One of the growth areas in digital forensics is the use of USB dongles for the licensing of software. Every single practitioner now finds themselves in dongle hell trying to manage a veritable menagerie of tiny USB devices just to enable them to carry out their day-to-day work.

Of course, where dongles for core forensic software are concerned, most people will possess their own Digital Detective, EnCase or FTK dongles and these will be jealously guarded, with practitioners unwilling to let their prized (and in some cases, very expensive) hardware leave their sight. But what about some of the lesser used, but no less valuable, licencing dongles out there? At the moment, most labs will resound to the cries of “who’s got the X dongle? I need it to do Y”. Several minutes of frantic searching and head scratching then ensues, until someone remembers that they borrowed it to use in the imaging lab for five minutes, two weeks ago. One solution to this problem is network attached dongle server.


Avoiding dongle hell with a network attached SEH MyUTN-80 Dongle Server

Network Attached Dongle Servers

Dongle servers from SEH make USB dongles available over a network. You use your copy-protected software as usual but you don’t need to connect the license dongles directly to your client.

As with locally connected dongles, only one user can use the respective dongle over the point-to-point network connection.

The SEH UTN Manager software tool for Windows, OS X and Linux gives you access to your dongles as if they were connected directly to your computer. The SEH UTN Manager is installed on all notebooks, PCs, servers, and terminals that require dongle access.


SEH UTN Dongle Manager

This means that all of your licensing dongles can be stored in one location, and accessible to all of your staff via your forensic network. The port area of the dongle server is lockable, meaning that no-one is able to remove dongles without the key; and if you use the rack-mounting kit, the dongle server can even go in your server rack for further security.


Avoid dongle hell with a rack mounted SEH MyUTN-800 Network Attached Dongle Server

If working practices allow, the dongle server can be accessed over the Internet, meaning that on-site working doesn’t have to involve carrying around thousands of pounds worth of dongles. A remote worker can also have temporary access to a dongle when required. The server works with all the common forensic dongles such as Feitian, Aladdin HASP, SafeNet and Wibu CodeMeter. This means that even your core forensic function dongles can be kept securely locked away, safe from loss or damage.

Main Benefits

  • Easily share any licensing dongle via the local area network
  • Lock away expensive dongles to prevent theft
  • Prevent damage through constant insertion and removal
  • Easily share, and provide dongle access to remote workers
  • Easily share licensing dongles in the lab without having to constantly plug/unplug and throw them around

This would be an ideal purchase for small offices that cannot afford to buy licences for everyone, particularly for expensive software which may not be used every day.

Where to Buy

So, if you too would like to avoid dongle hell, please contact us for a quote.


We have been asked a few times recently about our new USB dongle licence option. The USB dongle licence is a small hardware device that plugs into a USB port on a host computer to provide licence information to our software.

Software licences stored on USB hardware offer a more flexible licence solution than licence key files. Our current EULA prohibits the use of a single licence key file on multiple workstations (we will be introducing hardware locked licence keys shortly). Each licence can only be installed on one system at any one time. With the USB dongle, you are permitted to install as many copies of our software as required and activate one instance of the software by running it with the USB dongle inserted (multiple instances on a single workstation are permitted). The dongle must be inserted whilst the software is being used.

Advantage of USB Licence Dongle

  • Allows the forensic investigator to use the software on a forensic workstation and a laptop without purchasing additional software licences.
  • As new products become available, additional licences can be added to the dongle.
  • Licences for multiple applications can be stored on one device.
  • Licence updates and changes can be easily made via the licence manager and encrypted update files.
  • The dongle does not function as a USB mass storage device so will not deprive you of drive letters.
  • Hardware dongles make it more difficult for licences to be stolen from the customer (such as with theft by employee).
  • It acts as a human interface device (HID) and is not affected by USB port security.
  • The software may be installed on several computers at the same time even if you only own a single licence.
  • The device contains an advanced microprocessor smart chip which has been certified by EAL4+ and ITSEC.
  • It requires no external device driver installation thus minimising common technical issues arising from device driver installation.

USB Dongle Upgrade Options

We are now offering a USB Dongle licence option for the following versions of our software:

  • NetAnalysis® > v1.52
  • HstEx® > v3.6
  • Blade® Standard / Professional > v1.0

Please note that Blade Standard / Professional can only be purchased with a USB licence dongle. With NetAnalysis, you have the option to purchase with either a licence key file or a USB licence dongle.

If you are an existing customer with a licence key file and wish to purchase a USB dongle upgrade, this can be done via our online store. The price of the upgrade will vary depending on the age of the licence key file. If your licence key file was purchased prior to 1st January 2007, you will need to purchase the USB dongle option with licence maintenance.

If you already own one of our USB dongles and wish to have additional licences added to the device, please contact us via our support portal for further information.

Further Information