Why SenseLock?

Software Selection

The major difficulty connected with the selection of a software protection product lies in the uncertainty with criteria.

The particularity of the software protection sector makes it hard for relevant technologies to be freely exchanged between manufacturers and between users. So far no authoritative evaluation institutions have made an impartial and correct appraisal of such category of products and technologies.

Software developers are usually short of the understanding and the practical experience of the core technology, it is therefore very difficult to judge and apprehend the advantages and disadvantages of a protection product. The result is that some dongle manufacturers pack outdated technology by resorting to trickery technique to gain the acceptance of users.

As a matter of fact, software developers can make comprehensive appraisal and analysis for the key features (such as security, stability, etc.) of a product through market information. For example, are there a great number of users using such protection product? What is the actual effect? What are the opinions from users?

However, most of the software-protection device manufacturers keep this information confidential. Are they afraid of their user information to be known by their competitors? Will the disclosure of this information bring deadly hidden danger to their users? Or don’t they have any typical users?


Doubtlessly, software protection product providers should have been the close and reliable cooperative partners of software developers. Nevertheless, the fact shows that excessively exaggerated advertisement, irresponsible promises and the slowdown of technical advance have made the software protection sector unable to gain its due position and esteem in the domestic software industry.

We hope that through our constant technical progress, timely and professional technical support, service commended by users, as well as sincere client-oriented attitude, we shall be able to prove that SenseLock products are worthy of long term trust and dependence.

Two major characteristics of Senselock EL

  • High dependability software code protection solution based on smart card technology
  • Value added applications powered by additional service functions, such as licensing and remote update

It is not an easy job for software developers to select a technology that can protect their software from being pirated. The following analysis will prove to you why SenseLock EL is trustworthy.

Your objective - protect your software from being pirated

Piracy is the greatest threat to the survival of software developers. Under the circumstance of rampant piracy, only the software protection technology can protect your interest. If software developers care about the degree of security of their software, they need not to waste time in the selection of "hard protection" or "soft protection", as the conclusion is obvious.

If one has used the traditional dongle or has some knowledge of the relevant technology, they may have a deep feeling for the following problems:

  • Shift of responsibility/risk

    The traditional dongle providers may place emphasis on the hardware of dongle itself , or the security of the algorithm, but fail to provide any effective means or the most basic guarantee regarding whether the software can be protected or not, which means that the 100% responsibility rests with the person who encrypts. In theory, the traditional dongle cannot protect the security of the software.

    On the other hand, the traditional dongle cannot protect the hardware security of itself using current technology at all.

  • Technique comparison

    Owing to the above reasons, if the person who encrypts wants to protect his software, the only way for him to do this would be to rely on the technical level of the person who encrypts. What can be almost certain is that there is an obvious gap between the person who encrypts and the professional person/group who decrypts.

    Disastrous cost will be paid if ignoring this point.

SenseLock EL makes everything simple, as it puts forward a brand-new and trustworthy software protection pattern: code porting.

The key code and the data of the application software at PC end "disappear", and are securely ported to the hardware of Senselock EL dongle for protection. When required, the application software may instruct the Senselock EL through some APIs to run the key code and data in the hardware and return the result, so as to complete the full function of the software. As these code and data do not have copies at the PC end, the person who encrypts cannot make a guess at the algorithm or steal the data, the security of the entire software system has been therefore under the strong protection.

In a word, Senselock EL has provided a set of reliable solutions to ensure, in theory, the security of the software protection.

How to guarantee the security of "code porting"?

Though the reliability of "code porting" is easy to be testified in theory, there are many factors to be taken into consideration to ensure the security of the entire program. The most important problems are: how to guarantee the security of the code after it is ported into the dongle? In other words, if the code is ported inside the dongle, how to ensure that it will not be obtained by person/organization having ulterior motive?

The security of chip must be guaranteed

Obviously, you need a chip which security is guaranteed to “store and execute” the key code ported. The following is some important knowledge for the security of a smart card chip.

The characteristics of smart card chip

We may understand the smart card chip from the two popular points of views. First of all, the smart card chip is designed for the purpose of security, which is the most important consideration of such chip, and also the greatest difference compared with other conventional chips. Secondly, the smart card chip itself is a complete computer system; the hardware (chip) resource is very powerful. In terms of the hardware, one chip contains all components of the hardware architecture, for instance, CPU, RAM, ROM, EEPROM, BUS, etc.; the high end smart card chip also contains high performance cryptographic algorithm accelerator /coprocessor; in respect of software, the foremost is the COS (card operation system) and the applications running on COS. The structure of the entire smart card system is quite similar to the PC we are using: actually, a smart card chip is equal to a set of highly integrated mini PC.

Can any "smart card chip" guarantee the security?

The security of the smart card chip is actually guaranteed by the semiconductor manufacturers. The manufacturer shall guarantee the security of the chip during the whole process of design and manufacture. The security of the chips provided by different manufacturers varies a lot. Generally speaking, chips produced by manufacturers with greater strength are more reliable.

Regardless of the varieties of chips, the most possible attacks these chips will encounter mainly include the following:

  • Electronic attack (for instance, SPA and DPA);
  • Probe attack (for example, SiShell);
  • Dissection of chip;
  • Debug port.

The principle of the electronic attack technology (SPA and DPA) is: when a chip executes different operations, the corresponding energy consumption also varies accordingly. Special measuring apparatus and math statistics technology are used to examine and analyze these changes to obtain the specific key information from the chip.

Method of probe attack: make direct data access to and from memory or data bus through the connection of microprobe with the key parts inside the chip.

Dissection of chip: obtain the chip’s circuit logic and connection status through the use of scanning electron microscope and exert reverse engineering to the chip.

Debug port: directly read out the key information by activating the debug port of manufacturers.

Even a chip design expert might fail to confirm the security degree of the smart card chip if without enough information and special equipment of high sophistication and precision. Luckily, ISO has made explicit production and manufacture norm (ISO/IEC 10373, ISO/IEC 15408) for the security of the smart card chip, and stipulated specifically in the ISO/IEC 10373 the test requirement for smart card under ultraviolet radiation, X ray and electromagnetic field.

Based on these concrete norms, ISO has formulated the international criteria EAL (Evaluation Assurance Level) for the evaluation of the security product. EAL is divided into 1-7 grades, the higher of the grade, the securer it will be. The scientific and technical product with the highest grade of security in the world can only reach EAL5+ now.

The advanced NXP smart card chip SenseLock EL is now adopting has reached the highest grade in the global hi-tech sector at present: EAL 5+. We may therefore very confidently promise to our users that the core smart card chip SenseLock EL can completely stand up to the major means of attacks and guarantee the security of the product.

International smart card technologists hold that: for a chip that takes security instead of processing capacity as its core, if it fails to pass the certification of at least EAL3+ or above, the perfection and the security of the chip itself, and even the security management level of the designers or manufacturers would be quite doubtable.

Other special security functions of smart card chip

  • Self-locking capacity of the chip

    Access of the software to the chip will be first of all protected by PIN-code, the maximum attempts for it programmed by the COS developers. When illegal users launch dictionary attack, if the times of attempts exceeds the preset value, the chip may trigger off a self-locking and all the external operations on the chip will be blocked.

  • The global unique serial number

    The smart card chip we provide possesses a global unique S/N, which cannot be altered. This will put an end to the illegal use and enable the effective management on the released chips.

  • Hardware random number generator (white noise technology)

    Used for the generation of high dependability random number. Besides the requirement for the generation of secret key by symmetrical algorithm, the random number is used widely in the field of the security and encryption, the hardware with built-in high dependability random number generator is therefore of great importance to the security.

  • Hardware timer

    Timer is a necessary function for the typical software protection means such as time-limited usage, anti-tracking, etc. The hardware of SenseLock EL may provide a timer of more than 10 hours, which may easily realize the above requirement.

The security of chip is enough?

COS is the core of the entire smart card application. Without COS, the smart card cannot fulfill any function, as is in the case of the PC we use every day, which cannot work without an operation system.

Important reminder: the security of the chip is the foundation of the entire program, while the real hidden trouble or flaw of security is usually from COS!

The development of a secure COS is faced with great technical difficulty. Comprehensive evaluation should be conducted from the aspects of standardization, efficiency, whether "back door" is reserved, as well as maturity and so on.

Let’s take a view of the flaw of the security in the PC operation system and we will understand the above reminder. Therefore, to select a secure and stable COS it is crucially important to guarantee the reliability of the software. Criterion for the evaluation of COS security and performance:

Criteria 1: standard

The development of COS must strictly comply with the international smart card security criterion and rule (ISO7816). Security experts organized by ISO have finally formulated ISO7816 after many years of research. Only by strictly complying with the international criteria and rules formulated for the security, can the security of the product developed be guaranteed.

Without meeting the requirement of ISO7816 series criteria, even if a smart card chip is used as the carrier, the security of the so-called "COS" developed will not be guaranteed, and such COS will be no other than a conventional "firmware of dongle".

Criteria 2: efficiency and resource

The complexity and the quantity of code ported inside the dongle hardware have direct influence on the protection effect. To ensure the security after porting, the dongle must be: convenient for code porting, powerful in processing and with sufficient internal resource.

SenseLock EL adopts standard C language for programming, which is very convenient for code porting; in terms of processing performance, the design of the COS of SenseLock EL has been optimized and with outstanding performance (the realization of chip CPU and COS has the same important influence on the integrated performance. Just imagine the situation when Pentium IV is installed with DOS6.22); in terms of resource, SenseLock EL possesses the absolute advantage whether in respect of Ram or storage space.

As the resource and the hardware parameters are public data, it is easy to make a comparative judgment; while the best method to detect performance is to carry out practical test, for instance, make a test of the time required for 100,000 times of addition.

Criteria 3: maturity

Without doubt, for such high-end security product of great complexity as smart card dongle, the maturity of COS is a very crucial factor, and users might pay for the hidden trouble caused thereof.

Software developers may not have conditions to carry out the overall and systematic test of the COS system. The best method to test the maturity of an operation system is to see for how long it has undergone the trial and how many users are using it successfully.

Criteria 4: Independence

After all, COS is an operation system used for the security purpose, so, the less the number of people who know its details, the better. We promise that the COS of SenseLock EL is developed independently and without any outsourcing or OEM content.

Actually, Senselock EL can give you much more!

After the smart card technology is innovatively introduced into the software protection industry by Sense, the SenseLock EL dongle based on smart card technology not only can provide powerful encryption protection to the software, it can also bring along more brand new concepts of value in respect of software publishing, channel management, etc., and present you with more surprising experience!

Just like the case of your mobile phone, in which the phone had only the single function of communication before. The functions of a mobile phone nowadays, however, are extending almost endlessly, integrating Internet surfing, transaction of shares, games, personal digital assistant, etc, and becoming therefore a comprehensive information-processing tool. Those value added functions have endowed the mobile phones with more capabilities in addition to the single communication ability as in the earlier period and made the mobile phone turn into a new pet of the time, playing a more and more important role in the digital life of the people.

So, why SenseLock EL?

SenseLock EL is a device, perfectly suitable for building a reliable and functional software protection, that will be convenient for end user. While using it as a new way of protection, you will attract more customers, keeping your business safe against piracy. Software developers will be pleasantly surprised by support and easy integration, end users will be satisfied by design and easy to use and managers - by sales results.

By choosing SenseLock EL today you guarantee its safety and prosperity tomorrow.