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Need to digitally sign a program but have no USB token physically attached to your PC? No worries! We’ll tell you how to easily connect to your USB device remotely and access it’s contents like it was plugged directly into your computer.
As is known, software providers tend to digitally sign executables and scripts in order to protect their products from being corrupted.
Code signing is a common way to confirm the software author and assure users of software integrity. The authentication mechanism that is generally used is based on the underpinning signing keys.
It is of utmost importance for software providers to protect their private keys against unauthorized access. One of the most reliable ways to secure signing keys is to store them in cryptographic hardware devices like USB tokens (or USB dongles).
The problem of remote access to USB security dongles
As a software developer, you may face the need to access a USB token remotely. If your dongle is physically connected to an office computer, it seems rather challenging to use it while working from home.
Also, not rare are the cases when a group of developers shares the same USB token containing a code signing key. Given that the device can only be attached to one computer at a time, it’s not that convenient to constantly switch it between machines.
Below we will cover the most popular and simple ways to remotely access a USB token and sign your software app. What’s more, we’ll highlight a solution that allows you to connect to one USB dongle from multiple computers simultaneously. Read on to learn more.
Whether you want to use a local USB token to sign a file on a remote machine or connect to a remote USB dongle from your local PC, USB Network Gate comes to the rescue.
With USB Network Gate, can remotely use your Code Signing Certificate for signing a script, code, software, or any other executable file.
The software is powered by advanced USB port virtualization technology that makes it possible to share any real USB port over the network. After being shared in the user-friendly software interface, the port can be accessed from a remote machine. What’s important you can access the device attached to the shared port as well. Every new device you physically connect to this port becomes shared automatically.
When you connect to the shared device from a remote computer, the device appears in your system like a local one. The functionality and contents of the remote USB dongle is available to you no matter how far you are from the real device.
Thanks to its powerful features and the simplicity of use, USB Network Gate has become an indispensable tool for many.
Now let’s see how to sign files on your local computer if you don’t have your USB token at hand.
* A machine to which your device is connected physically is referred to as USB Network Gate Server. USB Network Gate Client is any machine from which you connect to a shared device remotely.
Now, this token is available for access from a remote computer!
Note: As an option, you can enable authentication and set a password that will protect your device from undesired connections.
This is it!
Now the remote USB token will appear in the Device Manager of your PC and you will be able to use it like it was physically connected to your computer.
Another solution we would like to tell you about is a popular software tool capable of sharing USB dongles over the Internet with several remote users at a time.
Donglify is a dedicated software app that works with licensed USB security dongles. The program makes it possible to share hardware USB keys in such a way that they become available for connection from several computers simultaneously.
The software offers the “Multi-connect” feature thanks to which the same USB token with a code signing key can be used by multiple developers at a time.
Note: If the dongle that you want to share is shown with the ‘Multi-connect” icon, it means several computers can connect to it simultaneously. If you see the “Single-connect” icon next to your dongle’s name, this dongle will be available for connection from only one PC at a time.
Currently Donglify provides support for the following USB dongles: HASP HL 2.16, HASP HL Pro 3.25, Sentinel HL 4.34, Sentinel UltraPro, Sentinel HL 4.27, Sentinel HL 4.31, Sentinel HL 4.54, Hardlock USB 1.02, Feitian Technologies ROCKEY Dongle, SafeNet eToken 5110, and CodeMeter CmStick.
Another option is to use a USB redirection solution to forward a USB security dongle to a cloud environment. The software tool you can utilize will depend on what operating system you use and what project you build. Taking into account the pros and cons of major solutions in the market, USB Network Gate by Electronic Team seems to be able to cope with this task best.