End-User Keys

Two types of Sentinel protection keys are available:

  • The Sentinel HL key is a physical USB or ExpressCard key that connects to a computer, or a chip that is embedded in the computer.
  • The Sentinel SL key is a software-based key that locks your software to a specific machine. Your software and the user license are locked to the Sentinel protection key that you select.

All Sentinel HL keys—with the exception of Sentinel HL Basic keys—contain internal read/write memory. You can use the memory to do any of the following:

  • Control access to specific software modules and/or packages
  • Assign a unique code to each software user
  • Store licenses from your own licensing schemes
  • Save passwords, program code, program variables, and other data

Sentinel SL keys are patterned on the functionality of Sentinel HL keys. However, the data is located in the secure storage of the computer on which the Sentinel SL key resides.

Sentinel HL Keys

Sentinel HL keys are distributed with your software to end users. The keys connect to the end users’ computers. A variety of Sentinel HL keys are available to suit your requirements. Sentinel HL keys are available in either of two configurations:

  • Sentinel HL (HASP configuration) keys: These keys are fully compatible with software that requires the older HASP HL keys.

    NOTE   Sentinel HL (HASP configuration) keys can be upgraded in the field to Sentinel HL (Driverless configuration) keys. For more information, see Upgrading Sentinel HL Keys.

  • Sentinel HL (Driverless configuration) keys: These keys provide several advantages over Sentinel HL (HASP configuration) keys:
    • (On a Windows machine) Employ HID drivers instead of HASP key drivers. (HID drivers are an integral part of the Windows operating system.) In many cases, it is possible to use these keys without installing any additional support software.
    • (On a Windows machine) Support the use of "AppOnChip" functionality. With AppOnChip, code fragments of selected functions in the protected application are protected from an attacker's eyes by storing them as encrypted data. The code fragments are only decrypted and executed inside the HL key. This provides significantly enhanced security for the application.
    • (On a Linux machine) In many cases, it is possible to use these keys without installing any additional support software.
    • Support a higher number of Features.
    • Provide larger on-key memory space.
    • All Driverless keys (except for Basic keys) support a virtual clock for time-based licenses.
    • All Driverless keys (except for Basic keys) support concurrency (network-based licenses).

Sentinel HL keys offer the highest level of security. In order for a user to access your software, and for it to function correctly, the key must be accessible by the application. Furthermore, Sentinel LDK uses LicenseOnChip technology to protect Sentinel HL keys against license tampering.

Sentinel HL keys also have the advantage of portability. This means that the key can be moved from one computer to another. Software may therefore be installed on multiple computers but will only run if the key is connected and authenticated by the software.

NOTE   A Sentinel HL key can be accessed using a virtual connection. For more information, see Virtual Connection of HL Keys.

NOTE   Sentinel LDK continues to support the older HASP HL keys. All references to Sentinel HL keys in this document and other Sentinel LDK documents can be understood to include HASP HL keys unless the context of the reference clearly states otherwise.

Sentinel SL Keys

Sentinel SL keys are virtual, software-based keys that reside in the secure storage of a specific computer. Sentinel SL keys provide the same functionality as Sentinel HL keys, without requiring physical distribution.

After your software is installed on a computer, the end user typically enters a Product Key that is sent, via the Internet or by file transfer, to Sentinel EMS, together with the fingerprint of the machine. Sentinel EMS confirms that the Product Key has not been used to activate the software on more than the permitted number of machines—as determined by you—then sends back the Sentinel SL key, which is installed on the end user’s machine. This process is also used for updating license terms.

Several types of Sentinel SL keys exist:

  • SL Legacy - SL keys that were generated with versions of Sentinel HASP prior to Sentinel LDK v.6.0
  • SL AdminMode - SL keys that provide the highest level of security and functionality
  • SL UserMode - SL keys that provide a greater level of flexibility under certain circumstances

Sentinel SL Unlocked Licenses

An unlocked license is one that is not locked to a specific machine. An application with an unlocked license (referred to as an Unlocked Product) is protected against disassembly. However, the protected application can be duplicated, installed, and used on any machine for as long as the unlocked license allows. Unlocked licenses are used in the following situations:

  • Trialware products

    The ability to create and distribute trialware products without exposing the protected software to piracy provides a significant marketing advantage when selling software applications. Potential customers can work with the actual application and experience what the application has to offer and how it can benefit the individual or the organization. In addition, anybody that has access to trialware can copy it and distribute it to other people; this multiplies the exposure of the application within the marketplace. Each person who installs and works with the application must, at the end of the grace period (typically 30 to 90 days or 30 executions), decide to purchase an HL or SL key for the application or else be blocked from using the application.

  • Unlocked products

    Unlocked products are used when vendors want to protect their applications against reverse engineering but either:

    • Have no need to license the application (for example, software that is part of a larger hardware package). The vendor may not need to protect against duplication of the software. However, they want to protect the software against theft of intellectual property.
    • Are using a separate product or system to handle licensing of the software.

    An unlocked product typically has no time restriction or has a long-term license.