What happens if you press your YubiKey. Yes, this happens so often that we have a custom emoji for it. These codes are generated by OTP, which is one of the protocols that your YubiKey uses to connect to servers. You could stop this from happening altogether by turning off OTP, but that might break your ability to log in to some services. I think, for most users, it’s better to configure OTP to not trigger unless you hold the button for three seconds. This is a little complicated, but doable. YubiKey offers instructions for fixing this, but they’re kind of hard to follow, so here’s a summary.
In some cases, experts suggest, programs and security keys that use open-source software, which allows anyone to review the program’s code, are more secure. All Yubico keys are closed source, but the company has built trust around its security practices in other ways, including internal and third-party security assessments of its code for every major release. When Yubico had a vulnerability in its YubiKey FIPS Series of keys (used by government agencies) in June 2019, the company replaced affected devices. It also proactively lists security advisories and mitigations on its website.
You can also configure a YubiKey 5 key to work as a PIV-compatible smart card, generate or store one-time passcodes (the YubiKey 5C NFC supports Yubico OTP, OATH-HOTP, and TOTP), or simply have it spit out a static password on command. The YubiKey 5 series works with OpenPGP(Opens in a new window), too, though actually using PGP is an involved process. The key has a few even more esoteric tricks(Opens in a new window) up its sleeve, too.
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What does a YubiKey do?
What Is It? The YubiKey—like other, similar devices—is a small metal and plastic key about the size of a USB stick. They plug into your computer, and some also connect to your phone. You can use them in either place, along with your password, to authenticate web logins
What is a YubiKey and how does it work?
The YubiKey is a device that makes two-factor authentication as simple as possible. Instead of a code being texted to you, or generated by an app on your phone, you press a button on your YubiKey. That’s it. Each device has a unique code built on to it, which is used to generate codes that help confirm your identity.
What is YubiKey on iPhone?
The YubiKey 5Ci allows for direct connection to iOS/iPadOS devices with a Lightning port. Some models that use this port include (but are not limited to) iPhone SE, iPhone 7, iPhone 8, iPhone X, and most modern iPads (not including the newest iPad Pro, which uses a USB-C port)
Is YubiKey safe?
Yes. Hardware-based 2FA security. The YubiKey 5 NFC ($45) is a thin but sturdy device that fits in a standard USB Type-A port and also supports NFC connections. … Primarily because hardware-based keys are significantly more secure than SMS- and software-based options.
How long does a YubiKey last?
The internals of the YubiKey’s security algorithms currently limits each key to 30+ years of usage. The Yubikey is powered by the USB port and therefore requires no battery and there is no display on it that can break. The key itself will survive years of daily use.
Does YubiKey need Internet?
Unlike other 2FA, YubiKeys store no data, no network connection, and don’t run on software.
What happens if someone steals your YubiKey?
YubiRevoke is a free revoke service. The service prevents potential misuse of YubiKeys in case they are lost or stolen, and we recommend customers create a YubiRevoke account and enroll their YubiKeys as soon as they are received.
Who uses YubiKey?
YubiKey also allows for storing static passwords for use at sites that do not support one-time passwords. Both Google and Facebook use YubiKey devices to secure employee accounts as well as end user accounts. Some password managers support YubiKey.
Are YubiKeys worth it?
The YubiKey 5 Series is worth the high price because it’s compatible with more services than other keys and adds nice-to-have extras. … None of the other keys we tested, including Yubico’s cheaper Security Keys, have this functionality.
Is YubiKey a password manager?
The solution: YubiKey + password manager. Using a password manager application is the best way to create and maintain unique and strong passwords for all your account logins, and protecting your password manager with a YubiKey is the most secure way to manage multiple digital credentials.
Can a YubiKey be copied?
For security, the firmware on the YubiKey does not allow for secrets to be read from the device after they have been written to the device. Therefore you cannot duplicate or back up a YubiKey or Security Key.
Is YubiKey NFC secure?
NFC-ENABLED: Also get touch-based authentication for NFC supported Android and iOS devices and applications. Just tap & go! DURABLE AND SECURE: Extremely secure and durable, YubiKeys are tamper resistant, water resistant, and crush resistant.
Does YubiKey work with banks?
Many Bank of America online banking users that have a YubiKey, can now register their security key for account sign-in two-factor authentication (2FA) as well as setting up the Secured Transfer feature to add an extra layer of physical security to their online account.
Does YubiKey store data?
Each function on the YubiKey can only accept and store data in the proper format for securely authenticating with the various supported validation protocols. All loaded information is stored in the secured EEPROM in the memory space allocated with the applications utilizing the data.
What can I use YubiKey for?
The YubiKey is a device that makes two-factor authentication as simple as possible. Instead of a code being texted to you, or generated by an app on your phone, you press a button on your YubiKey. That’s it. Each device has a unique code built on to it, which is used to generate codes that help confirm your identity.
Where can buy Yubikey?
Vaultumcity distribute Yubikeys around the world. You can order Yubikeys online at https://vaultumcity.com , we deliver Yubikeys to your door, free of shipping charge.
Beyond the Key. The “key” selling point of the YubiKey 5 series is the range of authentication actions these devices can perform. For example: Yubico has deployed an ingenious way to integrate YubiKey 4 and 5 series devices with a one-time-code-generating authenticator app. You can use this with any site that supports Google Authenticator (specifically, OATH-TOTP) to generate one-time use passcodes every 30 seconds. Instead of storing the information to generate these codes on your phone, the Yubico Authenticator app stores the data in the YubiKey’s secure element.
Most of us use password authentication in our day-to-day lives, which is something you know. Something you are could include biometrics, like a fingerprint scan. A hardware authenticator like a Yubico YubiKey is something you have. Using at least two of these means you’re using multifactor authentication. Two-factor authentication, sometimes abbreviated as 2FA, is the most common form of multifactor authentication you’re likely to encounter. As you might guess, 2FA requires you to use two factors in order to get access to whatever it’s protecting.
Register your YubiKey. To use the YubiKey, go to the Security Settings of a supported service and select two-factor authentication.
Security keys aren’t perfect. One research paper (PDF) showed how a hacker could clone some security keys, making it so that they could theoretically log in to any accounts protected by the original key. The attack requires physical access to the key, about $12,000 worth of equipment, and at least 10 hours, but it illustrates how even the most secure products can have issues. The researchers performed their attack on the Google Titan key but note in their paper that other hardware using the same chip may also be vulnerable; that group includes an older Yubico model, the YubiKey Neo, and several keys made by Feitian.
“People do a lot of campaigns around phishing education and around teaching people to be careful about the URL bar in the browser, but it turns out we’re human,” said Yubico’s chief engineering officer, Christopher Harrell. “We have other priorities, and our attention is limited.” Security keys do the heavy lifting of making sure the sites you’re trying to log in to are authentic, so you don’t have to be as meticulous about noticing anything off. As an example, Porter noted that a lot of people mindlessly tap through “Did you sign in?” push notifications on their phones even when they shouldn’t, an issue that wouldn’t come up if they were logging in using a security key.
Determining which 5 Series key is best for you depends on which devices you own. Yubico provides a quiz to help you find the right key, but the breakdown goes something like this: YubiKey 5 NFC (also available in non-NFC nano form): The YubiKey 5 NFC has a USB-A plug and near-field communication (NFC) support, so you can use it for NFC-enabled devices such as most smartphones. Although we didn’t test nano-size keys for this guide, those models are better if you want to leave your key in the USB port of your computer. YubiKey 5C (also available in nano form): The USB-C–only design is compatible with Android phones as well as some newer tablets, desktop computers, and laptops. It is not compatible with iPhones.
YubiKey 5C NFC: With USB-C and NFC, this model is a good option if your computer has a USB-C port and you don’t need a Lightning connector. It works with most newer desktop computers and laptops, with some tablets (including several iPad models), and with Android and iPhone (over NFC).
YubiKey 5Ci: The 5Ci has two different sides, a USB-C connector and a Lightning connector, the latter of which is used by most Apple mobile devices. So this key is best for people reliant on Apple hardware, including iPhones, iPads, and laptops, though we preferred using the NFC keys over fiddling with this one; it’s still a good option if you have an iPad model with a Lightning port.
The 5 Series offers more port options and combinations than the selection from every other company, including Yubico’s less expensive Security Key line and Google’s Titan Security Keys, which don’t have a Lightning-port option for iPhone owners and instead rely on NFC. Although the 5 Series has wider compatibility with smartphone ports than other options, it still suffers from the same seemingly random quirks of the Yubico Security Keys. But even so, the 5 Series supports multiple protocols, including FIDO2, U2F, PIV, Yubico OTP, and OATH HOTP, which helps ensure that it’s compatible with as many services as possible in the future.
Supply-chain security is a long-running concern for Yubico, which boasts that its devices are manufactured in either the US or Sweden. The implication is that it’s not made in China, which either may be a smart move for security or little more than marketing, depending on who you talk to. As a security precaution, YubiKey firmware is not upgradable(Opens in a new window). This protects against attack, but it also means that anyone interested in hacking YubiKey to add custom capabilities will likely be stymied.
What Is Multifactor Authentication? The term “multifactor authentication” comes from the idea that there are three ways to prove who you are by presenting at least one of the following: Something you know, something you have, or something you are.
Tap on phone. For NFC-enabled phones, just tap your NFC-enabled YubiKey against the phone to complete authentication.
The Yubico Security Keys meet FIDO2 standards and support U2F, WebAuthn, and CTAP 1 and 2, which makes them compatible with most web services that support security keys, including more forward-looking features such as Microsoft’s passwordless login. The standard Security Keys don’t offer some of the options for super-technical folks who might want to, say, put a GPG key in hardware, or for enterprise users who want a key that works with PIV smart cards for Active Directory, or for SSH or S/MIME. If you aren’t familiar with those terms, you’re unlikely to miss the advanced features of the more expensive 5 Series.
The Yubico Security Key can handle the majority of online accounts most people need, but the 5 Series supports a few protocols for most advanced uses.
In order to use any security key, you have to set it up and pair it with each individual online account. Setup on an account takes only a couple of minutes, but finding the right place to do so can require some detective work. Helpfully, Yubico’s documentation is extensive: In addition to a setup page, Yubico has videos and links to instructions for services that you might want to use your security key with, including a list (with visuals) of which key works with the program, information on security-protocol support, desktop and laptop platform support, mobile support, browser support, and any special offers. This documentation is far more comprehensive than what we’ve seen from the competition.
Security in a Major Key. Yubico’s YubiKey 5C NFC does just about everything that you could possibly want a multifactor key to do. It has a lengthy list of capabilities, but it also supports the simple tap-to-authenticate system and does so without a steep learning curve. The 5C NFC’s ability to store TOTP data is handy, but perhaps too limited. It’s nearly indestructible, and everywhere it works, it works perfectly. The best features of the YubiKey 5C NFC are its eponymous USB-C connector and NFC capabilities, which lets it communicate with just about any combination of devices you may have.
If you’re new to multi-factor authentication, here’s how the typical new-login process works when you’ve registered a security key with a website or app:
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The YubiKey is a device that makes two-factor authentication as simple as possible. Instead of a code being texted to you, or generated by an app on your phone, you press a button on your YubiKey. That’s it. Each device has a unique code built on to it, which is used to generate codes that help confirm your identity. Press the button and you can log in.
The Yubico YubiKey 5 Series supports a wider array of security protocols than the Security Key series, which makes it compatible with more online accounts. Compared with nearly every other security key, the 5 Series also offers more connection options, including USB-A, USB-C, USB-C with NFC, and a dual-headed USB-C and Lightning-port model. They also come as thumbnail-sized nano keys meant to live in your computer more permanently, in contrast to the standard key shape, which sticks out of the port. Over years of testing, they’ve proven to be as durable as the Security Keys, and they have the same excellent documentation. The YubiKey 5 Series models can be more than twice the price of the Yubico Security Keys, but their robust compatibility with more devices and accounts makes them worth the higher price.
What is a YubiKey and how does it work? It doesn’t matter how computer-literate you are, or how much you value security—something about the YubiKey just feels confusing. But it doesn’t have to.
Although security keys are more secure than authenticator apps, they’re not the best choice for people who tend to lose things. Most people should have at least two security keys: one for everyday use and a backup key that can stay somewhere secure, such as in a safe, if you lose your everyday key. Some people may want additional keys for different devices.
A good password manager is the first step to online security, but not the last. When two-factor authentication (2FA) is available, you should use that with your online accounts, too. While the most familiar form of 2FA is a one-time-use code texted to your phone, the most secure version is a physical security key that serves that purpose instead. With a security key, nobody can get into the accounts where you set it up unless they have both your password and physical access to the key. The Yubico Security Key, which is available for both USB-A and USB-C ports, has the best combination of compatibility, usability, and security of any key we tested.
Stop account Takeovers. YubiKeys are trusted by the world’s largest companies and users have experienced 0 account takeovers.
A YubiKey is required to access many of ‘s internal tools, so I’ve finally gotten around to learning how to use one. I’m glad I did—here’s why, and how you can set one up too.
Security keys can be tricky to set up, so people without the patience to do so should stick to authenticator apps. But once security keys are set up and in actual use, we’ve found them to be much easier to use in practice than authenticator apps because there’s no wonky copy and pasting required, nor is it necessary to scroll through codes to find the one you’re looking for.
The best security key for most people is the Yubico Security Key, which comes in two forms: the Yubico Security Key NFC (USB-A) and the Yubico Security Key C NFC (USB-C). These security keys work with most devices, including phones and laptops. They feature all the security protocols necessary to work with a wide array of web services that most people use, including 1Password, Bitwarden, Google, Microsoft, and plenty more. Yubico’s documentation and support is the best we’ve seen, and the keys have proven durable over years of testing. Priced under $30, they’re affordable enough that you can buy a couple (which we recommend, so you have a backup) without spending too much, especially considering there’s no reason they won’t last for many years.
Easy to migrate. Did you get a new computer? Just unplug your YubiKey from the old one, plug it into the new one, and you can log in to all of your apps, same as before. You can also use one key to log in to your account on multiple computers. I’ve found the process to be much easier than migrating other 2FA. Really hard to hack. It’s relatively easy for hackers to compromise your email or SMS. It’s a lot harder—close to impossible with current technology—to fake the codes generated by a unique hardware device. Again, there’s a lot more nuance here, but these are the broad advantages of the YubiKey over other forms of 2FA.
Is accidentally triggering my YubiKey in a chat room really bad? If you accidentally paste a code into something like Slack or a text editor, that’s not a reason to immediately panic—it’s not completely obvious who it belongs to or what it can be used to log in to (and, if you posted it on Slack, hopefully your coworkers aren’t trying to hack you).. Having said that, there’s always a chance a leaked 2FA code could enable a particularly creative hacker, so you don’t want to make a habit out of this. You’re also not helpless if it happens. Every YubiKey code is unique, and becomes invalid every time you use the device to log in to something. You can manually invalidate codes, if you’re worried. Just head to this website and paste the leaked code there. People accidentally post YubiKey codes …a lot. It’s an internal meme at this point. It’s funny, and probably harmless, but our security team set up an automated system to invalidate all such codes just in case. You can set it up if you want—click here to get started.
Why should I use YubiKey?
A YubiKey is considered to be one of the most secure tools for two-factor authentication. The passcode can be used for sign-in, depositing or withdrawing funds from your account or as a Master Key.
Why is YubiKey expensive?
It is costly to design, mould, manufacture, sell and support a hardware product, even something as small as this. Since you don’t want your 2FA company to go out of business there is good value in knowing they have a stable business model that can actually support a company rather than just burning capital.
Can I use YubiKey for multiple accounts?
Can I use one YubiKey with multiple devices? Yes! Just plug your YubiKey into any computer and log in the way you normally would. That’s really it—you’ll be able to log in to all of your accounts, same as before.
Proven security at scale. Enabling multifactor authentication is the single best thing you can do to prevent attackers from taking over your online accounts. Hardware multifactor keys like the Yubico YubiKey 5C NFC provide all the security of competing systems, but they do so without moving parts, batteries, or an internet connection. The 5C NFC also has a variety of authentication capabilities and will work with just about any recent device you own.
How to set up your YubiKey. Setting up your YubiKey isn’t that different from setting up app-based two-factor authentication. If you’re actually using a YubiKey (not another hardware authenticator), here’s what you need to do: Plug in your YubiKey. Head to Yubico.com/setup and click your device. Browse the list of supported apps and find what you want to secure. Follow the instructions. How this works is going to vary from app to app, but I’ll use Google as an example. Follow the instruction for Google, and you’ll find a link with instructions for adding your YubiKey to your Google account, which offers a link for adding your key.
How to set up and use a security key. To set up your security key, it’s best to start on a laptop or desktop, as some mobile apps won’t allow you to register a hardware key to your account on your phone. Once you register a key on your computer, it should simply work with your phone. As an example, here is how to set up a key with our favorite password manager, 1Password. The process is the same for any security key an app supports:
Why is a YubiKey better than other 2FA? We’ve gone over this a little, but let’s talk about why a YubiKey (and similar devices) is better than other forms of 2FA. To name a few: Convenience. SMS, email, and authentication apps all require that you copy and paste, or manually enter, a code. With the YubiKey, you just press a button on a device attached to your computer. Much longer codes. Other 2FA methods typically only send you a six-digit code to confirm your identity, basically because it would be unreasonable to expect humans to type much more than that. YubiKeys don’t ask you to manually type a code, so they’re free to use much longer codes. That’s more secure.
Easy to Setup and Support. It’s as easy as USB! Access your accounts 4x faster than other 2FA, and cut support calls by 92%
Each Security Key model fits either a USB-A or USB-C port, and most phones support NFC, so the keys should work fine for most devices. Get whichever key fits into the port on your computer. If you need more options, such as Lightning for a physical connection to an iPhone (or certain models of iPad), or if you want thumbnail-sized keys that don’t stick out, go with the YubiKey 5 Series.
Support on mobile devices has expanded over the past few years, but we still encountered quirks with keys on both Android and iOS; for example, on both platforms, you can use a key to log in to Dropbox from your smartphone’s browser, but not the Dropbox app. We’ve seen improvements in other apps, though, such as Facebook, which now fully supports keys in its mobile apps, and Twitter, which will soon allow you to log in with just the key, no password needed. To compound the confusion, some apps and services might support a key when it’s plugged in but not over NFC. These sorts of mismatches can be annoying, especially considering that even when NFC is supported, you still have to hold the key close to your phone and cross your fingers in hopes that it registers. If you really dislike futzing around with NFC, the YubiKey 5 Series may be a better option.
Yubico Security Key NFC (USB-A/NFC). Yubico Security Key C NFC (USB-C/NFC). YubiKey 5 NFC (USB-A/NFC). YubiKey 5C NFC (USB-C/NFC) . YubiKey 5Ci (USB-C/Lightning). YubiKey 5 Nano (USB-A)
YubiKey 5C (USB-C). YubiKey 5C Nano (USB-C). Even if you opt for a YubiKey as your primary key, consider one of the Security Key models as your backup to cut down on the cost. Prices are accurate as of November 16, 2021.
Although some of the extras in the YubiKey 5 Series aren’t things most people are likely to need every day, they are nice to have for anyone seeking the highest level of security. Most notably, the 5 Series can generate time-based one-time passcodes for up to 32 accounts, similar to how the Authy and Authenticator mobile apps work, but the credentials are stored on the key. This feature requires downloading the Yubico Authenticator app, and it works with services that support other authentication apps such as Authy. When you run into a site with software authentication but not key support, you can store those codes on the key. The Yubico app will then display those codes only if the key is connected, so even if someone managed to get your phone, they’d still need the key to access the authentication codes. None of the other keys we tested, including those in Yubico’s cheaper Security Key line, have this functionality. But using this feature puts the onus on you to save all the two-factor backup codes or to store credentials on a second key, so make sure you’re comfortable doing so.
The YubiKey supports one-time passcodes (OTP). OTP supports protocols where a single use code is entered to provide authentication. These protocols tend to be older and more widely supported in legacy applications. The YubiKey communicates via the HID keyboard interface, sending output as a series of keystrokes. This means OTP protocols can work across all OSs and environments that support USB keyboards, as well as with any app that can accept keyboard input.
Purpose-built for Security. Unlike other 2FA, YubiKeys store no data, no network connection, and don’t run on software.
Experience passwordless authentication with FIDO2. FIDO2 is the passwordless evolution of FIDO U2F. The overall objective for FIDO2 is to provide an extended set of functionality to cover additional use cases, with the main driver being passwordless login flows. The U2F model is still the basis for FIDO2 and compatibility for existing U2F deployments is provided in the FIDO2 specs.
Log on to your 1Password account from your browser > Click your profile in the top right and select My Profile > Click More actions and select Two-Factor Authentication. > Select Add Security Key, name the key, and click Next. > When prompted, insert your security key and tap the button or gold disk. > You should see a notice saying “Your security key was registered.” > When you’re done, repeat the process with your backup key. You should also set up an authenticator app such as Authy if you haven’t already, in case you run into an instance where you can’t use your key on a mobile device. The process is more or less the same for other supported services. Once the key is enabled, it should work automatically with your smartphone if the two have a physical connection. On Android and iPhone handsets, you can log in using an NFC key by holding it to the back of your phone until the phone stops buzzing.
We recommend having at least one backup security key to use in case you lose your main one. With most services, you can register multiple keys, which you should do in advance; that way, if you lose your main key, you can log in with a backup. If you don’t have a backup, in some cases you could be locked out of an account. Different sites have different recovery mechanisms, including authenticator apps, SMS-based recovery keys, and backup codes (one-time recovery codes you can store somewhere).
Our delivers are from Singapore, distribute globally. Buying Yubikey in Vaultum to have best customer and after sales services. All Yubikeys sold at Vaultumcity are quality guaranteed. Please place a large amount order to have great discount for reseller.
Four security keys side by side that we tested to find the best security keys.
Looking at a Security Key and a 5 Series key next to each other, most people wouldn’t know the difference between them.
The YubiKey 5 Series is more expensive than competitors, and some versions are twice as expensive as the basic Yubico Security Key. But for many people, it’s worth the high price because it’s future-proof and it adds nice-to-have extras.
Multi-protocol security key secures modern and legacy systems. The YubiKey supports WebAuthn/FIDO2, FIDO U2F, one-time password (OTP), OpenPGP 3, and smart card authentication offering a solution that bridges legacy and modern applications. Yubico and the YubiKey will continue to grow with your evolving business needs.
If you’re looking for extra features and you’re comfortable tinkering around with more advanced settings in web apps, get a key in the Yubico YubiKey 5 Series. The 5 Series encompasses several models and is thus compatible with more devices than any other key, including Yubico’s Security Key line. The 5 Series has the same excellent Yubico video walk-throughs and setup instructions, and the keys themselves are portable and durable, though they cost nearly twice as much as our main pick.
What if I lose my YubiKey? It’s not great. Without your YubiKey you probably won’t be able to log in. But there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk. Most services that support 2FA (including YubiKey) allow you to create backup codes. Make sure you do this, and that you keep the codes somewhere secure—ideally offline. Consider printing them and putting them in a lockbox, if you can. You could also add some other kind of 2FA to any service you set up with your YubiKey, as a fallback. This could be app-based verification, or you could buy a second YubiKey, add it as an option for all of your services, then store it somewhere safe (a different lockbox than the one your backup codes are in, maybe?). If you don’t have backup codes or a second 2FA method, and have already lost your YubiKey, you’re not necessarily out of luck. Most services that offer 2FA have some kind of verification process for logging in after losing your credentials, but be warned: it’s going to take a while, and it’s going to be a lot of trouble. It’s far better to be prepared, so make sure you have backup codes somewhere secure or a second 2FA method set up. Also: make sure to remove your lost YubiKey as a 2FA method after you regain access to your account. Odds are whoever finds your YubiKey won’t know which accounts it provides access to, but better safe than sorry. To clarify: your Yubikey doesn’t store identifiable usernames and does not store any of your passwords. Anyone who finds your YubiKey would have absolutely no way of knowing which accounts it can log in to. This changes a little if the person who “finds” it knows it’s yours—say because they stole it from your house or office. But anyone who finds a YubiKey on the street, or in an airport, won’t be able to figure out whose key it is.
To get started, download YubiKey manager on your computer. Install it, open the program, hover over Applications and click OTP. YubiKey Manager : You should see two slots for OTP: the Short Touch, in Slot 1, and Long Touch, in Slot 2. Click the Swap button, so that OTP shows up in Slot 2. Like this: YubiKey swap OTP slots. In some cases it won’t be this simple, but only if you’ve configured Slot 2 for some other purpose. You can read more on the YubiKey website if that’s you.
A single YubiKey has multiple functions for securing your login to email, online services, apps, computers, and even physical spaces. Use any YubiKey feature, or use them all. The versatile YubiKey requires no software installation or battery so just plug it into a USB port and touch the button, or tap-n-go using NFC for secure authentication.
The advantage of multifactor authentication is that it’s much harder for an attacker to have access to multiple factors at the same time. A bad guy trying to take over your account can easily download stolen login credentials, but it’s much harder for that same bad guy to also steal your fingerprint or your YubiKey or your mobile device. The numbers bear this out, too. When Google started requiring employees to use hardware multifactor keys, account takeovers effectively dropped to zero. Recently, Twitter declared(Opens in a new window), “While any form of 2FA is better than no 2FA, physical security keys are the most effective.”
Yubico has videos and links to instructions for services that you might want to use your security key with, including a list (with visuals) of which key works with the program.
Flaws but not dealbreakers. For the most part, we found the experience of using a security key on both Windows and Mac laptops straightforward, but compatibility issues still affect certain browsers, and some software does not support keys directly, so you too might run into issues.
On a day-to-day basis, you may not be required to use your hardware key all that often. Services often consider different risk factors to determine whether to require it. Some sites may ask you to insert it when you’re managing what kind of authentication you’re using, while others may ask you to use your key only when you’re logging in from a new computer.
Security protocols: Since hardware keys are a security item, we dug into each company’s track record on previous recalls and looked at whether the company had a coordinated vulnerability-disclosure program to allow security researchers to report bugs.
Future-proof support for multiple standards: We focused on keys supporting the newest set of specifications, such as FIDO2. This means that they support more applications and websites, and it suggests that they are less likely to need replacing. Security keys typically have no moving parts and are durable, so you’ll probably use the same keys for many years.
Consistency and compatibility: We looked for security keys that worked as consistently as possible with each of the services we tested them with. We preferred security keys that came with a variety of connection options so they could work on both Android and iOS, as well as both Windows and macOS computers.
Setup and user experience: We wanted security keys that were easy to set up and use.
Customer support: We looked at the types of support each company offered, as well as how much documentation was available on its website both for setting up keys and for troubleshooting. We preferred companies that were well known and had been around for a while, an indicator of continued support in the future.
Portability and durability: We put the keys we tested through the type of wear and tear that can be expected over a normal day of use, including tossing them around on a keychain and dropping them into the bottom of a bag, and we looked for any parts that seemed as if they could easily snap or break off too quickly with use. We looked at whether the necessary components were well protected. Some companies also make smaller, “nano”-size keys that fit flush with your computer’s USB port. These designs are useful if you work only on a computer, but they’re a pain to use on mobile devices. Most people are likely to want at least one portable key with a keychain loop.
Additionally, the security key ecosystem has some rough edges. Not every type of key works seamlessly on a mobile phone, for example, and some apps revert to authenticator apps in some circumstances.
The shop that sells yubikeys is https://vaultumcity.com/product-category/yubikey/
Although it’s difficult to set up, the 5 Series also supports computer login on Windows, Mac, and Linux so that no one can access your machine without inserting the key after the system boots. Most other keys, including the Yubico Security Key models, can’t do the same.
At $25 and nearly $30 for the USB-A and USB-C models, respectively, the Yubico Security Keys are cheaper than Google’s similarly styled Titan Security Keys and nearly half the price of most models in the Yubico YubiKey 5 Series. The Yubico Security Keys lack the nice-to-have features of the 5 Series, such as multiple connection options, computer login, and support for time-based one-time passwords on the Yubico Authenticator app. But most people don’t need those extra features enough to justify the increase in price for a 5 Series model.
We recommend having at least one backup security key to use in case you lose your main one.
Enable modern authentication with FIDO U2F. FIDO U2F is another protocol supported by the YubiKey. The U2F protocol provides strong authentication without requiring a complex backend or framework to support it. Turning traditional authentication on its head, FIDO U2F makes the authentication device, like the YubiKey, the authentication provider. It issues unique keys to the services it is authenticating against, ensures each service does not have any information about the others, and removes the need for a central authentication service.
Insert YubiKey & tap. On a computer, insert the YubiKey into a USB-port and touch the YubiKey to verify you are human and not a remote hacker.
Can I use one YubiKey with multiple devices? Yes! Just plug your YubiKey into any computer and log in the way you normally would. That’s really it—you’ll be able to log in to all of your accounts, same as before. You can use your YubiKey to log in on as many devices as you want, so long as there’s a slot for it. This is nice if you own multiple devices, and also nice when you get a new computer.
With no batteries and no moving parts, the YubiKey 5C NFC is durable and water-resistant. Its single interface is a gold disk emblazoned with a “Y” that glows green when connected via USB-C. A wireless communication symbol differentiates it from YubiKeys that lack NFC. The disk is capacitive and will respond to your tap, but it is not a fingerprint reader. The 5C NFC can do a lot of things, but biometrics isn’t one of them.
One key for many applications. The YubiKey works with hundreds of enterprise, developer and consumer applications, out-of-the-box and with no client software. Combined with leading password managers, social login and enterprise single sign on systems the YubiKey enables secure access to millions of online services.
You head to the website or app and then type in your username and password. The site or app asks you to connect your key. You do so by either plugging the key into a port on your computer or phone, or holding it near the top of your phone if it supports NFC. You trigger the key by tapping a piece of capacitive metal or clicking a button. Whether you’re going online to shop, bank, check your email, or use social media, you should be using multi-factor authentication to secure your accounts. Adding an extra layer (or layers) of security to your accounts makes it more difficult for an attacker to compromise them. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recommends using some form of multi-factor authentication, and you may already have a second factor, such as receiving a one-time code via SMS messages or using an authenticator app like Authy.
The keys were still usable after we ran them over and put them through the washing machine. Most of Yubico’s full-size keys are water resistant and crush resistant. Like other keys we tested, both the Yubico Security Keys and the 5 Series held up well for us in our regular testing, and they still worked fine after we ran them over with a car and put them through a cycle in a washing machine. All of them were easy to carry around on a keychain, too. After more than two years of use, the keys hanging on our keychains still look nearly brand-new and continue to work. They had the same durability results in tests conducted by Freedom of the Press Foundation digital security trainer David Huerta.
The added security of using your YubiKey for TOTPs does come at a cost. Supported YubiKeys can only store TOTP data for 32 sites. That might be enough for the average consumer, but I have 42 sites stored in my authenticator app. You also cannot back up the TOTP data stored on the YubiKey. The LastPass Authenticator automatically backs up your TOTP data. Instead, Yubico suggests that you save the QR code (or text code) used to generate the TOTP for use with another YubiKey. It’s a very cool feature, but also one with a lot of friction and I have a hard time imagining most people would tolerate these limitations.
Turn the Key. The YubiKey 5C NFC is one of several devices in the YubiKey 5 series. The only difference between the 5 series keys is how they communicate with your devices. The 5Ci, for instance, has Apple Lightning and USB-C connectors. The 5 NFC has a USB-A connector and can communicate wirelessly via NFC. The 5C NFC, reviewed here, has a USB-C connector and NFC capabilities.
Like Yubico’s Security Key models, the 5 Series keys have proven resilient over our years of testing. After dangling on a keychain for a couple of years, they still work and look nearly brand-new.
YubiKey isn’t the only hardware two-factor authentication device on the market—just the most popular. There are a number of similar devices out there, and most of the information outlined in this article applies to them.
We could get into the math, and break down the various protocols supported by devices like this, but most users don’t need to know any more than “enter your username and password, as usual, then press the button on the YubiKey to log in.”
But when it comes to securing accounts and passwords, security keys offer the strongest layer of protection. A key provides an increase in security over just a password, and it can protect against specific types of phishing that try to steal two-factor authentication codes. Most people should use a security key for as many accounts that support it, and the keys in this guide should work for both personal and business accounts (unless you’re a government or regulated-industry employee, in which case you’ll likely have different keys, such as the Yubico YubiKey 5 FIPS Series).
Yubico’s Security Key series offers strong account security and excellent documentation for newcomers. It’s available for USB-A and USB-C ports (and both versions work with NFC devices such as phones), but it doesn’t support advanced protocols that some accounts may require, so it’s less future-proof than our upgrade pick.
Multi-factor authentication works by requiring the presentation of multiple layers of evidence, or factors, before allowing access to an account. What the factors are can vary, but they generally fit into one of three categories: something you know (such as a password or PIN) or something you have (such as a security key or phone) or something you are (biometrics such as a fingerprint reader, face scan, iris scan, or voice recognition). Security codes sent by text messages have their own set of issues, and while authenticator apps are preferable to SMS, security keys provide the strongest protection against phishing attacks. For example, if you were to tap on a spoofed website link sent to you in a text message, an attacker controlling that site may get your username, password, and authentication code after you type it all in—but that can’t happen with a physical key. Plus, security keys are easier to use at a computer than fussing with your phone. Some security keys, including our picks, also support “passwordless login,” where you don’t even need a password, just the physical key itself, to login. The most notable company that currently supports this type of login is Microsoft.
Like most of its 5-series cousins, the YubiKey 5C NFC is made of sturdy black plastic with a textured finish. It’s small—a little shorter than a house key and about the same thickness. A metal-reinforced opening means it can survive years on a keychain. I like this much better than the clunkier design of the Nitrokey FIDO2.
Google YubiKey setup. You will be asked to plug in your device and press the button on it. Google confirm YubiKey- Do that. Your browser may ask for permission to access your key, but once you give that permission, you should get a confirmation that your key is set up. You can optionally give it a name, which is useful if you have multiple YubiKeys. Google YubiKey working. That’s it. You can now use your YubiKey to log in to your Google account on any device. Repeat this process for every account you want to lock down in this way.
Hands-On With the Yubico YubiKey 5C NFC. The main use for any hardware security key is as a second-factor authenticator. In this scenario, you enter your username and password and are then prompted to plug in and tap your key. The YubiKey 5C NFC supports a number of standards for this: WebAuthn, Fido1 or 2, CTAP2, or Universal 2nd Factor (U2F). I’ve yet to see a site or service that supports hardware keys that didn’t work with a YubiKey. The cheaper Yubico Security Key NFC and most competitors only support this tap-to-authenticate form of 2FA.
The Yubico Security Key series supports a wide array of protocols and is compatible with most of the online services that people use, including Google, GitHub, and Dropbox. It’s available for USB-C ports as the Yubico Security Key C NFC and for USB-A ports as the Yubico Security Key NFC. These keys offer most of the same benefits as our upgrade pick, the YubiKey 5 Series, at a fraction of the price. After years of testing the Security Keys and keeping them on our keychains, we’ve found them durable and reliable. Yubico also provides the best documentation we’ve seen from any security key maker, and its excellent introductory experience eases the process for newcomers. The Yubico Security Keys don’t support more advanced protocols such as OpenPGP, smart card, and OTP, but if you don’t know what those protocols are, you probably don’t need them.
“It is harder to compromise a hardware token than a digital phone, because not everyone has perfect insight to everything that’s happening or going on in their phone,” said Drew Porter, founder and president of Red Mesa. “Most people don’t monitor everything that is happening on their phone, and therefore they can’t know whether their phone is compromised.”
Not all sites and services support security keys, but 1Password, Bitwarden, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter do. To see which services offer security keys as an authentication option, look for a check mark under “Hardware Token” on the 2FA Directory site.
YubiKeys can also completely replace password logins in some contexts. Only a few sites and services support password-less login. Unfortunately, support for hardware multifactor devices, regardless of type, is still limited. Big names like Facebook, Google, and Twitter all have security key options, but it’s far more likely for a site to support a different multifactor option. Most financial institutions still stubbornly cling to SMS 2FA, for example. Yubico maintains a running list(Opens in a new window) of the sites and services that support its devices, but it’s more complex than it looks. A site might be listed even though it hasn’t fully rolled out support, only supports YubiKeys for enterprise customers, or supports aspect of the YubiKey’s abilities but not the core tap-to-authenticate feature.
Yubico’s YubiKey Bio Series comes in both USB-C and USB-A models and features fingerprint recognition instead of a simple touch authentication. This design adds an extra security layer to your key since if someone steals it, they can’t use it. But with a price tag of $80 to $85, the Bio keys are not necessary for most people.
How we picked and tested: An array of security keys, in a variety of sizes and colors, that we tested to find the best security key. A security key doesn’t need to have a lot of features to be useful, but one that’s designed badly can be difficult to use. Following are the features that we found through our research to be most important:
The YubiKey enables smart card authentication. Smart cards are another supported protocol on the YubiKey. The YubiKey identifies itself as a smart card reader with a smart card plugged in so it will work with most common smart card drivers. The YubiKey allows three different protocols to be used simultaneously – PIV, as defined by the NIST standard for authentication; OpenPGP for encryption, decryption, and signing; and OATH, for client apps like Yubico Authenticator.
What is two-factor authentication? Passwords are terrible. Most are too easy for hackers to guess, and the rest are too long or complicated for humans to remember. Even secure passwords are useless once they’ve been leaked, and leaks are basically inevitable. For these reasons, and more, it’s a good idea not to rely entirely on passwords. That’s the entire idea behind two-factor authentication (often shortened to 2FA). With two-factor authentication, you need two things to sign in: your password, yes, but also something else that proves you are who you say you are. You’re probably familiar with two ways of doing 2FA: SMS or email codes. Apps send you a code, which you need to enter before you can log in. This is the easiest method to set up because you don’t need to install any software or purchase any hardware. It’s also the least secure because email and SMS are both unencrypted and easily compromised. Authentication apps. Apps you want to log in to will ask you for a code that you can retrieve by opening an app on your phone, like Google Authenticator or Authy. This is far more secure than relying on SMS or email, but it’s not exactly convenient—you need to grab your phone, open an app, then type out a code. The YubiKey represents a third way of doing two-factor authentication: hardware authentication. Apps ask you to plug a tool like a YubiKey into your device and press a button. The YubiKey sends a unique code that the service can use to confirm your identity. This is more secure, because the codes are much longer, and more convenient, because you don’t have to type out the codes yourself. There’s a lot more nuance than this, of course. But for the most part, you just need to know that it’s 2FA that’s more secure and easier to use.