The challenge of remote access
to USB tokens
Probably the most common problem you may face working with USB security keys is the inability to forward them to a virtual environment. By default, most virtual machines do not provide access to the functionality and contents of devices attached to the host machine. So, you’ll need to find a way to duplicate your device to share it between your guests and host OSes.
Certain difficulties may also appear if you try to provide access to the same USB token for multiple users over the network. If there’s token based authentication in your company and you need to share, let’s say, a bank token among several team members, you’re most likely to need a dedicated third-party tool to help you copy the device to remote computers.
Access security tokens remotely
Here are several methods to share USB security tokens using a software solution.
Donglify uses advanced port virtualization technology to allow you to share a security key. By virtually emulating the USB security token, the tool lets you share it with any network-attached computer.
There are two different ways that Donglify can be used.
- The tool can be used to access any type of USB security key from a single remote computer.
- A multiconnect option is available that enables you to share a USB token over the network with multiple machines at the same time. Currently this feature can be used with SafeNet eToken 5110, HASP HL Pro, CodeMeter CmStick, Sentinel HL Pro, and Sentinel UltraPro dongles.
Use this simple procedure to remotely access a USB security key with Donglify.
- Create a personal account at the Donglify website.
- Download the USB token sharing software on all computers that will be involved in sharing the dongle. This includes the machine that is physically attached to the security key (the server) as well as all PCs that will access it remotely.
- When installation is complete, launch the app on the server and log in with your account credentials. You will be presented with a new window. Click “Plus” in the window to display the USB security keys that are available to be cloned.
- Select the device you wish to share by checking its radio button and clicking “Share”.
- Start Donglify on a remote machine and use the same account credentials to log in.
- Locate the required USB dongle in the software’s interface and click “Connect”. This establishes the connection with the security key which will be recognized and visible on the remote machine.
Once Donglify has been used to share a security token, multiple remote computers can access the virtual copies simultaneously. Just launch the software and click “Connect” on the client computers to share the security key over your network.
After communication with the shared USB token is established, the device will be accessible through Device Manager just like it was physically connected to the machine. Donglify employs advanced encryption techniques to protect data transferred across the network, giving you peace of mind that your communication is secure.
Flexihub is another software with features similar to those of Donglify. You can use it to share a security key remotely, but the tool does not offer the ability to establish multiple connections with the same device.
Follow these easy steps to use FlexiHub:
- Open a FlexiHub account that enables you to enjoy a free trial with which you can connect to remote USB devices.
- Download and install FlexiHub on all of the computers that will share the dongle remotely.
- Start FlexiHub on a remote machine and sign in with the same account name and password.
- Locate the shared dongle using the software interface on the remote machine and establish a connection.
USB Network Gate
USB Network Gate enables you to share a security token with one remote machine at a time. A nice feature of the software is the ability to see which machine is currently connected to a USB device. This can be very useful if you have forgotten to disconnect the dongle from another computer.
Here’s how to easily access a remote USB token using USB Network Gate:
- Download the software and install it on the ‘Server’ computer (the machine, to which the token is physically attached) as well as on the ‘Client’ PC that needs to get remote access to the security token.
- Start the app on the Server, find the device in the software interface, and click ‘Share’ next to it.
- Launch USB Network Gate on the Client computer, find the token in the Remote devices tab and click “Connect”.
Once done, you’ll see the remote USB token in the Device Manager of your computer as if it were connected locally. And, most importantly, you don’t need to worry about the security of data transferred with USB Network Gate. The software uses the advanced traffic encryption, which reliably protects all user data transported over the network.
Types of security tokens
The main functionality of all security tokens is basically the same. Every token provides some kind of authentication code that allows users to access a particular service like an online bank account, etc. However, security keys may differ in the means they use for generating those authentication codes.
Static password tokens
The simplest type of security tokens is static password tokens which store the secret code inside the device and release it any time the user asks for it. It seems clear that you won’t get a high level of security with the keys of this sort.
As their name indicates, time-synchronized tokens generate a password based on the time. The timer they contain is synchronized with another timer, working on the authentication server-side. This allows changing passwords generated by the tokens at a set time interval, for example, every 3 minutes.
The mission of asynchronous tokens is to generate passwords that are unpredictable to guess, even if all the previously generated passwords are known. Those passwords change every time they are generated.