With the brand new Yubico safety keys, you should use fingerprints as an alternative of passwords


Enlarge / You can use the keys to skip passwords or as a second form of authentication.


Security professionals have long detested passwords. They are hackable, forgotten, and sometimes guessable (when they look at you, password1). As companies like Microsoft and Google move to accept passwordless logins, Yubico believes it has the key to making things easier. The YubiKey Bio Series announced today is the company’s first hardware security key to offer fingerprint logins.

Yubicos Organic series introduces biometric authentication into the product range of the manufacturer of hardware security keys. The new keys support the latest FIDO2 / WebAuthn and U2Fopen authentication standards, to which Yubico is contributing.

Fits either your USB-C (left) or USB-A (right) port.

Fits either your USB-C (left) or USB-A (right) port.

The keys are aimed at desktop PCs, which are usually stationary, so the key can simply be left in a USB Type-A or USB-C port depending on the model chosen. Each key has a built-in fingerprint reader so you can log in with a tap instead of having to remember your password. The key could also serve as a form of two-factor authentication.

The Bio series follows last month’s announcement that you can now Go with Microsoft accounts without a password. In May, Google shared its plans to delete passwords, and said today that two-factor authentication will become mandatory for 150 million additional accounts this year.

The keys of the Bio series have a three-chip architecture in which the fingerprint is stored separately and securely, which, according to Yubico, offers further protection against physical attacks.

Windows, macOS, ChromeOS and Linux compatible. Enlarge / Windows, macOS, ChromeOS and Linux compatible. YubiKey’s new keys can provide a single trust base for various browsers, applications, desktops and even operating systems through secure hardware, says Yubico. The keys work with operating systems that support WebAuthn, including Windows, macOS, Linux, and ChromeOS, and browsers based on Chromium, including Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. Yubico also promises that the keys will work immediately with a variety of enterprise-facing platforms including Microsoft 365, Microsoft Azure Directory, Citrix Workspace, Okta and Duo. Note, however, that these buttons do not support near field communication for logging in by tapping the button on a device. For that you would have to turn to YubiKeys 5 series.

A loop on top of each YubiKey Bio turns it into a key fob so you never have to leave home without it. In addition, the injection-molded frame should be “compressible” and “water-repellent”.

The keys should be able to handle a little water. Enlarge / The keys should be able to handle a little water. These keys do not contain drivers, batteries, or software, but you can add or delete fingerprints on the hardware using an app from Yubico designed for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

The USB-C version of YubiKey Bio is currently available for $ 85while the USB-A version is $ 80.

Offer picture from Yubico