Monday, 28 January 2019 23:37

YubiKey 5 series provides highest-grade MFA, password-less login for Windows 10

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Hardware authentication security key provider Yubico has released its YubiKey 5 range of products in Australia, offering mobile-free multi-factor authentication as well as password-less Windows 10 login.

The battle for security never takes a break because, unfortunately, the bad guys never take a break. The reason our various accounts and logins have passwords at all is to protect them from intrusion. The username is public, but the password is private (or should be.)

Yet, passwords have increasingly proven to be insufficient as servers, applications, websites and institutions suffer breaches. Thus, something private was required yet again – hence the rise of multi-factor authentication. Enter the username and password, then get sent, and key in, a one-time use code.

It’s very convenient and popular to use e-mail or SMS text message, but even these are no real defence against the determined. Email can be breached, while Gimlet Media’s fascinating Reply All podcast explains motivated hackers will transfer your mobile number to a SIM card in their control, and easily control SMS messaging.

In that same podcast, the Gimlet Media team ask one of the bad guys themselves how can anyone possibly defend themselves. His advice: don’t use your mobile phone for authentication, but instead YubiKeys. That’s not from Yubico’s marketing, but from a hacker himself on how to protect yourself online.

It’s sound advice, and something evidently followed by the likes of Google and Facebook, who have rolled keys out to their staff.

The four new YubiKeys in the series 5 range start at $61.50 and are:

YubiKey 5 NFC

  1. NFC, providing one single tap-and-go experience across desktop, laptop and mobile
  2. USB-A
  3. Fits on keychain
  4. Water and crush resistant

YubiKey 5 Nano

  1. Low-profile design
  2. USB-A and stays in port
  3. Water resistant

YubiKey 5C

  1. USB-C
  2. Fits on keychain
  3. Water resistant

YubiKey 5C Nano

  1. Very low-profile design
  2. USB-C and stays in port
  3. Water resistant

To help work out which YubiKey is best for you, you can follow a simple quiz and then simply follow the online set-up process to get your new YubiKey working.

Not only will your YubiKey provide mobile-free authentication, it will also support updates in Windows 10 version 1809 and later support password-less authentication via the FIDO2 authentication protocol, now embedded in the YubiKey 5 hardware.

Other protocols include FIDO U2F, smart card PIV, Yubico OTP, OpenPGP, OATH-TOTP, OATH-HOTP and challenge-response.

YubiKey 5 series devices are available in Australia through M.Tech Australia.

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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