Categories: Corporate

Continuity and Innovation @ Wibu-Systems

Wibu-Systems was founded in 1989 with the aim of developing simple and easy-to-use software protection systems. The idea was to protect intellectual property from reverse engineering and prevent illegal use of software, i.e., to provide copy protection and enable new business models.  Even then our Wibukey offered features which are not commonplace today such as single-user and network user capabilities on one stick, individual encryption of program functions, and software usage protected by customized licenses.

Today, 24 years later, its broad range of unique products and its philosophy of combining continuity with innovation has made Wibu-Systems one of the world’s most important solution providers:

  • Software-based activation
  • Smart card-based dongles with diverse interfaces
  • Web- and cloud-based license rollout with integration into sales processes. 

Areas of use range from mobile systems through industrial applications in embedded systems and PLCs to desktop PCs, servers and the cloud. No other market competitor offers so many products across such a broad range of categories. 

What does the term “continuity” mean to Wibu-Systems? 

  • Company: Managed by the owner, financially independent, stable vision; staff, suppliers and customers share a common philosophy of cooperation 
  • Staff: Same contact person over many years; continuous education and training in all areas; strong identification with the company, its products and goals
  • Development processes: Integrated into the QM system based on ISO 9001:2008; code metrics, daily builds, test driven development (partly using Scrum), professional product management, no outsourcing; design, development & production “Made in Germany”
  • Cooperations: R&D projects with universities, research institutes and other partners; involvement in standards committees such as USB IF, SDA, OPC; intensive participation in consortiums
  • Products: Long-term availability, high reliability, bill of materials (BOM), backwards compatible, upgradeable in the field, “Made in Germany”

Come on a journey through the history of Wibu-Systems’ most important innovations:


  • WibuKey: Single-user and network dongle, still available in 2013
  • Licensing of up to 240 individual software functions with a single dongle
  • Software encryption only once, individual licensing for all customers
  • WibuKey available as an ASIC


  • WibuKey with serial interface and available as a plug-in card
  • Automatic protection of Windows and DOS applications without modifications to the source code
  • WibuKey dongles with FEAL algorithm from NTT in Japan, backwards compatible with V1 from 1989
  • 4 billion different encryptions per license entry


  • WibuBox/M in PCMCIA card format


  • New award-winning WibuBox/P housing
  • Encryption of individual functions (AXAN, known today as IxProtector)


  • Wibu-Systems receives ISO 9001 certification


  • WibuBox/U with USB interface



Launch of CodeMeter with groundbreaking features:

  • Highest level security with smart card chips at its heart
  • Use of AES-128, ECC-224, RSA-1024, SHA-256 standard encryption methods, all usable via API
  • Large 64 KB license and data memory, space for more than 1,000 individually licensed functions
  • Internal tamper-proof clock in the CodeMeter dongle
  • Driverless: Mass storage communication used
  • Firmware update possible i.e. customer has access to revisions and new functions without sending in hardware
  • Development tools simultaneously support WibuKey and CodeMeter


  • AxProtector for automatic software protection without changing the source code, for native code running on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux as well as Java and .NET, for CodeMeter and WibuKey in a protected application
  • All WibuBoxes with 16 KB memory and FEAL-32 with 64-bit keys (export restrictions loosened, compatible with V1 from 1989 and V2 from 1990)
  • CmStick wins iF Design Award
  • First CmStick/M, dongle with flash disk



  • Launch of CodeMeter License Central for generating, managing and shipping licenses
  • Flexible license borrowing for all combinations of dongle and CmActLicense


  • Larger license and data memory (384 KB) allowing up to 6,000 individually licensed functions
  • CmCards in µSD, SD and CF format with up to 16 GB flash memory for industrial applications
  • Support of embedded operating system e.g. Wind River VxWorks


  • Launch of CmStick/C, the world’s smallest USB CodeMeter stick
  • Launch of CmStick/T with uninterruptible clock


  • 2048-bit RSA key
  • CmSticks in USB format, quick swap between HID and mass storage communication
  • Support of CODESYS IEC61131 development environment

Today in 2013, market competitors are presenting some of our innovations from 1989 as “new and unique.” If you’re in the process of looking for a new licensing solution, check us out first.  

Benefits of partnership with Wibu-Systems:

  • Safe investment: Protection solutions with long-term availability
  • Future-proof: Ongoing hardware and software innovations, retrofits and updates possible
  • Focus on software licensing and protection: Clear objective to address a niche market across the board from mobile systems through embedded system, PLCs, industrial PCs, desktop PCs and servers, to the cloud
  • Trust: Constant contact person in an owner-managed and financially independent company with stable visions and goals
  • Partnership: Collaboration in R&D, open to new ideas
  • Made in Germany: Design, development and production with partners in Germany and local support worldwide  


KEYnote 25 – Edition Spring 2013

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