Yubico Yubikey Review


Reviewed by Katy Nettleton

Are you like me and often see these “secure keys” being advertised but not entirely sure what they are for, or if you need them? Well, apparently, I did need them and would have saved me many of hours of lost time from loosing passwords and resetting passwords, not just to keep my computer safe.

So, what do Yubico say about the secure keys: “Multi-protocol security keys, providing strong two-factor, multi-factor and pass-wordless authentication, and seamless touch-to-sign”.

However, if you are like me and use a computer daily for work, but get confused with jargon and why you need these (after all we all have a number of passwords and are told if they are weak or strong!) then this review is for you.

The best way I can describe this is that the “key” acts as a second verification for log in (similar what you need to do for online banking for companies), so you still need to know your “strong password.” But, instead of sending text messages this key will act as the authentication. I am always forgetting my log in details for my work website hosting, so I ring them up, they then send me a code to my phone, which I then use to reset my account details (I am not kidding you when I say this was at least monthly at one point!). However, by them sending me the password/key to my phone my security has been compromised. This is because details have needed to be sent from different companies/accounts/servers. This is where the Yubico comes into its own…

All you have to do is use the key (it is essentially a USB stick) which already has the code programmed (which is done when you set it up, and have it in your computer), and unlocks your account. This would have saved plenty of time when I have needed to verify my bank details for example, the process would have been much simpler. I have used the Yubico Key 5 series for my work, and with all the new GDPR compliances in place, I feel that my security is less compromised, and the data supports this. The chances of my “accounts” being taken over are significantly less and as I store “sensitive information” for other organisations I am more confident in being able to protect their information as well as my own.

I set mine up going through my emails and within the settings to set up 2 step authentications. I actually felt overwhelmed if I am honest when I was asked to review the “key” so got support from a “techie friend”, but in all honesty I could have done this myself. The computer screen had prompts on what to do, and there is also a brilliant tutorial on youtube on this, as we used the “password manager”. My only worry now is, what happens if I lose my Yubico Key? I know it is portable (and can be hooked on my keyring), but I try and not take it out of the house with me and only do this when I know I am going to need it. However, to fully utilise the “key” you are able to use it for all of the passwords you use, and therefore don’t have to remember those pesky passwords for emails and online shopping. I will set this up, but for the purpose of this review I have been using it for my work only.

Overall, I give this 3 out of 5. The Yubikey itself is easy to use and a much-needed device, but the terminology and website made it confusing for non-computer buffs and made me feel overwhelmed.

Rating: 3/5


This product can be purchased from the Yubico website here.

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