Yubico: Transforming the Face of Passwordless Authentication Through YubiKey
In an era of rapidly changing technology, innovation is the key to stay ahead of the learning curve. Take, for instance, the passwordless login technique, the latest churn we are witnessing in the technology industry today. This new technique is very convenient as you need not bother about the settings and are free from the hassle of remembering the password; it is also far ahead in providing better safety and security to the target audience.
One of the most coveted names in the passwordless login technology domain is Yubico. The company was incepted in Sweden in 2007, and since then, it has been working in the direction of providing a safe and secure login to millions of users in both the personal and enterprise domains.
Guido Appenzeller, Chief Product Officer of Yubico, in a recent interview with CryptoNewsZ said, “Yubico is trying to make the internet more secure, to get rid of passwords and to solve the big problems that are promised for big enterprises and also for consumers.”
If you take a big step back and ask, today if data is leaked or websites are compromised or a bitcoin is stolen, somewhere in the attack chain, in the vast majority of cases, there is a step when attackers steal credentials. If I want to steal Bitcoin from you, I probably need to get your login and password information and then log in on your behalf onto a webpage.
By providing more safe and secure access to the internet, the entire picture of the technology domain can be changed drastically in the future. Consider a scenario where there are no cryptocurrency hacks or online thefts, and though it is an ideal one think for a moment, if we are able to provide such a high level of safety to internet access, many new fledgling technologies including digital coins will become far more popular than what they are today.
To realize such a world, the solution offered by the Yubico is YubiKey. This product has become extremely popular among individual and enterprise customers alike, and its ability to offer completely safe and secure access to the network is something everyone in the technology domain today is talking about.
YubiKey looks like a little plastic USB stick, and once you have it in your system, nobody else will be able to login to your account. Once you insert the YubiKey into your system, it generates a one-time password (either 6 or 8 characters) that will be required to log in any service you want to access.
Speaking about YubiKey, Guido explained,
With YubiKeys you can basically make account takeovers from credentials theft extremely difficult, if not impossible. If you take a modern protocol, like FIDO/FIDO2, it’s phishing resistant, so I can’t be phishing attacked anymore; I can’t copy the key, that is, YubiKey which is a tamper-resistant chip and never goes out. It basically closes one of the largest attack factors that is used for attacks on the internet for both the consumer space and enterprise space. So, if we can make everybody to use these more secure login mechanisms, we would make a huge leap forward in internet security.
Advantages of YubiKey
YubiKey can be used across major operating systems and browsers and supports multiple authentication protocols in one device. Guido elaborated,
Yubico supports a very long tail of authentication protocols. If we talk of FIDO/FIDO2, you can actually use YubiKey, the same way you use a smart card with a certificate; like if you wanted to do to a classic PKI, you can do that with YubiKey […] Actually, it is even more secure than just being stored on the phone. It is actually portable, so you can carry along in a phone and laptop. We have things like OTP which are really nice retrofit methods if you have a legacy system with radius and there is no easy way to update the authentication protocols, you can often also use OTP to make a big step forward. We have PGP, if you want to get a little more technical and probably use an SSH code for system administrators.
Using the YubiKey, you can secure several important accounts, including your Gmail, cryptocurrency wallet, etc. Some of the large organizations such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, are very good at updating their websites and following very stringent safety and security protocols; however, when it comes to small organizations working in the field of banking and finance, insurance, component manufacturing, and supply-chain, the upgradation of the security standards is not a very financially viable option because of the high cost involved in the process.
It is exactly where the utility of YubiKey comes into the picture. Today millions of small scale organizations have benefited with the use of this passwordless authentication technique. There is hardly any doubt about the enormous potential that the future holds for the passwordless authentication technique, and even a cursory look at several organizations foraying into this segment will testify the urge of millions to have safe and secure access to the internet and networks across the globe.
Yubico is undoubtedly an industry leader when it comes to critical areas such as providing security to digital assets. Guido rightly added,
If you ever use YubiKey, you can literally plug it in and touch a contact and that is your authentication. It is a very very nice user experience. The security experience has always paid off between usability and security; if it is too hard to use nobody uses it. I think we have really hit a sweet spot there. If you have substantial crypto assets in an account today, you should use a security key to protect those assets.
In sum, being the pioneer in the passwordless authentication space, there is a huge responsibility on the shoulders of Yubico to maintain the high level of standards it has established for others to follow. It is not an easy task to accomplish though going by the record of the company of providing the highest level of safety standards in the past; we are confident that Yubico will rise to the occasion and maintain its reputation of providing holistic and foolproof security solutions to both private and commercial organizations.