USB Security Keys: No More Passwords?

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Facebook just released a new set of privacy tools, including one that's very useful in keeping unsavory characters from messing with your profile (or worse). The update allows users access through USB security keys supporting the universal second factor (or U2F) standard. You can confirm your identity with a key tap. Note that Sunrise doesn't procure these keys, but we can create custom packaging for them!

Many sites already recommend two-factor identification or login approvals--basically, when you log into Gmail from a new computer, it asks you to confirm with a text message or a code generator--but I'm sure I'm not the first person who's forgotten their phone or not had it nearby. Having a physical key might seem like a step back in our age of smart homes, but it does offer certain advantages. 

USB Security Key Advantages

While SMS two-factor authentication is probably the most popular option, the USB security key is a great option for workplaces. Security keys are faster and can be used for multiple services (in addition to Facebook and Google, cloud services like Dropbox also rely on this kind of authentication). 

These USB security keys are also practically immune to popular identity theft schemes. Phishing is when someone poses as someone else; the classic example is an ousted royal attempting to reclaim their fortune, but they need your bank account information to do so... Man-in-the-middle (mitm) attacks are another form where two parties believe to be communicating directly with each other, but someone is monitoring or altering the in-between. It could be active eavesdropping, impersonation, or some other kind of control of a situation. Wireless access points are often used for this type of information theft. 

From Facebook - USB Security

Moving Beyond Passwords

Removing passwords has long been a popular futurism trope. From fingerprint analysis to scanning eyeballs and faces, many of these are still fairly easily hacked. The USB security key helps further lay the groundwork for password elimination in a secure way that doesn't rely on a cell phone. Moving to a password-less world would mean that theft on the scale of Heartbleed But or Target or numerous banks wouldn't compromise millions of accounts

So far, only a few browsers work with security keys (Chome and Opera, to be exact). And unless you have an Android phone with NFC and the latest versions of Chrome and Google Authenticator, you won't be able to use a USB security NFC-enabled key to log in. Like any new technology or process, adoption is the biggest factor that will lead to more services and devices becoming compatible. Time will tell if we can do away with passwords completely. In the meantime, Sunrise can create custom boxes for your USB security keys!