YubiKey brings strong hardware-based authentication to Windows 10

khushaartanveer@gmail.com' By: Khushaar Tanveer
3 minute read

We have all faced the struggle of typing in our PINs and passwords at every login attempt. As displeasing as this is, it is also a bit of a challenge to remember each and every one of them. Still, all of us want to have a secure PC experience and want robust protection when it comes to limiting our device from unauthorized access. Worry no more: Yubico might have just the solution.

Back in September at the Ignite Conference, Yubico announced their plans to support Microsoft’s Windows Hello platform with their aspirations for bringing strong hardware-based authentication to Windows 10. After two months of waiting, Yubico is finally introducing a strong solution for additional protection of Windows Hello called YubiKey, a single, solid solution to enable one-key login on your device.

The device comes in two flavors: the YubiKey 4, the size of a flash fingerprint authenticator, and the YubiKey 4 Nano, equal size to a USB slot so that the device remains in the opening.

Yubico’s Yubikey variants offer one button Windows Hello authentication for systems that don’t have built-in support for facial recognition or biometric-based sign-in. The device is perfect for environments that have large usage of shared PCs, an environment where biometric authentication tends to fail.

How it works:

Before enjoying the services of this technological marvel, you need to install the application YubiKey for Windows Hello from the Windows Store.

The latest app requires a YubiKey, Yubico’s USB-based device that generates an encrypted, one-time password, making it even more convenient than a fingerprint sensor/reader, but still leaving your PC completely safe once it has been removed.

The device has gone through thorough testing phases as enterprise admins have been using hardware-based authentication for years. They claim that it is nearly ‘impossible’ to encounter any sort of phishing attacks or password database breaches when you are using YubiKey. In a hypothetical scenario, even if someone has success in breaching security and acquiring your credentials, they can’t sign in without proving that they also have the physical device as a second form of identification as a password is needed on bootup.

See a video demonstrating the device below:

Apart from the hardcore security, YubiKey also makes it awfully convenient for you to use your PC in a home-based or workplace environment.

Moreover, YubiKey support is available on several other services, like Dropbox, GitHub, WordPress, Google accounts, and tons of other password managers.

Yubikey 4 is available for $40 and Yubikey 4 Nano is priced at about $50. Both can be found on Amazon or Yubico’s web store here.

Note: You must have the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (specifically version 1607, build 14393.321 or later) and a Windows user account set up with a PIN.

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