Security experts have long hated passwords. They can be hacked, forgotten and sometimes guessed (looking at you, password1). With companies like Microsoft and Google moving to passwordless logins, Yubico thinks it holds the key to keeping things simple. The YubiKey Bio series announced today is the company’s first hardware security key to offer fingerprint logins.
Yubicos Bio series introduces biometric authentication to its hardware security key lineup. The new keys support the latest FIDO2/WebAuthn and U2F open authentication standards to which Yubico contributes.
The keys are intended for desktop PCs, which are usually stationary, making it easy to leave the key in a USB Type-A or USB-C port, depending on the model you choose. Each key has a built-in fingerprint reader, so you can log in with a tap of a finger instead of having to remember your password. The key can 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 said today it will mandate two-factor authentication for 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 further protection against physical attacks.
YubiKey’s new keys can represent a single foundation of trust across secure hardware across browsers, applications, desktops and even operating systems, Yubico says. The 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 work out-of-the-box with several enterprise-facing platforms, including Microsoft 365, Microsoft Azure Directory, Citrix Workspace, Okta and Duo. Note, however, that these keys do not support near-field communication for logging in by tapping the key on a device. For that you should contact YubiKey’s 5 Series†
A loop on top of each YubiKey Bio turns it into a key ring, so you’ll never have to leave the house without it again. In addition, the injection molded frame should be “crushable” and “water resistant”.
These keys have no drivers, batteries, or software, but you can add or remove fingerprints from the hardware through an app Yubico has made for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
The USB-C version of YubiKey Bio is currently available for: $85while the USB-A version is $80†
List image by Yubico