With the recent addition of YubiKeys to officially supported FIDO Level 2 certified devices, ID Austria has taken a significant step towards providing even greater security and convenience for its users. ID Austria, an electronic identification system that builds on the country’s existing mobile phone signature system and the Bürgerkarte (Citizen Card), enables all citizens to securely identify themselves and access various public services online – completely free of charge. It was first introduced in 2019 and has since become an integral part of the country’s digital infrastructure. The system will even be usable throughout the European Union starting this year, allowing Austrian citizens to access services and verify their identity across the entire region where eIDAS (electronic identification, authentication and trust services) compliant solutions are accepted.
FIDO (Fast Identity Online) is an open authentication standard co-developed by Yubico based on public-key cryptography, that aims to eliminate the use of passwords and increase the level of security afforded by traditional methods. Furthermore, FIDO Level 2 certification is limited to only hardware-based security devices, such as YubiKeys and smart cards, that have a restricted operating environment and support attestation.
In addition to the security benefits when used in conjunction with a FIDO L2 device, ID Austria also offers a couple of advantages over alternative authentication methods:
- Easy to use. Austrian citizens can now authenticate themselves to online services over NFC (contactless) or USB. It is now possible to universally authenticate across the entire range of devices from mobile devices to desktops with just a YubiKey – where the cryptographic material resides – meaning users can access public services and identify themselves from more or less anywhere, at any time.
- Securely sign digital documents. This is a crucial feature for individuals, and potentially some registered enterprises, who need to sign important documents online. For instance, a user can now digitally sign a rental agreement, a job offer or a tax declaration using ID Austria. Digital signatures are legally binding and have the same value as handwritten signatures, which is why using a FIDO L2 hardware-based security key is a sound way for users to ensure that their digital signatures are authentic, integral, non-repudiable and protected against tampering, forgery and other forms of cyberattack.
Overall, the addition of FIDO Level 2 certified devices to ID Austria represents a significant development that greatly enhances both the security and convenience of the scheme. By building on the existing mobile phone signature system and the Bürgerkarte, ID Austria has created an innovative and robust digital identification system, which sets the standard for secure online authentication and digital signatures. This serves as an excellent example of how technology and open standards can be used by governments to enhance security, privacy and convenience for its citizens.
For more information on the FIDO Level 2 certified YubiKey lineup including the Security Key Series (Black) or YubiKey 5 FIPS Series, please visit the Yubico site. Products are available for purchase on the Yubico store, through Yubico’s dedicated sales team, or from any Yubico-approved channel partners and resellers.