Having spare keys is a best practice which ensures that if we lose our primary key, we still won’t be locked out of our important accounts
Think of your YubiKey as you would any other 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. Well not surprisingly, we also need spare keys for our digital devices!
Importance of having a spare
Having a spare key gives us the assurance that if we lose our primary keys, that we will not be without access to critical accounts when we need them most. No need to fear being locked out of any accounts, and no need to go through a lengthy recovery and identity verification process to recover them.
No need to go through a lengthy recovery and identity verification process to regain access to each account.
How to register a spare
Registering a spare key is exactly the same process as registering your primary key. Please visit yubico.com/setup for information on how to register your YubiKeys. Once you identify the specific YubiKey you’d like to set up, select the services you want to register your YubiKey with and simply follow the instructions. Voila!
Protip: The best time to register your spare keys is at the same time as your primary key. By registering all of your keys at the same time, you only have to visit each service once, plus you eliminate your chance of losing your primary key before having a chance to register your backup keys.
Where to store your spares
When your spares arrive, make sure to keep them somewhere safe but accessible – like in a wallet, file cabinet, or personal safe. If you choose to stay with one YubiKey, that’s fine, but be careful not to lose or misplace it. If you do, you may be without access to your accounts for a while.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How many spares should I get?
A: Many of our customers actually purchase several spares for maximum security and peace of mind. This is not a bad idea when guarding extremely critical accounts. Starting off, you should be fine with 1-2 spare keys.
Q: How many spares can I add to each service/account?
A: It depends on the service. Lastpass, for example, allows you to add five security keys per account. Check your service’s security settings for more info.
Q: Should my spare key be the exact same as my primary key?
A: Nope, this is not necessary. There is nothing wrong with purchasing a backup key that is a different form factor than your primary key. It will work the same as long as it is from the same YubiKey series.
Q: Do I have to register my backup key immediately?
A: No, but it is highly recommended. If your backup key isn’t registered to your accounts and you lose your primary key, then it will be of no help to you. The point of having a registered backup key is that when you lose your primary key, you can still login to all of your accounts because you have a second verified security key.