dongle : Java Glossary


A hardware device to make pirating a program difficult. It may fit on a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port, a serial port or a parallel port, often piggybacking on some actual device. The basic idea is the program interrogates the dongle asking it to sign a challenge phrase with its unique private key. The way the dongle is defeated is by replacing the code in the program that tests for the presence of the dongle. The dongle itself cannot be replaced by software since you would destroy the dongle in the process of trying to discover its private key.

There other less secure types of dongle that don’t require such complex electronics.

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