Hijacking a Facebook account is as easy as a finger snap (still some people can’t do that). You just type in an email address and a random password, Facebook suggests you the right account, and the only thing you need is to guess a password which is most probably 12356 according to WeLiveSecurity. True, you can be outrageous with the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal but whom to blame if you choose passwords like that?

By the way, have you heard about the Google data breach? Do you know how many credentials were stolen? Read till the end to see the answer. The top technological company uses Yubikey so today I will tell you about the most secure authentication device.

Yubico History

It all started with a dream! Two remarkable inventors Stina Ehrensvärd and her husband Jakob Ehrensvärd combined their design and computing talents and gave birth to YubiKey, an authentication device for account logins. The small black USB device quickly gained worldwide popularity and attracted millions of thought leaders, including top ten internet companies and soon the Swedish company, Yubico, was invited to Silicon Valley to introduce their genius creation to the broader audience and enable a safer internet for billions of users.

Yubico Brand

The name originates from Japanese, where “yubi” denotes “finger” and “touch” so by touching the device you verify your human nature and presence, unlike remote hackers. The green color of the logo reflects a healthy plant — a team that grows providing people with secure access solutions, which are environmentally friendly by the way. Finally, “Yubi” may also be a shortened form of “ubiquitous key” which endues its user with secure access to a large number of IT systems.

The company’s core mission is to combine security and usability. As we have identified in the introduction, passwords, SMS, and mobile apps are quite vulnerable to hackers’ attacks. If these naughty guys set an aim, it won’t be difficult to hijack your SMS (have you watched Ocean’s 8?). So Yubikey comes in hand. For a comparatively small fee (max. $60) you receive strong two-factor authentication.

Technological Aspect

The YubiKey supports one-time passwords, public-key encryption, and the U2F. YubiKey also allows storing static passwords for use at websites that do not support unique passwords.

Let’s observe closer this U2F. Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) is an open authentication standard that strengthens and simplifies two-factor authentication using specialized USB and/or near-field communication (NFC) devices. The U2F is based on the concept of a single phishing-resistant key to secure all services. Initially, the protocol was developed in close cooperation of Google and Yubico, and today the standard is hosted by the FIDO Alliance (Nok Nok Labs + PayPal + Lenovo, say no more).

Where Yubikey Is Used

Facebook, Dropbox, Electronic Arts, GitHub, Gov.uk, IBM, LastPass, Linux, Microsoft, Shopify — it seems that Yubico is trusted by companies from every IT sphere. Not to mention that users can trust these companies. But there is one special case which can rightly be called historical.

Google’s Success Story

“YubiKeys protect Google employees since 2009” — this is a prideful heading preceding the Yubico-Google success case. The case is a didactic story how two innovative companies can not only supply and receive service but cooperate and help each other grow and develop.

In 2009 Google was suffering from the targeted hackers attacks circumventing common security controls. So Google began collaboration with Yubico to enlarge the capabilities of the YubiKey with public key cryptography. As a result, a strong authentication protocol, U2F, mentioned above was created.

What is Google today? In 2019, Google protects employees with the U2F protocol and more! The leading internet company has also integrated support for the YubiKey and FIDO U2F security keys into the available security protections for all Google users. Today Google has the Strongest Defense against Phishing. Yubikey, a small USB device, has played an important role in Google’s becoming a leading technology company with innovations and inventions at its core.

Where You Can Use It

The YubiKey devices have multiple functions to secure your login to social media accounts, apps, mail service, laptops, and even physical space. You can use one or two YubiKey features, or use them all! The multifaceted YubiKey needs no software installation or battery, no socket or internet connection; you need only to plug it into a USB port in your laptop or PC and touch the button for secure authentication.

A sapid feature of the device is that if you fall victim to a data breach and your sensitive data is stolen, malicious hackers won’t be able to get into your private account without your physical Yubikey. That’s why 0 Google credentials have ever been stolen 🙂

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