Browse Definitions:
Definition

dongle

Contributor(s): Timothy Regas, William Collier, Pete Johson

A dongle (pronounced DONG-uhl) is a hardware key for securing access to a licensed software application and establishing a chain of trust. The software application uses encrypted communication to access the hardware key and verify the legitimacy of a license before the program will run. Due to the high per-unit cost, dongles are typically used to authenticate proprietary business-to-business (B2B) and business to government (B2G) applications.

Originally, dongles plugged into a parallel or serial port, but today, dongles can also be used in universal serial bus (USB) and flash memory card ports. If more than one application requires a dongle, multiple dongles can be plugged into available ports or into hubs. Over the years, dongle technology has adapted to changing market needs. Today, instead of being plugged into an open port on a computer, dongle technology can also reside on a microchip soldered into a device in order to help secure the Internet of Things (IoT).

Software application producers partner with a dongle vendor to program each dongle with special ROM (read-only memory) that stores the app's security and licensing terms. Some high end units have as much as 51 kilobytes (KBs) of ROM to enable complex licensing and security schemes. The dongle vendor loads unique codes into some form of ROM so units are not interchangeable.

This was last updated in May 2017

Continue Reading About dongle

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

SearchSecurity

  • principle of least privilege (POLP)

    The principle of least privilege (POLP), an important concept in computer security, is the practice of limiting access rights for...

  • identity management (ID management)

    Identity management (ID management) is the organizational process for identifying, authenticating and authorizing individuals or ...

  • zero-day (computer)

    A zero-day vulnerability, also known as a computer zero day, is a flaw in software, hardware or firmware that is unknown to the ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

  • SAS SSD (Serial-Attached SCSI solid-state drive)

    A SAS SSD (Serial-Attached SCSI solid-state drive) is a NAND flash-based storage or caching device designed to fit in the same ...

  • MTTR (mean time to repair)

    MTTR (mean time to repair) is the average time required to fix a failed component or device and return it to production status.

  • OpenStack Swift

    OpenStack Swift, also known as OpenStack Object Storage, is an open source object storage system that is licensed under the ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close