It can be quite difficult to juggle between a balance of security and convenience; longer and stronger passwords are secure, but harder to remember; a four-digit PIN is somewhat secure but adds another step between you and your work.
Yubico has been making its Yubikey authentication devices for a while – even before Windows 10 or Windows Hello were a thing; today’s release from Yubico might solve the age-old problem of security vs. convenience.
Yubikey is something to make two-factor-authentication just a little bit easier on PCs; these little dongles can be plugged into a USB port on the PC and can authenticate you in supported apps.
It’s essentially a physical key for your digital world – however cheesy that may sound. The trouble, of course, is that it only worked with supported apps; password managers like Enpass support Yubikey, but it can be difficult to find software that supports Yubikey for two-factor-authentication.
Enter, ‘Yubikey for Windows Hello’; the app released today lets you link your Yubikey device with Windows Hello. This simple step will allow users log into their Windows 10 PC with just the Yubikey plugged in for authentication.
The key replaces the password – but there’s a catch: Windows will still ask you for the password on your first boot.
This limitation, of course, is to prevent physical theft; if someone steals your physical PC with the key plugged in, they would have to log in with the password, once restarted.
The app also only supports two specific Yubikey models – Yubikey 4 and Yubikey 4 Nano.
Yubikey 4 Nano is a bit more convenient, as it only requires you to plug it into the USB port; Yubikey 4, on the other hand, requires you to press a button for every authentication.
Yubikey is already supported by password managers and certain online services like Google, Dropbox, etc. Today’s announcement makes it work with Windows 10.
The app does require you to be on Windows 10 Anniversary Update, and specifically on Build 14393.321 or above. You can check your Windows build version by typing winver in the Start Menu and hitting Enter.
If you are on an old build (how?), just download the latest Windows Update releases.
The Yubikey for Windows Hello app is conveniently available in the Windows Store – just search for it, and you shall find it.