New Yubico security keys let you use fingerprints instead of passwords



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


Security experts have long hated passwords. They are hackable, forgettable, and sometimes guessable (looking at you, password1). As companies like Microsoft and Google embrace passwordless logins, Yubico believes he has the key to keeping it simple. The YubiKey Bio series announced today is the company’s first hardware security key to offer fingerprint logins.

by Yubico Organic series introduces biometric authentication to the line of hardware security key manufacturers. The new keys support the latest FIDO2 / WebAuthn and U2Fopen authentication standards to which Yubico contributes.

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

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

Keys target desktops, which are typically stationary, making it easy to leave the key in a USB Type-A or USB-C port, depending on which model you choose. Each key has a built-in fingerprint reader, so you can log in with the touch of a finger 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 passwordless with Microsoft accounts. In May, Google shared its plans to eradicate passwords, also, and noted today that it will make two-factor authentication mandatory on an additional 150 million accounts this year.

The Bio series keys have a three-chip architecture, where the fingerprint is stored separately and securely, which Yubico says helps better protect against physical attacks.

Compatible with Windows, macOS, ChromeOS and Linux.
Enlarge / Compatible with Windows, macOS, ChromeOS and Linux.

YubiKey’s new keys can represent a single root of trust through secure hardware on various browsers, applications, desktops and even operating systems, Yubico explains. Keys work with operating systems that support WebAuthn, including Windows, macOS, Linux, and ChromeOS, and Chromium-based browsers, including Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. Yubico also promises that the keys will immediately work with a variety of enterprise platforms, including Microsoft 365, Microsoft Azure Directory, Citrix Workspace, Okta, and Duo. But note that these keys do not support near field communication for logging in by pressing a device key. For that, it would be necessary to turn to YubiKey Series 5.

A loop on top of each YubiKey Bio makes it a keychain, so you never have to leave the house without it. In addition, the injection molded frame is said to be “crush resistant” and “water resistant”.

The keys must be able to handle a little water.
Enlarge / The keys must be able to handle a little water.

These keys have no driver, battery, or software, but you can add or remove fingerprints on the hardware through a Yubico app designed for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

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

Listing image by Yubico


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