A dongle is a dongle is a dongle – that may have been true many years ago when secure hardware elements were generally available as standard USB sticks. But times have changed, and today, many options and variables make each dongle type special for a specific application. For example, hardware-based license security is now available in various form factors beyond the USB stick, such as ASICs, SD, microSD, or even Compact Flash cards. The variety of options allows ISVs and intelligent device manufacturers to address their own security needs as well as the technical requirements of their customers.
Since Wibu-Systems was founded in 1989 and launched its first secure hardware element with WibuKey, and later CodeMeter dongles, the company has expanded its container options to add software- and cloud-based license containers to its portfolio. And along the way, the company continued to expand its family of hardware-based license options. Today, vendors can choose casing types, USB mount and connector types, and interface types. Some dongles offer optional flash memory and different storage capacities while others are made to withstand varied temperature ranges on either end of the spectrum. Also available is the world’s smallest USB device – with flash memory. Vendors can even customize some units to display their own company brand.
In addition to all of these options, all CodeMeter dongles embed a smart card chip from Infineon Technologies, which includes a microcontroller with a secure storage area for cryptographic keys and firmware. All licenses are stored in the secure memory of the smart card chip, enabling users to easily transfer licenses from one computer to another by plugging the CmDongle into the machine they need. There are no additional license files needed.
Wibu-Systems has recently launched an Infographic that summarizes the various array of hardware options that are available. Let’s take a closer look at some of the options:
Casing Types – Available in plastic or metal
Interface types – SD, SPI/USB, CFast, and USB
USB mount types – Available as standard USB sticks, SiP (System in Package), or SMD (Surface Mounted Device)
Optional flash memory – Various form factors with and without flash memory
Storage capacity – Ranging from 2 GB to 32 GB
USB connector types – Type A: Full Speed USB 2.0 and Superspeed USB; Type C: Full Speed USB 2.0 and SuperSpeed USB
Connections – Removable or non-removable inner or outer connections
Customization – Laser engraving or Polychrome pad print
Temperature range – Withstand temperatures from -25oC to +55oC and -40oC to +105odegrees
Daniela is a marketing veteran who has dedicated more than twenty-five years of her career to the service of world-leading IT security vendors. Throughout her journey in this field, she has covered executive positions in international sales, product marketing, and product management and acquired comprehensive knowledge of both digital rights management solutions and authentication technologies. Working from the German headquarters of Wibu-Systems, she is currently leading both corporate and channel marketing activities, innovating penetration strategies, and infusing her multinational team with a holistic mindset.