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Click here for Wookieepedia's article on the Canon version of this subject.  This article covers the Legends version of this subject. 

A transponder code was a signal burned into the starship's sublight engines that transmitted the ship's name, type, owner, and other pertinent data. For most of the galaxy's history, the Bureau of Ships and Services issued and tracked transponder codes.

History[]

In use since the beginning of spacefaring societies, transponder codes could be duplicated or removed, though the procedures involved were difficult, expensive, and highly illegal. Ships without transponder codes could not travel in civilized systems without attracting intense scrutiny.

When she visited Nar Shaddaa in 3951 BBY, the Jedi Exile had the Sullustan mechanic Tien Tubb changed the transponder code of the Ebon Hawk.

Some starships, like the Millennium Falcon, had multiple transponder codes that allowed the ship to have multiple identities.

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