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

SearchCompliance

SearchSecurity

  • computer worm

    A computer worm is a type of malicious software program whose primary function is to infect other computers while remaining ...

  • Single Sign-On (SSO)

    Single sign-on (SSO) is a session and user authentication service that permits a user to use one set of login credentials (e.g., ...

  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

    Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) is a certification issued by ISACA to people in charge of ensuring that an ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

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

  • disaster recovery team

    A disaster recovery team is a group of individuals focused on planning, implementing, maintaining, auditing and testing an ...

  • cloud insurance

    Cloud insurance is any type of financial or data protection obtained by a cloud service provider. 

SearchStorage

  • VRAM (video RAM)

    VRAM (video RAM) is a reference to any type of random access memory (RAM) used to store image data for a computer display.

  • Kilo, mega, giga, tera, peta, exa, zetta and all that

    Kilo, mega, giga, tera, peta, exa, zetta are among the list of prefixes used to denote the quantity of something, such as a byte ...

  • flash memory

    Flash memory, also known as flash storage, is a type of nonvolatile memory that erases data in units called blocks.

Close