Yubico USB Key Provides Extra Login Protection [Security]

12 Gen/10

Password theft is a common problem on the Internet these days. Attackers use numerous ways to steal login credentials from users including phishing attacks via email, brute force attacks that try to guess the password, trojans and computer viruses or keyloggers that record every keystroke of the user.

The best protection against those kind of attacks are strong passwords, an up to date computer system with security software installed and an open educated mind that uses caution and common sense whenever passwords or other personal information are entered on the Internet.

Some security software programs can aid the user in protecting the data. Software programs like Last Pass or KeePass, a password manager that can generate secure passwords and remember them for the user, are examples of this.

But those applications do not change the system itself. All that is needed to log into a service are the username and password of a user. Yubico changes this.

Yubikey is an USB key that offers strong authentication by adding an extra layer of authentication to the login process of several popular applications and Internet services. Supported are for instance password managers like Last Pass or KeePass, content management systems like WordPress or Drupal, the popular encryption software True Crypt and other services like Google Apps or OpenID.


  • Requires no driver or software installation
  • Compatible with Windows, Linux, Mac OSX and Solaris
  • Robust, waterproof, crush-safe, no batteries required.
  • Open-source client-side SDK available.
  • Yubico offers a free validation service, or you can run it on your own server.
  • Customization options like labeling the keys
  • RFID and OATH Yubikeys available as well

How does it work?

Yubico basically adds another layer of security to the login process in most cases. A login to the Last Pass master server for instance will still require the user’s Last Pass email address and password but will display a Yubico prompt afterwards. The user then needs to enter the Yubikey into an USB port. The Yubikey comes with a button on the device that will send a password to the computer whenever it is pressed. This password is used in the authorization process.

The Yubikey password consists of a static and dynamic part which makes this solution excellent of battling keyloggers and other eavesdropping techniques as the password is only valid for one time and void afterwards. This password can be changed to a very long static password for offline usage (for example required to make it work with True Crypt during system boot).

This means that an attacker would need access to the user’s email address and password but also access to the USB key to gain access to the service.

Take a look at this video for additional details

Yubikey adds another security layer to the authentication process. It is Open Source, does not require installation, is compatible will most popular operating systems, works with lots of popular services and can be easily carried around in a wallet or on a key chain.

This is the perfect device for web users who work with WordPress, Google Apps, password managers, OpenID or other services and applications listed at the Yubikey Wiki.

Giveaway and Discount

The Yubico guys were nice enough to give us ten of their Yubikeys that we can give away to you. If you want to win a Yubikey post a comment and let us know what you think of the device.

We were also able to get a 40% discount for a pair of Yubikeys that are usually sold for $50 at the store. If you do not trust your luck you might want to buy them with the discount code instead. Simply enter ghacks in the coupon code field during checkout to get the 40% discount.

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