Yubikey 4 vs. FIDO U2F security key – the starting points for Google account protection

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If you are reading this article, you are probably wondering what the best online security key is. In this article, we do a review of the Yubikey 4 and the general FIDO U2F security keys, and get some insights on the two.

When it comes to online security, you cannot afford to compromise on your levels of safety. There have been numerous cases of hacking and other instances of cybercrimes, and you may have been an unfortunate victim of these occurrences, just like so many of us.

However, you might not realize that a major part of the problem is due to the use of passwords, especially when you use them alone to authenticate your identity on the internet. If a malicious person decides they want to access your account, they only need to take a few guesses, then gain access to all your information – confidential or otherwise.

In order to prevent this, U2F and 2FA (two factor authentication) has developed to heighten the security of your accounts. In this article, we will focus on U2F security, mainly Yubikey 4 and FIDO U2F.

What are the differences between Yubikeyvs.FIDO U2F? How do they compare?

Model FIDO U2F Yubikey 4
Dimensions 3.4 x 2.1 x 0.04 0.71 x 0.12 x 1.77
Compatible browsers Chrome 38+ (all desktop OS) Chrome
Open source Yes Yes
Check here Check here

Yubikey 4 vs. FIDO U2F – what are the differences?

How they work

These are both U2F keys, although the Yubikey also includes USB for the desktop experience and NFC for the mobile users, making it easy for you to use it regardless of the device you prefer.

On the other hand, the FIDO U2F key functions like a 2FA and U2F system combined. It allows you to store all your sensitive information in it, such as your bank account details, physical spaces, apps, and other data that you wish to input. The other advantage is that you do not need external power supplies to access your data when you need it, neither do you require extra software to install the protocols online as it is driverless.

Security mechanism

One of the features that we noticed in Yubikey 4 security key review was that it requires no extra connectivity or internet to function properly once you finish installing it, which allows you to use it to access your data even when you are offline. The only issue is setting it up, which is not an easy process.

The FIDO U2F has the availability of open source software, which developers can use it other browsers and OS systems.Among the unique features that we noticed is that both the software and hardware are open source, and, they allow for independent reviews regarding their security.That means you do not get cases of hidden issues with the security of your data, and there is also no vendor lock-ins or obfuscation.

Protocol access

The Yubikey has a major advantage in terms of access, at it can get through a variety of browsers without forcing you to install extra protocols. These include Yubico OTP, PIV (smart card), FIDO2, FIDO U2F, Challenge-Response, OATH-HOTP, OATH-TOTP, and even social media platforms like Twitter.

The FIDO U2F key is more limited, although it does try in some access protocols. The major advantage would be if you are a Chrome 38+ user, regardless of the OS platform you are using – Windows, Mac, or Linux.

Yubikey 4

Yubikey vs.fido

You might have heard of Yubikey security keys, which are quite famous in the realm of online security. A major advantage is its flexibility to different protocols, making it a multi-purpose security key – which is why you can access a wide range of internet services through it.


  • Supports multiple protocols
  • Through the app, you can generate multiple one-time passwords


  • Not very easy to set up


yubikey vs fido

The FIDO U2F is easy to use – all you need is a connection to your computer, then a secure form of authentication is created. Note that when you are using it with Linux, it will require you to install a few extensions if you seek to integrate your emails and passwords. The good thing is that the process is not overly complicated.


  • It works very well with Google services, and you can use it in place of two-factor authentication
  • Very affordable, compared to other U2F security keys


  • It does not have a durable build

Final thoughts

It is easily noticeable that the Yubikey 4vs.FIDO U2F security keys are very similar in their structure and working mechanism. However, they do have their differences, and basing on that, the Yubikey 4 is the winner of this round. Not only is it highly reputable, but also has a durable build and allows you to generate many OTP (one time passwords) to protect your account in multiple situations.


What is the advantage of using U2F keys over 2FA authentication methods?

While 2FA proves be to a more useful security method than a password, it does have its own inherent issues. U2F is the most reliable, as it allows you to access multiple accounts without the need of a password or exposure risks, all through the use of one device.

On the other hand, is there an advantage of using U2F keys like Yubikey?

U2F is the most reliable mode of accessing your online accounts safely, as it allows you to enter multiple accounts without the need of a password or exposure risks, all through the use of one device.

How do you use both?

The use of the U2F key is not as difficult as it may seem on the surface, regardless of whether you deal in Yubikey or Nitrokey Pro. The key will basically work as a second factor authentication.

Additionally, when it comes to the wallet, simply plug in the device to an internet-enabled device or computer, and enter your PIN and confirm your transactions.

What if they get stolen?

The person who steals the key or wallet cannot access your account unless they know your password, which they do not store.

Do you need a separate key for each account?

No, you can use one key for multiple accounts, just like the 2FA system that allows you to use one app for multiple accounts, but different codes. This is because the key stores your digital information in a chip.