6 Best Security Keys

9/28/2022

Security

When securing user information, using app-based two-factor authentication on a smartphone is more successful than relying just on passwords. Even so, the setup and usage of this procedure might take some time. With physical two-factor authentication protection and the ability to lock down users’ devices, security keys provide a whole new degree of privacy and security for consumers’ commercial and residential devices. However, certain internet accounts could hold important data, necessitating users to take additional security precautions.

A security key is a tool that allows for tighter authentication while logging into internet apps, systems, and other gadgets. The finest security keys are more secure than SMS-based two-factor authentication, inexpensive, and simple. A security key is available in USB-C and USB-A versions and supports U2F and FIDO2/WebAuthn. Users may avoid fake websites that attempt to steal login information for private accounts like emails and social networking platforms by using a USB security key.

Using physical two-factor authentication is the best approach to secure online accounts. Security keys offer an additional layer by allowing users access to services via a keypad or button instead of the standard software-based two-factor authentication that sends an email or text message to validate the user’s identification. This can offer a high level of protection without requiring a device to receive a code in the beam.

Google Titan Bluetooth Security Key

With PCs, tablets, and smartphones through Bluetooth, NFC, or a standard micro-USB connection, the Titan Bluetooth Security Key is compatible. Despite coming from Google, the Titan Security Key supports the open FIDO U2F standard, allowing you to use it to authenticate with a wide range of services and applications.

The Titan Security Key contains a built-in rechargeable battery for mobile authentication and a built-in loop for keychain attachment. The price of Google’s key is also unexpectedly low, but given that it has a plastic frame, it might not be the most robust and is a little larger than the others.

Pros

  • Low cost
  • Created by Google
  • Supports USB, Bluetooth, and NFC

Cons

  • Plastic frame
  • Micro-USB port

With Android and iOS, you can authenticate on the fly without codes or wires, thanks to Google’s Titan Bluetooth Security Key.

Yubico – YubiKey 5C Nano

The Yubico Yubikey 5C Nano pushes the boundaries of miniaturization with a minimal module that blends in when connected to current laptops via USB-C. Since it supports all of the same protocols, including FIDO U2F and FIDO2, and still needs to be tapped for authentication, the tiny YubiKey is just as competent as the bigger ones.

The 5C Nano has the same water, tamper, and crush resistance level as other security keys, making it as tough and long-lasting. Since the 5C uses USB-C, the only thing it lacks is a wireless connection.

Pros

  • Extremely diminutive
  • Waterproof
  • Compatible with Linux, Windows, macOS, and Chrome OS

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No option for wireless

With Yubico’s small Nano security key, you can protect your accounts without sacrificing the sleek aesthetic of your laptop.

Yubico — YubiKey 5 NFC

With a portable design and built-in keychain loop, Yubico’s YubiKey 5 NFC is an all-in-one, multi-device security solution you can take wherever you go. This multipurpose key features a USB-A universal connector so you can connect it to your computer, and NFC enables wireless interaction with the most recent iOS and Android phones. The availability of both alternatives guarantees that you can always access your services regardless of the device you are using.

The YubiKey 5 NFC is one of the most compatible security keys available since, like other Yubico security keys, it supports various protocols like FIDO U2F, FIDO2, OpenPGP, and OATH-TOTP. Due to its compatibility with several protocols, the YubiKey 5 NFC may be used right out of the box to quickly and easily connect to the most widely used programs and services, including Dropbox, Outlook, 1Password, Gmail, and Facebook.

Pros

  • Supports several protocols
  • NFC and USB-A connection
  • Compatible with tablets, PCs, and phones
  • Adjustable keychain loop

Cons

  • Just USB-A
  • No choice for Bluetooth

The YubiKey 5 NFC from Yubico offers NFC for phones and universal USB-A authentication for PCs.

FIDO U2F Security Key, Thetis

You can enter the hardware two-factor game for a reasonable, wallet-friendly price with the Thetis FIDO U2F Security Key. This key is FIDO U2F-certified, as its name implies, and it enables two-factor compatibility for websites like Facebook, Dropbox, and Google. Additionally, it supports Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS. However, unlike Yubico’s security keys, this one only supports the U2F protocol and does not support email clients.

Despite its inexpensive cost, the Thetis FIDO U2F Security Key has a sturdy aluminum chassis that guards against daily occurrences like drops and bumps.

Thanks to the incorporated loop, the key may be stored on your keychain, and the USB-A port is kept secure thanks to a novel rotating design that tucks it away when not in use.

Pros 

  • Affordable
  • Compatibility with USB-A
  • Design that folds and has a keychain loop

Cons

  • Only USB-A connection
  • Incompatible with mobile devices
  • Incompatible with email clients

The Thetis FIDO U2F Security Key is an ideal option for backup authentication because of its low cost and foldable shape.

Yubico YubiKey 5Ci

The YubiKey 5Ci is the right choice if you still use an outdated iPhone or Android phone but want to secure your accounts with hardware two-factor authentication. With a dual-connection design with an iOS-compatible Lightning connector on one end and a USB-C connector on the other, this special security key makes authentication as easy as plugging it in and tapping it.

The YubiKey 5Ci is portable, so it features a keychain loop for easy storage and a plug-in design, so you don’t have to worry about managing yet another battery. Additionally, this key supports the most recent protocols, giving mobile access to social networking platforms, email, and other services.

Pros

  • Compatible with Android and iOS smartphones
  • USB-C connections and lighting
  • Adjustable keychain loop

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not wirelessly connected

The twin USB-C and Lightning ports on the YubiKey 5Ci make it compatible with most Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.

Kensington VeriMark Desktop USB Fingerprint Key Reader

Two-factor authentication is approached differently by Kensington’s VeriMark Desktop USB Fingerprint Key Reader, which combines biometric security with a stationary, desktop-friendly form. This key supports up to 10 distinct fingerprints, adding additional protection to your accounts. It is approved for usage in governmental organizations.

The Kensington VeriMark Desktop security key supports FIDO U2F and FIDO2. It is certified for Windows Hello so that you (and your coworkers) may enter into your PC without typing in a complicated password.

Pros

  • Ten fingerprints are supported.
  • Comfortable desktop layout
  • Microsoft Hello-certified

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Incompatible with macOS
  • No portability

The Kensington VeriMark is ideal for the desktop and comes with Windows Hello certification and biometric authentication.

What are the Mutual Features of the Best Security Keys?

The following is a list of shared qualities of the greatest security keys.

FIDO U2F-Certified: To prevent customers from losing online accounts due to password theft, hacking, or phishing scams, FIDO U2F-Certified delivers improved and more user-friendly security for internet services. The FIDO U2F Security Key is compatible with the U2F protocol. It operates flawlessly on several different operating systems, including macOS, Linux, and Windows, as well as the most recent version of Chrome.

Protect User Privacy: The finest security keys won’t save or read any information from users’ PCs or online accounts, protecting user privacy. Only the paired public and private keys created by the local system are stored in the embedded memory of the security key. The YubiKey 5Ci effectively defends user privacy from hackers using the FIDO U2F protocol.

User-Friendly Design: The best security keys have a simple button to press the working indicator light and are keychain-affixable. 

High Durability: The finest security keys include a spinning metal cover that covers the USB connector 360 degrees when not used. These keys are made of a sturdy aluminum alloy to guard against drops, bumps, and scratches. The YubiKey 5 NFC is incredibly strong, portable, and waterproof.

Configurable:  These security keys are readily able to set a variety of protocols across networks, PCs, online programs, and services. On NFC-capable devices, YubiKey 5 NFC offers readily customized protocols.

Multi-Protocol: The keys enable challenge-response systems, FIDO2, FIDO U2F, Smart Cards, OTP, OpenPGP, and WebAuthn. The multi-protocol functionality of the YubiKey 5Ci shields users against online threats.

Is it Possible to Hack a Security Key?

 Security keys cannot be conventionally hacked, although they can be misplaced or stolen. Compromising online accounts and networks by illegally accessing users’ accounts or PCs is a frequently used definition of hacking. The keys can also be damaged, which is a drawback but it shouldn’t lock customers out of any accounts. Even if online attackers know vital data like passwords, security keys may be used with two-factor authentication to assist consumers in keeping hackers out of online accounts.

Users can securely sign in on Chrome OS, macOS, and Windows 10 devices by configuring the phone’s built-in security key. Data may be encrypted and decrypted using random bits generated by encryption technology. Each security key is unexpected and distinct, thanks to encryption technology.

Can Companies Use Security Keys for Cybersecurity?

Yes, businesses may use security keys to maintain their online security and prevent cyberattacks. Many sectors require cybersecurity to safeguard all types of information from loss and theft. This covers personal data, protected health information, and market and governmental information systems. Security keys are used by Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Dropbox, and Epic Games to safeguard employee and end-user accounts.

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Conclusion

When protecting your accounts, nothing beats having a physical security key in addition to two-factor authentication. You may feel secure knowing that you are the only one with access when you link essential services, like your email account, with the best security keys, as opposed to SMS codes, which are vulnerable to social engineering assaults through cell carriers.

Our selection for the finest security key for the majority goes to Yubico’s YubiKey 5 NFC because of its versatility and sleek design. With the YubiKey 5 NFC, you can log in to your accounts on the finest iPhone just by having it nearby. It also has a normal USB-A port, making it compatible with PCs of all eras. Considering how small and light the YubiKey 5 NFC is, it is simple to tie to your keychain so that you always have it with you.