There are plenty of reasons to use a software protection dongle even when you're running an embedded system. Some people believe that embedded systems are immune to piracy because the software has to be tied to a specific piece of equipment.
But piracy may not be the primary concern for embedded systems; theft of intellectual property is. Increasingly today the machine is only a tool; it's the IP that the machine uses that has huge value. After all, a competitor can take your machine apart and see how it works. From that information they can build a competitor, knock-off, or even possibly improve on it. However, the software that makes the machine really valuable is a different matter.
We're finding an increased interest in using CodeMeter as a protection device for IP - basically the customer uses a CmStick or CmCard with additional flash RAM and stores their IP on the RAM in encrypted form; only the presence of a valid license will decrypt it. Further, a password can be placed on the CodeMeter software protection dongle preventing access in the event it falls into the wrong hands. That's two factor authentication.
A typical use for this is commercial weaving systems that make polo-style shirts or tee shirts. The patterns and/or embroidery on those shirts may represent valuable IP (for example, the pattern to make a logo). Preventing the data from falling into the hands of counterfeitors makes it harder for fake shirts to be produced. In this case the CodeMeter software protection dongle can store not only the programs to drive the weaving machine but also the IP in the form of designs or logos.
Sr. Account Manager
A senior manager and well respected security industry expert, John has worked in business development and sales for Wibu-Systems USA since 2001. When not consulting with customers on software licensing and protection solutions, John attends industry trade shows and conferences to stay abreast of the latest developments in the IT world. Prior to Wibu-Systems, John worked for Micro Security Systems, Eagle Data, and Griffin Technologies, all pioneers in software security.
Over the years, John has authored several blog articles on topics of general interest in cryptography as well as monetization of embedded systems in new and innovative ways.