A hardware key to secure your passwords was something beyond our acceptance. It was drilled into our minds that two-factor authentication is your last resort to protect passwords for Google services, social media accounts, file hosting services, etc. However, Yubico and Google have challenged this established notion and come up with a security key, which is not software.
YubiKey is a hardware security key, which you can carry with you like any other key. This product eliminates the need to remember all passwords; a single key ensures quick access to all the services you use in a day. Until now, two-factor authentication has been glorified for its security. YubiKey provides an extra layer of protection to your online accounts.
Two-factor authentication is undoubtedly a savior, but it requires your smartphone every time you need to access your accounts. This is inconvenient; moreover, if your phone is damaged or breached, you cannot enter the authentication code to log in. YubiKey removes your reliance on two-factor authentication. However, you need to set up this authentication to use YubiKey.
YubiKey: A Security Protocol
As mentioned above, two-factor authentication expects users to enter the code. YubiKey security key, based on FIDO U2F, creates a security protocol that is difficult to intercept. Initially, it was developed by Google and Yubico; now, it is hosted by FIDO Alliance.
You can connect YubiKey with your Windows and Mac computers using USB-A, USB-C, or Bluetooth. The key (and other Yubico products) is small enough to attach with your keychain or store in a wallet.
How YubiKey works?
YubiKey works with a host of applications. With this single key, you can secure all your accounts online. The idea is to create a passwordless world, where a physical token enables you to log in without entering any authentication code.
Since it works with many platforms, each one takes a different process. On your computer, you need to insert this key and follow the instructions. You can connect this key with your mobile phone via NFC. Before you go ahead, you may like to visit this set-up guide.
On the key, you can see a gold button, and you need to press that button. The key knows you are trying to access a specific website; when the browser issues a challenge, this key cryptographically signs and allows the challenge, and then logs you in to that website or service.
IMPORTANT: You need to register your YubiKey even as you have set up two-factor authentication on your accounts.
Works with multiple applications
YubiKey is made in the USA and Sweden. When you visit the website, check the Get Started page, and you will find all the notable applications with which YubiKey works. The page shows Google, Twitter, Facebook, Windows, macOS, Dropbox, AWS, Linux, GitHub, and more.
YubiKey does not work with iPhones; the key is compatible with NFC-enabled Android phones only. To complete authentication, you need to tap YubiKey NEO against the phone.
That’s all folks!
Where is your YubiKey?
When a single key enables you to log in multiple accounts, it is a good deal. YubiKey is a great tool to reduce the over-reliance on passwords. You can leave your desktop computer or laptop unattended in your office; just remove the key, and you can roam around, attend meetings, take lunch, and enjoy your break time. On returning to your desk, insert YubiKey in your system and enjoy quick access to the digital world.
You may also like to explore:
- How to Set up Two-Factor Authentication for Facebook
- How to Set up Two-Step Verification for Gmail on iPhone or iPad
- Best Security Apps for iPhone and iPad
Would you like to buy YubiKey 5 NFC? Share your feedback with us in comments.