In today’s digital age, data security and privacy are critical concerns for individuals and businesses alike. Cyberattacks and data breaches are becoming more and more common, and it’s essential to take proactive steps to protect sensitive data and maintain your privacy. One such measure is using hardware security keys, which provide an extra layer of protection to protect your devices and data.
What are hardware security keys?
A hardware security key is a physical device used for two-factor authentication (2FA) to protect your accounts and devices. It works in conjunction with your username and password to ensure that only authorized users can access your accounts and data.
These keys are designed to work in conjunction with your username and password to ensure that only authorized users can access your accounts and data. They come in various forms such as pen drives, NFC cards or Bluetooth devices.
How a hardware security key works
You must enable 2FA via hardware security keys on the website or platform that supports this technology, for example Binance and Coinbase exchanges.
With hardware security keys like the YubiKey, you simply plug the hardware key into the USB or Type-C port on your desktop/laptop or smartphone, and the key completes the verification for you.
What are the benefits of using a hardware security key?
Hardware security keys offer several advantages over traditional password-based authentication methods. They are much more difficult to attack than passwords, which can easily be compromised through brute force, social engineering or phishing attacks. Security keys generate a unique code each time they are used, making it nearly impossible for attackers to predict or replicate the code. They are also easy to use and configure and do not require any additional software or drivers to be installed on your device.
Are hardware security keys compatible with all devices and operating systems?
No, hardware security keys come in many formats and may not be compatible with all devices and operating systems. Before purchasing a key, make sure it is compatible with your device and operating system.
Can a hardware security key be used with multiple accounts?
Yes, a single hardware security key can be used to protect multiple accounts on different websites and services.
What happens if I lose my hardware security key?
If you lose your hardware security key, you risk having your accounts blocked. It is recommended to have a backup key or alternative authentication method to avoid this scenario.
Examples of 2FA Hardware
Here are some examples of 2FA Hardware available in the market.
Yubico YubiKey 5 NFC
Manufactured by Yubico, co-developer of the FIDO U2F open authentication standard used by many security keys, the YubiKey 5 NFC is in safe hands to protect your devices. As its name suggests, it works using USB-A (or USB-C using an adapter) or NFC. It offers out-of-the-box compatibility with many services – including Google Chrome, Facebook, Dropbox, LastPass, 1Password and more. The YubiKey 5 is compact, durable and lightweight - and it’s even waterproof. With a black and gold design, it’s one of the best security keys to display attached to a key ring. You can configure the YubiKey as a second U2F factor without any problems by following the service instructions and inserting the key into the USB slot when prompted. Tapping or pressing the gold circle on the key will register your key, so the next time you log in, just enter the password, insert the key, and tap it.
Thetis Fido U2F Security Key
If you’re looking for the best bang-for-buck in a security key, this model from Thetis should be on your list. There’s no Bluetooth onboard (it’s available on a more expensive model), and it only supports the FIDO U2F standard – so there’s no UAF or OTP compatibility. However, it will provide secure website access if you use Chrome or Opera as a browser on Windows, macOS, or Linux. Handily, this affordable security key sports a compact folding design with a rotating aluminum casing that prevents the connector from being exposed to potential damage while transporting. It comes in three attractive colors — black, gold, and silver. The plastic casing feels sturdy and relatively durable, but you’ll want to avoid placing it with heavy objects in your bag. The hole punch on the key isn’t large enough, so you’ll have limited options for attaching keychains or lanyards.
As its name suggests, OnlyKey has some nifty features its rivals lack. Thanks to an onboard keypad that can bypass keyloggers that find their way onto computers, it can keep online accounts safe if a computer or website is compromised. It supports multiple methods of 2FA, including FIDO 2 U2F, Yubico OTP, and TOTP. While it isn’t the best password manager for mainstream purposes, OnlyKey can store 24 OTP accounts, 24 passwords, and 24 usernames/URLs, on a single key. This feature is pretty handy if you’re not keen on memorizing multiple passwords and want the key to handle it for you. It offers features such as encrypted backup, self-destruct (which wipes the device after a certain number of incorrect attempts), and the ability to update the firmware to access new features. On the downside, its user interface is far from the prettiest we’ve ever seen. ## Binding your 2FA Hardware Key to your Google account
2FA with Google
Now that you know what 2FA Hardware keys are and how they work, I’ll teach you how to connect your key to your Google account.
log into your Gmail account and click on “Manage Your Google Account”
click on “Security”
click “2-Step verification”
Step 4 Select “Show More Options”
Now select “Security Key” and then click on “advance”
Connect your 2FA security key
Write the name you want for the device and click “Done”