Protecting and Licensing CODESYS Applications


Modern factories are complex organisms, with invaluable, but intangible capital in the form of product designs, process instructions, and management or billing information flowing through an intricate network of communication lines, automation systems, and smart controllers. Shielding this organism from outside threats and securing the data that flows through it are a vital concern for factory operators and the makers of industrial equipment alike. The maker of one of the most popular development environments for the software that makes modern, smarter factories possible, CODESYS, and Wibu-Systems have come together to bring unbeaten protection and intelligent licensing capabilities to the shop floors of the digital age.

What is CODESYS?

CODESYS has been a popular choice for developers of industrial controller applications ever since its original introduction by the CODESYS Group in 1994. With more than a quarter of a century of progress under its belt, the eponymous Controller Development System is an independent IEC 61131-3 compliant development suite for PLCs, PACs, and numerous other controllers of different types, makes, and vendors. CODESYS interfaces are integrated in devices from major household names and boutique industrial controller manufacturers. More than one hundred thousand end users use CODESYS to create the applications running highly automated and smart industrial ecosystems.

CODESYS Security in Action

The CODESYS programming environment can be used free of charge, with royalties only due from active runtime implementations, reflecting the company’s belief in the creative potential of the development community that is also expressed in the vibrant CODESYS Forge open-source platform. However, the controller applications created with CODESYS represent a major investment of intellectual property and creative effort that developers will want to see reliably protected and shielded from reverse engineering, theft, and tampering. This is where CODESYS Security steps in and injects the protection capabilities and licensing finesse of Wibu-Systems’ CodeMeter into the CODESYS world.

CODESYS Security is fully integrated into the CODESYS environment, letting developers protect their IP with powerful encryption mechanisms and stay in control of how their work is being used with clever license-based security options and usage controls. With its ability to handle signed applications and encrypted communication, CODESYS Security bridges most of the gaps in modern industrial security, as unauthorized third parties are prevented from accessing the usually sensitive and often mission-critical data going through industrial controllers and from tampering with the software at the heart of these central nodes in modern connected factory environments.


CODESYS Security is the software backbone of the protection and licensing solution. The CODESYS Key is its hardware complement: A dedicated version of Wibu-Systems’ popular CmDongle security hardware that brings the protection capabilities right into the field in a neat and rugged dongle package designed for the tough environment of a modern industrial installation. As the smart card enabled encryption powerhouse and tough license container, the CODESYS Key combines mobility and versatility with unbeatable (and unbeaten) protection and security qualities.

Licensing and Creative Monetization Options

The ability to monitor how their IP is used is a prime concern for the makers of industrial automation equipment and controllers. Reliable and tamperproof usage counters or system clocks tracking the time in active use would allow them to not just avert potential misuse or fraud, but to test new business models for their devices, including subscription or pay-per-use models that can offer the best of both worlds: A more manageable entry price that lowers the barriers for smaller manufacturing outfits needing modern industrial equipment to establish themselves in today’s digital and connected world, and a reliable revenue stream for the device maker.

CODESYS Security makes all this possible with the full complement of licensing options offered by the popular CodeMeter system, ranging from conventional permanent licenses to more flexible and intelligent modern options like feature-on-demand choices that allow end users to upgrade the capabilities of their factory equipment on the fly, when and where they need them.

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