With cyber attacks becoming a seemingly monthly occurrence, more and more these days it seems like simple passwords just aren’t cutting it when it comes to online security. Because of this, a lot of online services use two-factor authentication. But for anyone who has used the technology, they know how much of an annoyance this can be. The extra 30 seconds to a minute it takes to login adds up – especially when you’re signing in to dozens of websites a day. But now there’s a new piece of hardware that hopes to make this process easier than ever, and it’s called Yubikey.
What is two-factor authentication?
Even if you have no idea what two-factor authentication is, you’ve likely been using it already for well over a decade. It is a security measure that is essentially what it sounds like: you use two different types of identification to verify who you are.
Two common accounts where you’ve likely already used two-factor authentication are email and online banking. Ordinarily when you normally logon to either of these services, you only use a single password – your first method . However, if you are logging on from a different computer than your usual one, you’re likely asked to go through an additional step to check that you are who you say you are. This happens when you’re prompted for a one-time password – sent to you via text message, email or via some other method. That is your second method of verification, which adds up to two-factor authentications.
Oh, and how have you been using this process for over a decade? Well, another common means of two-factor authentication that’s been in widespread use for over a half century is the ATM. Your physical ATM card is the first form of authentication and your PIN is the second.
Introducing Yubikey – the easy solution for two-factor authentication
Yubikey is a small hardware device that looks similar to a USB drive and is designed to make two-factor authentication on the web easy. In addition to your normal username and password for a given website, it acts as your second form of authentication. Once you’ve registered it, you can use this device with a variety of websites or services that support two-factor authentication. Additionally, you can use Yubikey as a second method of authentication for your computer login, disk encryption for a hard drive, or password manager.
How does it work?
Once you’ve registered your Yubikey with a website or service that supports two-factor authentication, you simply insert the key into the computer, and then tap or touch it to provide your second method of authentication. Bear in mind that the Yubikey is not a biometric device. Similar to an ATM card, its identity protection power lies in the fact that is a physical hardware token. This prevents phishing, malware and other attacks that would need your physical key (in addition to your password) to breach your account.
However, since the Yubikey is a physical piece of hardware, some may wonder, “won’t it be easy to lose?” Well, when was the last time you permanently lost your keys? if the answer is never, then you’re in luck. Yubikey simply attaches to your keychain.
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