YubiKey for Computer Security
A YubiKey is a small, rugged, digital key that plugs into a USB port on your computer. It is used to generate a secure one-time password (OTP), in addition to your normal password, to provide two-factor authentication (2FA).
With two-factor authentication, a hacker or thief cannot break into your account if they only obtain your user name and password. The password is only one authentication factor. The intruder would also need to have your YubiKey. The secure one-time password generated is the second authentication factor.
Due to frequent news about intruders gaining access to customer passwords, it is important to take steps to increase your computer security.
Using long, strong, random passwords is one security measure to implement. Each account should use a different password so that if an intruder does discover one password, that password cannot be used to access any other account.
With many online accounts, and many long, strong, random passwords, it is not possible to remember all the passwords, and they should not be written on paper that might be lost, copied or stolen. A password manager and vault is a good solution for storing your passwords.
LastPass Password Vault
LastPass is a popular password manager and vault. It will store all of your account passwords in one vault. The vault may be opened with a master password, which should be long and strong.
Two Factor Authentication with YubiKey
For extra security, LastPass may be configured to require a YubiKey, installed in your USB port, to be pressed with a fingertip to generate a one-time password. This provides two-factor authentication, rather than single-factor authentication when using your static password alone.
The password is something you know, the YubiKey is something you have. Both are required.
LastPass software is free for the basic version. To add the protection of two-factor authentication with a YubiKey, and other features, including use on a smartphone, you must upgrade to the premium version for $12 per year.
You can read more information and order a YubiKey on their website at Yubico.com. There are different models with different prices and features. It is small and rugged and can be kept in your USB port, or on your key chain, or in your wallet.
LastPass supports multiple YubiKeys for the same password vault. In case you lose your YubiKey, another trusted person can use their key to open LastPass. Each YubiKey is unique.
There is a growing list of applications that support YubiKey. It can be used to log in to Windows, and for Content Management Systems (CMS) including WordPress, Drupal and Joomla. Other applications and websites with two-factor authentication YubiKey support include Dropbox, Google, Microsoft, GitHub, Evernote, and DreamHost.
Adding a YubiKey is a simple and inexpensive way to increase your computer security to prevent unauthorized access.