With millions of consumers relying on Gmail and Google Apps, Yubico has developed Security Keys to help keep their accounts safe from hackers. Yubico’s U2F-compliant YubiKeys provide an additional secret beyond your password for when you access Gmail. The extra layer of protection is called a second factor. So even if your username and password (first factor) is stolen, hackers cannot get into your account without having possession of your Security Key (second factor). The only way someone could get in to your account would be to have both your password and your physical key — not very likely.

A stolen Security Key is useless without the account username and password. If a key is lost, a new key can be added to a Google Account and the lost key deleted. Gmail and Google Apps users can be assured their account is secure when they activate what Google calls second-factor verification.

Here’s an explanation:

What’s the Secret

The U2F Security Key, the YubiKey Edge (and YubiKey Edge-n) and the YubiKey NEO (and YubiKey NEO-n) support the emerging FIDO Alliance standard called U2F (Universal Second Factor). U2F uses something called public key cryptography, which involves using a really hard math problem to create a pair of keys used to verify access to an app, such as Gmail. The key pair is one portion of the strong authentication equation: “something you know” (such as your username/password) and “something you have” (such as a YubiKey). The user just plugs the Yubico device into their USB port, enters their existing username/password, and touches the Yubikey button when prompted. Installation of software is not required and there is no battery to charge.

Simple Steps to Secure Login

Required pieces

  • Latest version of Google Chrome browser
  • U2F Security Key, YubiKey Edge, YubiKey Edge-n, YubiKey NEO, or YubiKey NEO-n
  • One finger (the YubiKey button is a capacitive sensor not a biometric)
  • A Google Account (Gmail or Google Apps)

“How To” Associate YubiKey with Gmail

Even better for Businesses

Google Apps for Work and Google Drive for Work are ready for YubiKey out-of-the-box. Find out more about YubiKey and Google for Work.

Running Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox?

Soon adding FIDO-based second-factor verification will be easier on these two platforms as Mozilla is currently building support for U2F and Microsoft is working within the FIDO Alliance to eventually bring support to Windows 10. But for now, there are some additional technical steps to take for Yubikey two-factor authentication if your browser isn’t Google Chrome.

Here is a one-time password solution for Gmail that works with Yubikeys that do not currently support U2F. It relies on a free Windows-based helper app built by Yubico.

Secure Your Google Account Today

YubiKeys are available worldwide on Amazon and through the Yubico Store.