YubiKeys are often used in combination with a mobile authentication technology, or as a faster, more secure alternative with higher privacy benefits.
Statistics for Google’s deployment of U2F-powered YubiKeys shows 4x faster login, 40% fewer support calls, and significant fraud reduction compared to their own Google Authenticator mobile app.
Android & NFC
The YubiKey NEO offers mobile authentication through NFC contactless technology (NDEF type 4). It works with Android, Windows, and other devices by just tapping the YubiKey against the NFC-enabled device. Services that have made support for NFC YubiKey include password manager Lastpass (OTP) and GitHub (U2F).
iOS & Bluetooth
Yubico is researching YubiKey support for Bluetooth. This will address iOS devices, where NFC is not currently open for third-party solutions. USB and NFC are, however, more robust and secure communication methods.
Yubico is currently piloting a mobile client, enabling U2F crypto to be integrated directly into mobile apps. This software is a complement to the higher security YubiKey, for accessing an application from a phone — not using a phone to login to a computer.
Many enterprises and consumers successfully combine YubiKeys with a phone for the following reasons:
Security – Any software downloaded on a phone is increasingly vulnerable for malware. SMS authentication is already hacked at scale. A device that is not connected to the internet offers the best protection.
Backup – By allowing multiple, affordable backup keys, support costs can be significantly reduced when compared to users who are dependent on one single phone.
Speed – YubiKey authentication is instant, compared to the time it takes to pick up a phone, access an app, and type a six-digit code. Or retype the code if you didn’t type the code correctly the first time.
Accessibility – Many organizations do not allow their staff to use a phone at work. The phone connection may not work, and it can be complicated when traveling internationally.
Durability – YubiKeys do not break easily and never run out of batteries.