating the decryption key is not necessarily the same or substantially the same as the process for calculating the encryption key.

[0082] In S903, by using the decryption key generated in S902, the information processing apparatus 101 decrypts the information acquired in S901. Through this decryption process, the application of the information processing apparatus 101 can acquire the encrypted information from the printer as the communication apparatus 151 and can use the acquired information of the communication apparatus 151.

[0083] According to the above embodiment, as illustrated in Fig. 8, when pairing (process for registering the communication partner) for BLE is performed, the pairing can be performed by transferring encrypted information. In addition, according to the embodiment, pairing is automatically performed in response to a user's depression of a key on the information processing apparatus 101 (e.g., a smartphone) and the communication apparatus 151 (e.g., a printer). Thus, for example, as compared with a pairing method in which the user inputs, to the information processing apparatus 101, a PIN code displayed on the communication apparatus 151, pairing can be performed easily. That is, according to the process in this embodiment, pairing can be performed easily via a secure communication.

[0084] Furthermore, according to this embodiment, as in the secure communication in which encryption and decryption are performed after pairing as illustrated in Fig. 9, pairing is performed by encrypting information, transmitting and receiving the information, and decrypting the information by the information processing apparatus 101 and the communication apparatus 151. Thus, pairing can be realized through a process that is the same or substantially the same as the secure communication after pairing without a special process that is different from the communication after pairing, such as the above method of displaying and inputting the PIN code.

[0085] While the present invention has been described with reference to embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments. It will of course be understood that this invention has been described above by way of example only, and that modifications of detail can be made within the scope of this invention.


Claims

1. An information processing method in an information processing system including a communication apparatus (151) and an information processing apparatus (101), the communication apparatus (151) including a first communication unit (156) that performs communication via a predetermined wireless communication, the information processing apparatus (101) including a second communication unit (109) that performs communication via the predetermined wireless communication, the information processing method comprising:

writing (S701), in response to a user operation, by the communication apparatus, key information to be used for generating a decryption key and predetermined first information that is encrypted by using an encryption key corresponding with the generated decryption key, into a storage area that the information processing apparatus is capable of referring to by using the second communication unit;

reading (S804), in response to the user operation, by the information processing apparatus using the second communication unit, the key information and the first information that have been written into the storage area; and

performing (S810), by the information processing apparatus, a registration process for registering the communication apparatus,

wherein the registration process is performed if the decryption key is generated from the key information, if the first information is decrypted by using the generated decryption key, and if the decrypted first information corresponds with predetermined second information stored in advance in the information processing apparatus.


 
2. The information processing method according to Claim 1, wherein the writing step further comprises generating (S503) the encryption key from the key information and encrypting (S504) the predetermined first information by using the generated encryption key.
 
3. The information processing method according to Claim 1, further comprising:
acquiring (S901), by the information processing apparatus from the communication apparatus, information that is not allowed to be acquired before the performing of the registration process, on condition that the registration process has been performed.
 
4. The information processing method according to Claim 3, further comprising the step of decrypting (S903), by the information processing apparatus, the acquired information, using the generated decryption key.
 
5. The information processing method according to any preceding claim, wherein the key information is written into the storage area in response to a user's instruction to the communication apparatus.
 
6. The information processing method according to Claim 5, further comprising the step of performing control, by the communication apparatus, such that the key information is not read from the storage area if a predetermined condition is satisfied.
 
7. The information processing method according to Claim 6, wherein the predetermined condition is receipt of a predetermined notification from the communication apparatus after the performing of the registration process.
 
8. The information processing method according to any preceding claim, wherein the predetermined wireless communication is Bluetooth.
 
9. The information processing method according to Claim 8, wherein the predetermined wireless communication is Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).
 
10. The information processing method according to any preceding claim, wherein the communication apparatus is a printer.
 
11. An information processing system including a communication apparatus (151) and an information processing apparatus (101), the communication apparatus including a first communication unit (156) that performs communication via a predetermined wireless communication, the information processing apparatus including a second communication unit (109) that performs communication via the predetermined wireless communication, the information processing system comprising:

in the communication apparatus,

a writing unit (154) configured to write, in response to a user operation, key information to be used for generating a decryption key and predetermined first information that is encrypted by using an encryption key corresponding with a decryption key generated from the key information, into a storage area that the information processing apparatus is capable of referring to by using the second communication unit;

in the information processing apparatus,

a reading unit (103) configured to read, in response to the user operation, by using the second communication unit, the key information and the first information that have been written into the storage area; and

a registration unit (103) configured to perform a registration process for registering the communication apparatus,

wherein the registration unit is configured to perform the registration process if the decryption key is generated from the key information, if the first information is decrypted by using the generated decryption key, and if the decrypted first information corresponds with predetermined second information stored in advance in the information processing apparatus.


 
12. A program which, when executed by an information processing apparatus that communicates with a communication apparatus, causes the information processing apparatus to carry out an information processing method, the communication apparatus including a first communication unit that performs communication via a predetermined wireless communication and a storage area, the information processing apparatus including a second communication unit that performs communication via the predetermined wireless communication, the information processing method comprising:

reading (S804), by using the second communication unit, key information to be used for generating a decryption key and predetermined first information that is encrypted by using an encryption key corresponding with the decryption key, from the storage area of the communication apparatus; and

performing (S810), by the information processing apparatus, a registration process for registering the communication apparatus,

wherein the registration process is performed if the decryption key is generated from the key information, if the first information is decrypted by using the generated decryption key, and if the decrypted first information corresponds with predetermined second information stored in advance in the information processing apparatus.


 
13. The program according to Claim 12, wherein the information processing method further comprises:
acquiring (S901), from the communication apparatus, information that is not allowed to be acquired before the performing of the registration process, on condition that the registration process has been performed.
 
14. The program according to Claim 13, wherein the acquired information is decrypted using the generated decryption key.
 
15. The program according to Claim 12, wherein the predetermined wireless communication is Bluetooth.
 
16. The program according to Claim 15, wherein the predetermined wireless communication is Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).
 
17. The program according to Claim 12, wherein the communication apparatus is a printer.
 




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REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description