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Stina Ehrensvard

Google Unveils FIDO U2F Security Key Support

Google today announced on its security blog an extra layer of security for Google Accounts based on the emerging strong authentication standard; Universal 2nd Factor or U2F.

This is a good day for the Internet.

As a driving contributor to FIDO U2F specifications, Yubico celebrates this big day by releasing a new blue campaign version of our YubiKey that is designed to work with U2F support Google has added to Chrome. This U2F-only Security Key, as well as our multi-technology YubiKey NEO, pioneers the market for U2F devices.

This U2F support is a milestone in a standards journey that began a couple of years ago. Along with Internet thought leaders, we recognized the advantages of high-security, public key cryptography for scalability and for protecting against advanced Trojans, phishing and man-in-the-middle attacks. With a mission to make great security available for every Internet user, we decided to focus on the essential; to keep it really lean.

Below is a short summary of the main differentiators between U2F security keys and traditional smart card- and hardware-based authentication devices:

  • No need for drivers, client software and middleware – Uses native drivers and built-in support directly into the browser. No installation, no configuration – just works !
  • Highly scalable while protecting your privacy – Generates a new set of encryption keys for every service, that is only stored on the specific service it connects to. With this approach no secrets are shared among service providers, and even low-cost security keys can support any number of services.
  • Great user experience – To register and authenticate, all it takes is a simple touch of a button!

In January 2013 Wired Magazine first wrote about the U2F project. As a response to all the inquiries Yubico received, we published a blog summarizing our vision of a single key for securing access to all Internet. Since then, U2F has continued to develop within the FIDO Alliance open standards consortium.

And now our vision has been turned into reality.

You can get your own FIDO U2F Security Key today at Amazon.com. A key that you own and control allowing you to securely login into your Google Account, which lets you access services such as Gmail. The same is true for any number of service providers who choose to adopt simple and strong Universal 2nd Factor authentication.

A special thanks to everyone in the FIDO Alliance working groups for making this happen!

Learn more about the new FIDO U2F Security Key by Yubico

David Maples

User-Centric ID Live

If you are attending User-Centric ID Live at the Washington DC Convention Center, be sure to check out the ¨Drivers and innovators: Meet leaders from the major identity initiatives¨ session today (10/15/13) from 4:00pm – 5:15pm. Our CEO and Founder, Stina Ehrensvard, will be participating on this panel with other FIDO Alliance members from Google, Blackberry, NXP Semiconductors and Nok Nok Labs. The panel will be discussing how the FIDO Alliance works on open standards for simpler, stronger open authentication standards.

Also, do not miss the session “Track 1: Identity Ecosystems & Technologies: User-centric identity concepts, technologies and how they will impact business”  tomorrow (10/16/13)  from 9-10:15 AM. In this session Stina will be presenting more details about Universal 2nd Factor Authentication (U2F). As one of the technical specifications hosted by FIDO Alliance, U2F introduces the first driverless smart card with user presence. Successfully deployed inside Google, it also challenges the traditional business model for secure online identities, allowing users to buy and control any number of real and “anonymous” identities to easily and securely access any number of services.

User-Centric ID Live is an event focused on the business of user-centric identity. Conference sessions focus on technologies, standards, implementations, applications, and business models in the new user-centric identity ecosystem.

Stina Ehrensvard

Yubico at TechCrunch Disrupt

As a Swedish-American innovator, Yubico has been selected to represent cutting edge Swedish innovation, and will demonstrate the YubiKey NEO on Tuesday, September 10, at the Nordic Pavilion at TechCrunch Disrupt.

At the event, Yubico will also outline the basics for U2F (Universal 2nd Factor); the new online security standards initiative, developed by Google, Yubico and NXP, focused on scaling high security smart card technology beyond government and enterprise to every Internet user. The YubiKey NEO with initial U2F specifications are already successfully proven with thousands of users, and by the end of the year, we expect more than 200,000 YubiKey NEOs will be deployed within Google and elsewhere for U2F authentication.

To TechCrunch Disrupt web site

Stina Ehrensvard

Yubico joins FIDO Alliance

Yubico has joined FIDO Alliance as a board member, and will be a part of the Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) working group that Google is creating  focusing on open authentication standards work for strong, universal second-factor devices.

The U2F working group will continue the work that was presented earlier this year in an IEEE paper and Wired, based on the technical specifications that jave now been successfully proven with thousands of YubiKey NEOs and users. By end of the year we expect more than 200,000 U2F protocol compliant YubiKey NEOs being deployed within Google and elsewhere.

U2F will be available as a stand-alone offering, and the working group will also collaborate closely with the already existing FIDO UAF Technical working group, to ensure harmonization of specifications. UAF aims to create a web eco-system including a broader range of authentication methods, including biometrics.

 

Stina Ehrensvard

Yubico’s Vision for Secure Online Identities

Wired Magazine recently announced that Google is working on a new online authentication protocol as an alternative to legacy username/password login. Yubico and NXP are co-creators of this protocol, designed to be integrated across a wide range of devices, including SIM cards, YubiKey NEOs, or a ring you carry on your finger, and to solve some of the fundamental problems with online identity. And these are problems we need to fix soon. Very soon. Or billions of people, along with the great creation named the Internet, will be in serious trouble.

At this stage we cannot say which route we will choose to ensure mass adoption of this new security protocol. But we can say that Yubico has decided to engage in the project as we believe it could be a game changer.

And this is the vision: 

Imagine that you have one single key and one single password to securely access all your Internet life. 

The key would not be issued, controlled or hosted by a government or a service provider. Instead, you would buy this key at your retail store, such as 7-Eleven or Amazon.com, similar to a gift card or pre-paid phone card.

The key would remain in your own full control, guarding your privacy. And you may even choose to have multiple keys and identities, enabling you to protect your digital identity while remaining anonymous.

From your computer or mobile device, you would be able to instantly, with no required software installed, connect your key to any number of online services. Placed in the USB-port or tapped to your NFC phone/tablet/laptop you would replace all your multiple, long, painful passwords with a simple touch. Combined with a simple PIN or password, you would then securely access your email, bank, healthcare records or any online account.

With built-in support for platforms and browsers, the key would offer superior security, protecting against man-in-the-middle and phishing – but with no drivers or client software needed.

With an open source approach and a clever ecosystem, there would be no fees for service providers, and the costly Certificate Authority model associated with traditional smart cards could be eliminated. But more importantly, there would be no single token or service provider who would control your digital identity or any cryptographic secrets.

Yes, there are a few obstacles to overcome, including aligning influential thought-leaders and global stake holders on the same page. But if enough people want to, it would be possible to create a new, really simple, secure and affordable online identity solution as outlined above.

Bring it out – click – go!

PS. Please find additional comments on this topic in the Future of Authentication FAQ