New Yubico security keys let you log in with a tap to your USB-C port

New Yubico security keys let you log in with a tap to your USB-C port
Yubico

Because of its power delivery, high transfer rates, and Thunderbolt capabilities, USB-C has become ubiquitous on modern devices. The European Union even wants to force the use of USB-C. So security keys that serve as a form of multi-factor authentication or passwordless login need to play well with the port. Hardware authentication company Yubico is addressing that need with an inexpensive security key that allows logins via USB-C—or with just a tap of the key to a PC or phone.

A cheaper USB-C security key

The Security C NFC costs five dollars more than the USB-A option ($29 versus $24). That’s still cheaper than Google’s Titan USB-C/Security Key, which is $35—if you can find it in stock.

No matter how you connect it to your PC, the Security Key NFC supports the FIDO U2F and FIDO2/WebAuthn authentication standards, which isn’t surprising, as Yubico contributes to both. The key lets you log in to many well-known websites and apps, including Gmail, YouTube, Twitter, Dropbox, Office 365, and Xbox Live.

It's $5 more to get USB-C instead of USB-A.
Enlarge / It’s $5 more to get USB-C instead of USB-A.

You can find those standards in other Yubico keys and in Google’s Titan keys. What makes Yubico’s Security Key Series unique is its near-field communication (NFC) capabilities, which let you unlock your accounts with a simple tap of the key to your device. Yubico’s product page says NFC is supported on Windows 10, Android, and iOS. We’ve asked Yubico if the feature will work with Windows 11 and will update this article if we hear back. You can keep the key in your device’s port and touch the gold circle with your finger to log in to applications that don’t support NFC.

Yubico’s pricier YubiKey 5 Series starts at $50 and includes even more form factors, including a Lightning option for iPhone users. The Series 5 also supports protocols like Smart card, OTP, and OpenPGP 3, so it’s mainly targeted to people working in IT.

Like the USB-A version, the Security Key C NFC is supposed to be water and crush-resistant, which makes the idea of transporting the key as a keychain more plausible. 

The security key keychain.
Enlarge / The security key keychain.
Yubico

Workers are increasingly using more than one PC, and companies like Google and Microsoft are pushing passwordless login options, so these types of keys will only become more common.

This is the second product launch from the Swedish company this month after the release of its first keys to support fingerprint logins, the YubiKey Bio Series.



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