Security Keys: Practical Cryptographic Second Factors for the Modern Web

Added on January 13, 2017, and rated ★★★★★ by 1 reader.

Security keys like the YubiKey have emerged as the most secure second authentication factor, and this paper out of Google explains the motivations that lead to their creation, and the design that makes them work.

From the abstract:

“Security Keys” are second-factor devices that protect users against phishing and man-in-the-middle attacks. Users carry a single device and can self-register it with any online service that supports the protocol. The devices are simple to implement and deploy, simple to use, privacy preserving, and secure against strong attackers. We have shipped support for Security Keys in the Chrome web browser and in Google’s online services. We show that Security Keys lead to both an increased level of security and user satisfaction by analyzing a two year deployment which began within Google and has extended to our consumer-facing web applications. The Security Key design has been standardized by the FIDO Alliance, an organization with more than 250 member companies spanning the industry. Currently, Security Keys have been deployed by Google, Dropbox, and GitHub.

They're also remarkably cheap! Order a few and start securing your life in a day or two.