A few tips before you get started
Have your key ready
Have your key(s) ready to plug into your computer, preferably the same way you will plug it in later when you authenticate: i.e., either with or without an adapter.
Prepare trusted device
A trusted device is one that is not public and has an up to date operating system with the latest security patches installed. Have a computer running either Windows 10 (1903 or later) or any of the following with the Chrome browser 90 or later: macOS (Catalina or later), Chrome OS 90 or later, Ubuntu 18.04 or later.
Do you have a spare key?
Yubico always recommends adding two keys to each of your online services and accounts; one primary and one secondary as backup in case the primary is lost. Read more about backup (spare) YubiKeys here.
*Reminder: Not all services are compatible with all series. If your backup is from a different series, be sure to use the setup flow specific to your spare key for best results.
Compatible accounts and services
The YubiKey 5 Series supports most modern and legacy authentication standards. To find compatible accounts and services, use the Works with YubiKey tool below.
YubiKeys are configured and ready to go out of the box. For additional customizations such as PIN setup, NFC and USB configuration, PIV setup and more, use the tools below.
Use the YubiKey Manager to configure FIDO2, OTP and PIV functionality on your YubiKey on Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems. You can also use the YubiKey Manager to configure particular settings on your YubiKey, like setting up a PIN.
Use the YubiKey Personalization Tool to perform batch programming of a large number of YubiKeys, check firmware, and to configure advanced settings such as slot configuration and fast triggering to prevent accidental triggering of nano-sized YubiKeys.
Some services require an authenticator app. Use the Yubico Authenticator app to securely store your credentials on a YubiKey opposed to your mobile phone, so that your secrets cannot be compromised.
Advanced use cases
Computer login tools
Use your YubiKey to secure your computer or laptop. Make it a requirement to have your YubiKey before being able to log into your Windows or Mac machine.
Interested in integrating YubiKeys with your software? Check out the different developer resources we offer!
Frequently asked questions
What is 2FA?
2FA is a method to confirm a user’s claimed online identity by using a combination of two different types of factors. Factors used for 2FA include something that you know (e.g. password or PIN), or something that you have (e.g. a security key or phone) or something that you are (e.g. facial recognition). For more detailed information, please visit our 2FA glossary page.
What is a YubiKey?
The YubiKey works as an extra layer of security to your online accounts. When logging into an account with a YubiKey registered, the user must have the account login credentials (username+password), and the YubiKey registered to the account. This physical layer of protection prevents many account takeovers that can be done virtually. Thus the YubiKey is a form of 2FA (two-factor authentication).
A single YubiKey has multiple functions for securing your login to email, online services, apps, computers, and even physical spaces. Use any YubiKey feature, or use them all. The versatile YubiKey requires no software installation or battery and therefore it is ready to use directly out of the package. Just login to the service you want to add that extra protection to and set the Key up.
What happens if I lose my YubiKey?
We at Yubico always recommend you to secure your account with an additional YubiKey, please see the section above named “Is it important to have a Spare Key?”. This additional YubiKey can be used as a spare key in case your primary YubiKey is misplaced or stolen. If you do not have an additional YubiKey added, it is recommended to have another form of 2FA added to your accounts. Please note, if you do end up being locked out of your account, you will need to contact the service for help with account recovery.
Is it important to have a Spare Key?
Yes, we at Yubico always recommend having more than one YubiKey. This way one key can be used as a primary Key, and the other can be used as a Spare Key. The importance of having a spare Key is well established. We have them for our most valuable assets in life – our houses, our cars, our PO and safety deposit boxes, etc. Not surprisingly, we also need spare keys for our digital devices! Having a spare key gives you the assurance that if you lose your primary key, you will not be without access to critical accounts when needing them most. In other words, with a spare Key you have no need to fear being locked out of any accounts, and no need to go through a lengthy recovery and identity verification process to regain access to each account.
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Check out our helpdesk center where there are tons of knowledge base articles to help arm you with the necessary info to better your online security.