A YubiKey is a One-Time Password (OTP) generator device. It generates a unique sequence of characters as an OTP every time its button is pressed. As the term suggests, a One-Time Password is valid only for a single use and cannot be used again for authentication. YubiKeys are typically used in implementing strong two-factor authentication solutions which provide much stronger security when compared to using only a username and password. The YubiKey supports multiple types of configurations and may be used to generate One-Time Passwords as well as static passwords.

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The YubiKey acts as a simple one-button generic USB keyboard which may be used from any computer platform or browser without needing to install any client software or special drivers.

The YubiKey has two configuration slots. When a YubiKey is configured to use both slots the user may select between each configured output by pressing the button on the YubiKey for different lengths of time:

  1. Short press (0.3 – 1.5 seconds) and release – OTP from configuration slot #1 is yielded
  2. Long press (2.5 – 5 seconds) and release – OTP from configuration slot #2 is yielded

More information can be found in Section 4 of the YubiKey Manual.

Posted in: 2. The YubiKey