YubiKey Bio adds hardware biometric authentication (first look)

OK, most of you won’t know or care about biometric authentication for computers and other devices. But in the age where cybercriminals are smarter than the guys that want to stop them, the YubiKey Bio (FIDO edition) is the safest way to secure your hardware and online presence.

In its simplest form, it replaces passwords with your fingerprint to secure online personal accounts and hardware. Its more complex form can secure an entire organisation’s computing environment. It works on and across Windows, Linux, Chrome OS and macOS. There are other versions for Android and iOS.

When we say online accounts, think (this is a tiny selection of an ever-growing list)

  • Google (Chrome) or Microsoft (Edge browser)
  • LastPass, 1Password, Dashlane
  • Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube
  • Cloud storage Dropbox, Google Cloud
  • Bitcoin accounts
  • Email accounts – Gmail, Outlook
  • Gaming platforms

FIDO Edition means it supports FID0/2, WebAuthn and Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) and is particularly effective for cloud computing, think Outlook, Microsoft 365 and G Suite.

Its unique selling proposition is that the Bio Edition demands your physical presence.

YubiKey Bio

WebsiteRange and  Product Page
PriceUSB-A US$80 and USB-C US$85
FromYubico online and selected Australian resellers – TrustPanda
CompanyThe YubiKey is a hardware authentication device manufactured by Yubico to protect access to computers, networks, and online services that supports one-time passwords, public-key cryptography, and authentication.
MoreCybershack Yubico news and reviews

First impression – not for Joe and Jane Average

This takes hardware and cloud security to a level that Joe and Jane Average did not understand. So, my caveat is that you need to understand terms like MFA (multi-factor identification), 2FA (two-factor authentication), FIDO (Fast ID Online) and how to set up impregnable security.

If all you intend to use it for is to replace Windows Hello PIN or Facial ID, it is not for you.

Otherwise, it is not unlike a USB-A or USB-C flash drive, and you must insert it into your computer port, install it and link it to your cloud apps. Then you enrol up to five fingerprints, and it works.

The USB-A or USB-C will work with a converter adapter.

Windows or Yubico Authenticator app

Windows Hello supports a security key, and you can do the entire setup there. You can also download the Authenticator app for other OS.

IP68 for a beating

Crushproof, water and dust resistant – it should also withstand the occasional pocket wash.

Cybershack view – YubiKey Bio is more for enterprise and cloud use

If you have made it here, you are interested in security and want to use a hardware device. This may not be the model you need, but don’t worry, Yubico has a range of YubiKeys that will fit the bill.

And you may want to talk with a Yubico reseller to make sure.