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.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • Whistleblower Protection Act

    The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a law that protects federal government employees in the United States from ...

  • smart contract

    A smart contract, also known as a cryptocontract, is a computer program that directly controls the transfer of digital currencies...

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

SearchSecurity

  • challenge-response authentication

    In information security, challenge-response authentication is a type of authentication protocol where one entity presents a ...

  • Secure Shell (SSH)

    SSH, also known as Secure Shell or Secure Socket Shell, is a network protocol that gives users, particularly system ...

  • honeypot (computing)

    A honeypot is a network-attached system set up as a decoy to lure cyberattackers and to detect, deflect or study hacking attempts...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • virtual disaster recovery

    Virtual disaster recovery is a type of DR that typically involves replication and allows a user to fail over to virtualized ...

  • tabletop exercise (TTX)

    A tabletop exercise (TTX) is a disaster preparedness activity that takes participants through the process of dealing with a ...

  • risk mitigation

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a data center.

SearchStorage

  • exbibyte (EiB)

    An exbibyte (EiB) is a unit used to measure data capacity.

  • zebibyte (ZiB)

    A zebibyte (ZiB) is a unit used to measure computing and storage capacity.

  • tiered storage

    Tiered storage is a way to assign different categories of data to various types of storage media with the objective of reducing ...

Close