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Encyclopedia > Dongle
Chained parallel port copy prevention dongles.
Chained parallel port copy prevention dongles.
Matrix USB dongles in two case sizes
Matrix USB dongles in two case sizes
Senselock Genii USB port dongle
Senselock Genii USB port dongle

A dongle is a small piece of hardware that connects to a computer.[1] The usual function of a dongle is to authenticate a piece of software. Without the dongle, the software will run only in a restricted mode, or not at all. Dongles are used by some proprietary vendors as a form of copy prevention or digital rights management, because it is much harder to copy a dongle than to copy the software it authenticates. Despite being hardware, however, dongles are not a complete solution to the trusted client problem. Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... Chained parallel port dongles. ... Chained parallel port dongles. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Computer hardware is the physical part of a computer, including the digital circuitry, as distinguished from the computer software that executes within the hardware. ... This article is about the machine. ... Software redirects here. ... Proprietary indicates that a party, or proprietor, exercises private ownership, control or use over an item of property, usually to the exclusion of other parties. ... A vendor, or a supplier, is a supply chain management term that means anyone who provides goods or services to a company. ... Copy prevention, also known as copy protection, is any technical measure designed to prevent duplication of information. ... Digital rights management (DRM) is an umbrella term that refers to access control technologies used by publishers and copyright holders to limit usage of digital media or devices. ... In computing, a trusted client is a device or program controlled by the user of a service, but with restrictions designed to prevent its use in ways not authorised by the provider of the service. ...

Vendors of software-protection dongles (and dongle-controlled software) often use terms such as hardware key, hardware token, or security device instead of dongle, but the term "dongle" is much more common in day-to-day use. The term has been somewhat generalized, so it may also refer to a connector that translates one type of port to another—for example, an 8P8C modular jack that plugs into the edge connector on a PC card Ethernet adapters—or may even mean simply a small device such as a USB flash drive or a wireless networking adapter. Douglas Adams, in a 1990s column for the US edition of MacWorld magazine, used the term "little dongly things" to describe converters for adapting US power cables to international plugs.[2] However, these broader usages are not universally accepted. An 8P8C modular plug before having been crimped onto a cable Connector and cable The 8 Position 8 Contact (8P8C) modular plugs and jacks are communications connectors. ... An edge connector is a type of electrical connector for use with PC boards. ... The PCMCIA is the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association, an industry trade association that creates standards for notebook computer peripheral devices. ... Ethernet is a large, diverse family of frame-based computer networking technologies that operate at many speeds for local area networks (LANs). ... JumpDrive redirects here. ... Douglas Noël Adams (11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001) was an English author, comic radio dramatist, and musician. ... MacWorld magazine (April 2004) Macworld is a monthly computer magazine dedicated to Macintosh products. ...

Efforts to introduce dongle copy-prevention in the mainstream software market have met stiff resistance from users. Such copy-prevention is more typically used with very expensive packages and vertical market software, such as CAD/CAM software, MICROS Systems hospitality and special retail software, Digital Audio Workstation applications, and some translation memory packages. The vast majority of printing and prepress software, such as CtP workflows, requires dongles. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... CADD and CAD redirect here. ... Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) is the use of computer-based software tools that assist engineers and machinists in manufacturing or prototyping product components. ... MICROS Systems, Inc. ... A digital audio workstation (DAW) is a system designed to record, edit and play back digital audio. ... A translation memory, or TM, is a type of database that is used in software programs designed to aid human translators. ... For other uses, see Print. ... Prepress. ... Computer to plate (CTP) is an imaging technology used in modern printing processes. ...

In cases such as prepress and printing software, the dongle is encoded with a specific, per-user license key, which enables particular features in the target application. This is a form of tightly controlled licensing, which allows the vendor to engage in vendor lock-in and charge more than it would otherwise for the product. An example is the way Creo licenses Prinergy to customers: When a computer-to-plate output device is sold to a customer, Prinergy's own license cost is provided separately to the customer, and the base price contains little more than the required licenses to output work to the device. In order to access the advertised features in the application, the customer must pay a significant price for a special dongle. In economics, vendor lock-in, also known as proprietary lock-in, customer lock-in, lock-in is where a customer is dependent on a vendor for products and services and cannot move to another vendor without substantial switching costs, real and/or perceived. ... Creo, now part of Eastman Kodak, is a Burnaby, British Columbia-based company involved in imaging and software technology for Computer to plate and digital printing. ... This article is considered orphaned, since there are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ...

Well-known software-protection dongle manufacturers include Matrix (Matrix Dongle) Matrix Software License Protection System, SafeNet (Rainbow before an acquisition), Feitian Technologies, Aladdin, Microcosm Ltd (Dinkey Dongles), WIBU-SYSTEMS, SG-Lock, UniKey (or SecuTech), Senselock (or Sense), and MARX (CRYPTO-BOX). In the digital audio world, some versions of Pro Tools and many plugins use the Pace iLok Smart Key USB dongles. TDi GmbH is a company that provides solutions for software license protection and internet login with headquarters offices in Dortmund, Germany as well as in Zug, Switzerland. ... Categories: Possible copyright violations ... This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Plug in. ... iLok SmartKey The iLok or InterLok is a copy protection method developed and manufactured by PACE Anti-Piracy of San Jose, California utilizing a USB hardware key or Dongle, and an online registration system at www. ...

The term 'mobile broadband dongle' is also sometimes used to refer to the USB plug-and-play device that enables PCs and laptops to use Mobile Broadband.[3] It consists of a USB modem, which downloads necessary operating software to the computer, and a small transmitter/receiver which connects the computer to the mobile phone company’s data transfer network. // . Mobile Broadband is the name used to describe the 3G services which are made possible by HSDPA and HSUPA, the latest technologies on the evolutionary path. ...

USB dongles are also a big part of Steinberg's audio production and editing systems, such as Cubase, Wavelab, Hypersonic, HALion, and others. The dongle used by Steinberg's products is also known as a Steinberg Key. The Steinberg Key can be purchased separately from its counterpart applications and generally comes bundled with the "Syncrosoft License Control Center" application, which is cross-platform compatible with both Mac OS X and Windows.



A typical PCMCIA card dongle
A typical PCMCIA card dongle

Dongle has been used as a placeholder name since the 1970s. Its origin is unknown. The American Heritage Dictionary, 4th edition, says it is "probably [an] arbitrary coinage." A 1992 advertisement for Rainbow Technologies (now SafeNet—a dongle vendor in the U.S) claimed the word was derived from the name "Don Gall"—though untrue, this has given rise to an urban myth. A typical PCMCIA card dongle. ... A typical PCMCIA card dongle. ... Placeholder names are words that can refer to objects or people whose names are either irrelevant or unknown in the context in which it is being discussed. ... The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979, also called The Seventies. ... The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (AHD) is a dictionary of American English published by Boston publisher Houghton-Mifflin, the first edition of which appeared in 1969. ... Urban Legend is also the name of a 1998 movie. ...

Dongle as the name of a device was used well before 1980 in the telecom industry to refer to BNC cable joiners of either gender. Male BNC connector Cables with BNC connectors Adapter between a female BNC connector and banana plugs Picture to show the similarity between 50 Ω and 75 Ω BNC connectors Pulse generators with BNC connectors and cables. ...

WORDCRAFT was the first program to use a software protection dongle, in 1980. Its dongle was a simple passive device that supplied data to the pins of a Commodore PET's external cassette port in a pre-determined manner. This was possible because the PET cassette port supplied both power and data connections through a proprietary edge connector. It did, however, make the cassette port unusable for its intended purpose. A computer program is a collection of instructions that describe a task, or set of tasks, to be carried out by a computer. ... The PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) was a home-/personal computer produced by Commodore starting in the late 1970s. ... The Commodore 1530* (C2N) Datassette (a portmanteau of data + cassette), was Commodores dedicated computer tape recorder. ...

The two-cubic-inch (33 cm³) resin-potted first generation device was called a "dongle" by the inventor as there was no other suitable term to hand on the day. The distributor, Dataview Ltd., then based in Colchester, UK, then went on to produce a derivative dongle, which became their core business. For other places with the same name, see Colchester (disambiguation). ...

Dongles rapidly evolved into active devices that contained a serial transceiver (UART) and even a microprocessor to handle transactions with the host. Later versions adopted the USB interface in preference to the serial or parallel interface. Currently, the USB interface is gradually becoming dominant. A universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter (usually abbreviated UART and pronounced IPA: ) is a type of asynchronous receiver/transmitter, a piece of computer hardware that translates data between parallel and serial interfaces. ... A microprocessor incorporates most or all of the functions of a central processing unit (CPU) on a single integrated circuit (IC). ... USB redirects here. ... A male DE-9 connector used for a serial port on a PC style computer. ...

Interestingly, modern smart cards present the same feature set as modern dongles. Given this, the dongle market may be overtaken by smart cards, as smart cards are more secure and powerful by design than traditional MCU based dongles. Some dongle vendors are producing one-chip dongles, which combine the smart card and the smart card reader in the same chip. This structure makes a smart card dongle easy and stable. Smart card used for health insurance in France. ... MCU may refer to: Main Control Unit A Microcontroller unit (MCU) is a single chip that contains a processor, RAM, ROM, clock and I/O control unit. ...

Problems with software-protection dongles

There are potential weaknesses in the implementation of the protocol between the dongle and the copy-controlled software. It requires considerable cunning to make this hard to crack. For example, a naive implementation might simply define a function to check for the dongle, returning "true" or "false" accordingly—thus reducing the prevention scheme to a single bit value at one point in the program. A cryptographic protocol is an abstract or concrete protocol that performs a security-related function and applies cryptographic methods. ... Software cracking is the modification of software to remove protection methods: copy prevention, trial/demo version, serial number, hardware key, CD check or software annoyances like nag screens and adware. ... In computer science, a subroutine (function, procedure, or subprogram) is a sequence of code which performs a specific task, as part of a larger program, and is grouped as one, or more, statement blocks; such code is sometimes collected into software libraries. ... This article is about the unit of information. ...

Modern dongles include built-in strong encryption and use fabrication techniques designed to thwart reverse engineering. Typical dongles also now contain non-volatile memory — key parts of the software may actually be stored and executed on the dongle. Thus dongles have become secure cryptoprocessors that execute inaccessible program instructions that may be input to the cryptoprocessor only in encrypted form. The original secure cryptoprocessor was designed for copy protection of personal computer software (see US Patent 4,168,396, Sept 18, 1979) to provide more security than dongles could then provide. See also bus encryption. Encrypt redirects here. ... Reverse engineering (RE) is the process of taking something (a device, an electrical component, a software program, etc. ... Non-volatile storage is a category of computer storage. ... A secure cryptoprocessor is a dedicated computer for carrying out cryptographic operations, embedded in a packaging with multiple physical security measures, which give it a degree of tamper resistance. ... A secure cryptoprocessor is a dedicated computer for carrying out cryptographic operations, embedded in a packaging with multiple physical security measures, which give it a degree of tamper resistance. ... Bus encryption is the use of encrypted program instructions on a data bus in a computer that includes a secure cryptoprocessor for executing the encrypted instructions. ...

However, security researchers warn that dongles still do not solve the trusted client problem: if you give a user the cryptographic ciphertext, the algorithm and the key, your cipher is likely to be breakable, even with the algorithm and key encoded in hardware.[4] In computing, a trusted client is a device or program controlled by the user of a service, but with restrictions designed to prevent its use in ways not authorised by the provider of the service. ... The German Lorenz cipher machine, used in World War II for encryption of very high-level general staff messages Cryptography (or cryptology; derived from Greek κρυπτός kryptós hidden, and the verb γράφω gráfo write or λεγειν legein to speak) is the study of message secrecy. ... Encrypt redirects here. ... Flowcharts are often used to graphically represent algorithms. ... A key is a piece of information that controls the operation of a cryptography algorithm. ...

Another problem is that if a counterfeit version of a program does not require a dongle, the counterfeit version may be easier to use and may seem preferable to the original. For other uses, see Counterfeit (disambiguation). ...

Hardware cloning is also a lethal threat to traditional dongles. To thwart this, some dongle vendors adopted smart card product, which is widely used in extremely rigid security requirement environments such as military and banking, in their dongle products.

Dongle drivers brings problems for end-users. Most developers and software vendors want to get rid of the dongle driver headache. There are some driverless dongles on the market, which make the protection easy for both software vendors and end-users.

A more innovative modern dongle is designed with a code porting mechanism, meaning you can transfer part of your important program code or license enforcement into a secure hardware environment (such as in a smart card OS, mentioned above). An ISV can port thousands of lines of important computer program code into the dongle. Code porting means to port computer program written in one programming language to another language. ... An Independent Software Vendor (ISV) is a business term for companies specializing in making or selling software, usually for niche markets. ... A computer program is a collection of instructions that describe a task, or set of tasks, to be carried out by a computer. ...

Game consoles

Some unlicensed titles for game consoles used dongles to connect to officially licensed cartridges, in order to circumvent the authentication chip embedded in the console. The Nintendo GameCube is an example of a popular video game console. ... Cartridge for the VIC 20 homecomputer In various types of electronic equipment, a cartridge can refer one method of adding different functionality or content (e. ...

Pop culture references

Teen Girl Squad #12, Vamlumtimes Day, from Homestar Runner, includes a brief romance between Cheerleader and the Class Prez via text message. A Wireless Wizard appears and demands to know what Cheerleader's extremely complicated smiley is supposed to be. She insists it's a frontways cupid, but the Wizard says it looks more like a USB dongle goblin, and summons an actual dongle goblin from the sky to kill Cheerleader and the Class Prez. One of the easter eggs with the episode is a Valentine card from the dongle goblin, containing the tagline, "I'm gonna give you a big hub!" Homestar Runner is a Flash animated Internet cartoon. ... Homestar Runner is a Flash animated Internet cartoon. ... For other uses of smiley and smiley face, see Smiley (disambiguation). ... The first easter egg. ...


  • Aladdin
  • Eutron Electronic Technologies
  • Feitian Technologies Co., Ltd.
  • Matrix Software Protection System
  • Microcomputer Applications, Inc. (MAI) -- KEYLOK
  • Microcosm Ltd.
  • SafeNet
  • SecuTech Solution Inc.
  • Syncrosoft/Steinberg
  • WIBU-Systems


  1. ^ Late 20th century. Origin uncertain: probably an arbitrary formation. Microsoft Encarta Premium Suite 2004.
  2. ^ DNA/Dongly Things
  3. ^ See "what_is_a_mobile_dongle?" [1]
  4. ^ Attacks on and Countermeasures for USB Hardware Token Devices (PDF) (Joe Grand, Grand Ideas Studio, Proceedings of the Fifth Nordic Workshop on Secure IT Systems Encouraging Co-operation, Reykjavik, Iceland, October 12–13, 2000, pp 35–57, ISBN 9979-9483-0-2

“PDF” redirects here. ...

See also

In computing, a trusted client is a device or program controlled by the user of a service, but with restrictions designed to prevent its use in ways not authorised by the provider of the service. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Dongle FAQs (1129 words)
If the Dongle is unplugged from a computer, the software becomes unregistered and cannot be used on that computer until the Dongle is re-inserted.
Dongles can be purchased only with a new software license or with the purchase of a renewal license.
Finally, the Dongle you have may not be for the software you are trying to register.
Halfbakery: copy protection dongle (2470 words)
"Dongle" in this sense, [bliss], is also known as a "hardware key," a physical device that you must install on one of the connectors of your computer in order to run a protected piece of software.
These dongles are designed never to allow the code to be read, so you have to actually crack the chips open, which is substantially more different and requires specialized equipment.
The biggest difficulty in designing a copy-protection dongle is making perform a function which varies in an unpredictable way with user data, but which is essential to a program's operation, and yet which does not require use of too large a data set.
  More results at FactBites »



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