Yubico’s YubiKey Standards For simple & Secure Login In Digital World

In this highly data-driven world, for organizations and individuals, data protection and privacy has become the utmost priority. And, doing it conventionally only adds to complexities, resulting in higher chances of system breaches and data theft.

There are many systems available through which one can protect and secure their data. And, of all those systems, the SMS-based or app-based (Google Authenticator) 2FA is the most preferred solution due to its cost-effectiveness. But, these solutions are also software-based and can be hacked and manipulated.

Therefore, when it comes to securing your data, there is no match for hardware-based security key systems. They are fast and offer no-fuss solutions. First introduced in 2007 by Yubico, their security keys are providing institutions and individuals with the strongest security framework for enhanced data protection in this highly evolving digital world.

Let us check out how Yubico’s hardware-based security key functions in this in-depth review blog.

About Yubico

Yubico was founded in 2007 in Stockholm, Sweden by Stina Ehrensvärd to make secure login easy and available for everyone.

It introduced the first working prototype of a hardware-based security key, YubiKey 1.0 in 2007. The YubiKey 1.0 was the world’s first one-touch and one-time password authenticator.

Thereafter, a series of innovations were made to the YubiKey and further development was carried on to make the YubiKey technology into a global standard.

In close collaboration with Google and Microsoft, YubiCo co-created U2F standard, the standard that combines hardware-based authentication with public-key cryptography and FIDO2 standard for passwordless authentication. It also added OpenPGP, personal identity verification (PIV) features with attestation to its devices.

YubiCo offers different models of Yubikey like the USB-A, USB-C, and NFC connections for android and Apple users. And, the YubiHSM key, which is also the world’s smallest security module, protects servers from the phishing attack and other cyber risks.

YubiCo’s products are trusted by renowned businesses across all sectors and millions of users in 160 countries. Its institutional customers include Facebook, Google, Dropbox, US State Govt., UK Govt., Salesforce, Novartis, Ubuntu, and a lot more.

Features Of YubiKey

  • Ultra Secure

With YubiKey, the chances of account compromise or phishing attacks are negligible. As very validation requires a human touch which is impossible to access remotely. Plus, all YubiKey versions are malware proof, making the whole system ultra-secure.

  • Quick and Reliable

No batteries, no-download, crush & water-resistant, YubiKeys are reliable and quite sturdy. It brings the much-needed simplicity to make a secure login through one-tap login. No more typing long authentication codes that make the whole process long and slow.

  • Next-gen security protocols 

Yubico has integrated some of the latest and next-gen security protocols to YubiKeys. It has integrated Yubico OTP, One Time Password- HOTP, One Time Password-TOTP, OpenPGP, Smart Card with PIV compliant, U2F, and FIDO 2 security protocols.

YubiKey also offers a static password feature with an option to send the static password of up to 60 characters with the touch of the YubiKey touch button. 

  • Multi-device support

YubiKey not only connects to full-sized USB-A and USB-C ports but is compatible with all mobile devices including iPhones. YubiKey also employs near-field communication (NFC) technology to interact with mobile devices. 

When prompted for multi-factor authentication from the iPhone, the YubiKey application instructs you to just tap the key against the corner of the phone to verify and authenticate your identity. 

  • One key to all services

YubiKey is accepted in nearly 1,000 apps and services and a key is completely safe to use in multiple services. There are no risks of account takeover when deployed fully. 

  • Easy to store

YubiKeys are very easy to store and carry it around with you. With no heavy set-up, YubiKey 5 NFC weighs just 3 grams and YubiKey 5C Nano is at 1 gram, they can fit in any corner of your pockets. 

Getting Started With YubiKey

You just plug it into your device when you need to authenticate your identity for securely accessing online services. No fingerprint scan, no facial recognition, and no retina scan. It is as simple as that.

The YubiKey generates a unique key that works along with your username and password to validate your identity online. When plugged in, YubiKey generates a unique code that can only be used once to validate your identity. The code cannot be reused even if it is copied character by character.

The one who physically possesses the YubiKey can only generate the code which will be accepted. It works like a USB storage device when plugged into a USB port.

A simple touch of the gold contact of YubiKey triggers the system. The user can direct where the OTP is sent to by clicking in the desired field before touching the button (capacitance sensor) on the YubiKey for one second.

Let’s check the whole process for activating your YubiKey.

  1. Once you get your YubiKey in your hand, go to Yubico’s website and select your key type.
  2. Now, choose the services you’d like to use your YubiKey to login to.
  3. Get the set-up instruction by clicking the Get Setup Instruction in each service.
  4. Follow the step-by-step process to activate your YubiKey as instructed in the service provider’s page.
  5. Following successful activation, you can now use your YubiKey.

While activating, you are also provided with the computer login options like Windows or Macs. You can also set up YubiKey with popular password management solutions like Dashlance, LastPass, and developer platforms like Github and Bitbucket. 

YubiKey & Cryptocurrency Exchanges

The crypto exchanges are always at the forefront of cyber attacks and hackers look for loopholes in the system of both users and the platform. Therefore, maintaining a secure authentication process is very necessary. And, YubiKey does the job very perfectly.  

YubiKey is supported by some major cryptocurrency exchanges and wallet service providers including BitMEX, Gemini, BitBay, Kraken, Bitfinex, Nanex, STEX, DSX, and CYBAVO Vault. 

The YubiKey activation process is very easy and can be completed within minutes in just a few steps. Let’s check out the process of activating YubiKey with the Gemini crypto exchange.

Gemini allows second-factor authentication across the web and mobile platforms over NFC, USB, and Lightning. 

  • Login to your Gemini account and go to the “Account Settings” option to access the “Security” page. 
  • Tap on “Add Security Key” to add one or more keys. Now give a nickname of your security key (YubiKey 5C) and click on “Add Security Key” below.
  • Now, while selecting the USB security key, insert your YubiKey in the USB portal and click on “Add Security Key”. The key is successfully added to your account. 
  • Similarly, add another security key as a backup to complete the process. Gemini requires you to keep at least two keys, in case you misplace one of your security keys, you can access your account with the other one. 
  • And finally, click on “Yes, only use security keys as my 2FA method” and click on “Save”. This will configure your Gemini account.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are an individual or an enterprise, data security cannot be taken lightly. And, with each passing day, the level of complexity in password management and data securities is only increasing, so are the costs. 

Yubico’s YubiKeys provides a cost-effective and reliable solution that not only makes online browsing and sharing of data safer for billions of people but also drives more value to users. 

Sudhir Khatwani


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