I’m going to preface this review by saying that I’ve always been a real skeptic on security products like the YubiKey… I mean really how much more security do I need than my unusually complex and frustratingly difficult passwords? That was until I realized just how many services I have that are linked to each other and to my email address – and the thought of having my bank account drained by a simple hack is a petrifying one. I’m not here to scare anyone into products like the Yubikey, rather to validate it’s place in the market.
So realistically what is the use of a YubiKey? Well for those of you unfamiliar with two-factor authentication, it’s a secondary measure to secure your accounts. For example when I log into my email account, I have to first enter in my password and then submit a verification code that is texted to me at the time of logging in – that way if someone has managed to guess my password, they still need my phone to get into the account.
In this example, the YubiKey would replace the need for a text code to be sent to my phone. Instead, the login service will first check that the password I enter is correct, and then confirm that the YubiKey is plugged into the computer! That simple… This login can be used to get into your computer, log in to Facebook, Google, etc.
No Yubikey? No login. The thought of this might scare some, what if you lose it?
Firstly you can have multiple Yubikey’s linked to one account (much the same way you’d have multiple keys cut for your house). But if you were to lose all your YubiKeys, account recovery is still possible through security questions, backup email addresses, etc.
Setup of the YubiKey was quite seriously my only gripe with the entire process. The vast majority of products we get our hands on here at EFTM is plug and play, and we get a whole lot of products. But the YubiKey requires a software manager download through their official website, which isn’t all too difficult but did take a little bit of playing around with to get operating.
Ultimately, two-factor authentication is getting more essential for internet security. Products like the YubiKey are a really nice and physical answer to the typically software two factor problem. YubiCo have multiple designs across USB and USB-C depending on the style/size that you prefer.
For just over $75 AUD, the YubiKey is a product to seriously consider if you’re worried about your online safety.