Yubikey vs. Fido U2F – which is the better key?

If you are reading this, you likely have a problem with creating great passwords, or struggle to remember them – forcing you to use the same password on multiple accounts and exposing your to breaches in the online space. That is why we choose to review the Yubikey and Fido U2F security keys, and see what comes out on top.

Passwords are understandably the bane of numerous people around the world – yet you require some form of security for your account. Studies are increasingly showing that passwords are becoming a weak link in terms of promoting the confidentiality and security of your information, and you might have suffered hackings or other cyber-crimes such as phishing.

However, there is some hope. It all began with 2FA, which you might probably be familiar with, as it uses your password and a unique code or message that you get on your phone – best example being the Google authenticator. The other form of protection is through U2F security keys, which are unique keys that are shaped like USB drives and do not require you to use your password.

The modified version of a security key, this was made to give the user a greater sense of security when they connect to their accounts on the internet, and also keep all their confidential data safe.

U2F security keys are a method of stemming the issue, as they reduce the need for you to remember passwords and strings, instead storing your account information securely and preventing access by third parties. In this article, we look at two of these keys – Yubikey and Fido U2F, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.

What are the differences between Yubikey vs. Fido U2F? How do they compare?

Model Yubikey Fido U2F
Compatible browsers Chrome, as well as any FIDO-compliant site Chrome 38+ (regardless of OS)
Dimensions 2.6 x 1.6 x 0.2 3.4 x 2.1 x 0.04
Is it open source? Yes Yes
  Click here Click here

Yubikey v. Fido u2f – the comparison league

The internet is good, because it helps you connect with more people than ever before. However, that has also led to massive problems in the security space, as well as the rising cases of crimes happening. For instance, you wake up one morning, only to find out someone got access to your emails, got access to your bank statements, and used them to do harmful activities.

The good news is that you do not have to experience these unfortunate happenings – you can take steps to secure your account, which is where additional authentication methods such as U2F come in. these two keys, while they have their differences, share some similarities; some that we will outline below.

Seamless tapping and wide access to protocols

One of the features that we noticed in the Yubikey vs. FIDO review, was that they both do not need extra connectivity or internet to function properly once you finish installation, which allows you to use them to access your data even when you are offline.

Durable build

The keys are both made from reinforced fiberglass material, which make them resistant to crushing and water. The material itself is injection molded and hermetically sealed, but this has no effect on their overall weight; they remain lightweight and allow you to carry them easily.

Yubikey

Yubikey vs. FIDO

Keys included

There is not one specific Yubikey key, as there are several in the series. Overall, though, the series is proving to be very popular among many, even for those that are just starting in the online security space. The keys include:

Some of these are shown below.

User experience

They are all very good at working with numerous protocols and platforms, such as through their tap-and-go authentication with Windows 10 devices and Android applications.  You only need to register, a very easy process, then tap the key to authenticate your account.

One of the features we noted was that the key 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. The main information that regards the use and any other questions you may have is on the main Yubico website, and you will get everything you need from there as well as the applications it works well with.

Pros

Great process of setting up, which is really easy

Supports many protocols

Cons

Needs some extra steps when setting it up

FIDO U2F

yubikey vs fido

The main advantage of this one 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.Through the use of this key, you can store all your sensitive information in it, such as your bank account details, physical spaces, apps, and other data that you wish to input.

Among the unique features that we noticed in the FIDO U2F review 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.

In fact, after the setup process, all you need is a connection to your computer, then a secure form of authentication is created between the device and your computer. It also works well from Chrome 38+, regardless of the OS platform you are using – Windows, Mac, or Linux. This is also aided by the availability of open source software, which developers can use it other browsers and OS systems.

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. However, the process is not complicated.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Lacks durability

 

Conclusion

Both the Yubikey and FIDO U2F security keys have their merits, but they do have their problems that you must overcome. However, we see that the Yubikey comes out on top, despite the challenge of setting it up, and it is good for beginners.

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