How to use yubikey – keep your information safe

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The yubikey authentication does not offer any wireless support; you have to plug it in directly into your phone or USB port to use it. Read the following article on how to use the yubikey

Hi my name is Andrew, I work at a tech firm and my favourite hobby is web design. I may have all the skills and talents for designing websites but it seems I can’t keep any names or numbers in my head. I know, I am a different kind of genius. The biggest problem I may have is trying to remember the different password on my PC and phone. You would think I would remember at least one or two, but this is a problem I’m learning to live with. Lucky for me, developers came up with a yubikey to help people like me with this major issue.

So how does yubikey work?

how to use yubikey

Basically, they yubikey is a small metallic or polycarbonate key that is almost the size of a USB. You can connect it to your computer or even to your phone using a USB reader cable. You can use the yubikey to authenticate your logins in your registered websites or alongside with your passwords. The yubikey is water resistant, durable and does not need a battery to work well. This key shaped device has a keyhole which allows you to attach it to your key holder so that you won’t lose it easily. Getting the right key depends on your devices and how you want to use it.

How do you get started?

Activate it

The first step you take when you get your yubikey is to activate it. You can do this by going into the manufacturer’s website, which is yubico and selecting your yubikey. You will see an array of services and the next step to take is to select the type of services you would like to work with and log into them. Some of the popular websites listed may include Google, facebook and drop box. Computer login options for your pc or mac devices are also among the first choices for computer logins as they are very important. In general, any service that is accessible with a two factor authentication will allow you to use this device to log in.

Setting up a password

Before you set it up; let it be clear that yubikey will only log into an application like facebook only if your opera mini, chrome or Mozilla is the latest version. Check out the requirements from your browser’s before you set up your yubikey to see if they are compatible.

While you are still on the yubikey set up page, click on the website you would like to secure and the app will send you information on what the security key is and how it works. It directs you to the security settings and logins.

Remember, the yubikey is only one part of a two factor authentication process. It should be able to guide you through setting up the 2FA first before you can set up any passwords. When you are setting up a password for an app, say facebook, it should be easy as long as the 2FA is set up. If it’s not, you should receive an email from the website for a good set-up.

Using the yubikey

To check whether the yubikey is working, insert is into a USB port on your computer of Smartphone. When you plug it in, it should blink to show it is working. If it does not blink, you should consider changing the port or flipping the key around. Once the key starts blinking, you should press the button or disk at the centre of the key. That will activate the two factor authentication of your key. The next time you want to access any websites you have registered, you will simply input the yubikey instead of having to input a pass code that could be more than 10 digits.

General usage

A hardware yubikey will work with Microsoft edge, Mozilla and other services but most services with older updates are fickle. If the browsers you have do not support the hardware key, you can use a 2FA code instead.

If you do not have your yubikey with you but want to access the websites, they will simply ask you for a different form of authentication which is temporary. You can use the code generating application as a second option. If you lose your key, you can just log into your service on the yubikey website and remove the key form your settings or list of security keys until you buy another one.


The yubikey offers me an easier way to access all my accounts and website while maintaining some kind of security. If you ask me, I could not ask for anything better. Due to the two factor authentication, I am the only person who can access everything on my laptop including my projects.