Yubico Security C NFC REVIEW
If you’re the worrying kind or just the sort that wants to avoid password security calamity, then has PAT PILCHER got the wee device for you.
Imagine this. You wake up to find someone has been on a shopping spree with your credit card or that your savings account has been emptied. You’ve also got messages from Facebook friends wondering why you’re asking them to click on a weird unknown link. Being left out of pocket or with irate Facebook friends might seem terrifying. The good news is that it’s preventable.
Perhaps the best way of avoiding these headaches involves a more secure form of logging into any online services you use. Two-factor authentication (2FA) sees an SMS code sent to your phone that must be entered before you can log in. This has long been the gold standard, but SIM cloning and a growing number of other tricks are starting to make this method less secure.
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There is another way, though. It comes in the form of Yubico’s Security C NFC key, which provides the best login security you can get. There are no moving parts to break, no batteries to charge/replace, and you don’t need an internet connection. All told, it’s pretty bomb-proof. Yubico’s Security C NFC Key also works with most gadgets.
Yubico uses what is called “multifactor authentication”. This is based on the fact there are three ways to securely log into most online services. You can use something you know (a password), something you have (such as a Yubico key), or something you are (like a fingerprint).
While a password is what most of us use, a growing number of data breaches means they’re not terribly secure. Also, password managers (or, as I call them, password manglers) can be a total pain in the ass. While biometrics are more secure than a password, they too can be overcome using a photo of your face, or (believe it or not, even a gummy bear to copy fingerprints).
The Yubico Security C NFC key, when used with one of these other methods, are typically called multifactor authentication. A hacker is less likely to get hold of your passwords AND your Yubico key, making it impossible to log into your accounts.
The YubiKey Security C NFC uses a USB C connector and NFC. USB C is becoming the default on PCs/smartphones/tablets, and NFC is universal on most smart devices, so Yubico’s key will work on most hardware.
Design-wise there isn’t a lot to the Yubikey. It sports a textured blue plastic finish and is small enough to fit on a keyring, so it’s nearly always going to be at hand. Its durability means that carting it around with a bunch of keys isn’t a problem.
Using the Yubikey is a doddle once you’ve got it set up. This consists of entering your password and then either plugging it into a spare USB C port or tapping it against the NFC area on your device.
There are quite a few different secure login standards, and Yubikey thankfully supports most of them. In use, the Yubikey worked with most of the big online services I typically use. Getting set up wasn’t terribly difficult. It usually involved finding the relevant settings option, inserting the Yubikey, and following the on-screen prompts. I found the process was pretty much identical for most online services that supported it. If all this sounds great, there is a gotcha, and it isn’t a minor one. Support for hardware authentication keys is still limited. While most big online services like Facebook, Google, and Twitter will support hardware keys, your mileage, however, will vary widely.
If worrying about being hacked is losing you sleep, the YubiKey Security C NFC will be just what the doctor ordered. It’s capable yet easy to use. It is practically indestructible and will work with almost any gear, making it a solid choice. That said, you can’t use it everywhere as there are still sites that refuse to play nice. Hopefully, this will improve over time.