What is a USB security key and how do you use it

Create a unique password and activate Feature Two-factor authentication is one of the best ways to protect your online accounts, but if you want more digital security using a USB Security Key is the most robust and reliable option.

What are USB Portable Security Keys

It comes with a design similar to common USB storage drives and is also known as a USB Security Key or Device Security Key. They are connected via a USB or USB-C port and contain an internal chip that contains a set of codes and protocols.

Each of these physical keys can communicate with servers over the Internet to verify that you are the account holder.

Some models come with additional features such as the ability to connect via Bluetooth. or NFC without having to pair it with the device.

The key provides an additional layer of security by acting as a standalone two-factor authentication factor instead of receiving the code on the phone. Which can be intercepted by cybercriminals.

As a result, if an account is required to enter a two-factor authentication code to continue. Simply insert the key into the USB port to open the site.

This means that it acts as an exclusive access point and no one can access your data unless they have both your password and your security key because it knows the accounts you have stored on it previously.

How to use a USB security key

Setting up a USB security key for devices is easy, all you have to do is log into the website and make sure that the two-factor authentication option is enabled. Then look for the option to add more factors to your two-factor authentication registration.

Then press to add a new operator and if the website supports security keys. You see an option that says USB Security Key, External Security Key, or something similar.

If so, click on it and then follow the instructions to set up the option to open your account on the site with the security key.

It is worth noting that some sites such as Facebook require you to insert the key into the USB port immediately. Others, such as Google, require you to fill in some information boxes first.

Once you plug in the key the website reads it and asks you to name the key. And if you’re using a recent version of Windows 11, it might ask you to add a passcode to the key as well.

From now on you can use the key as a second factor for any website where the key is registered. For some sites, the key will become the default two-factor authentication method. While some other sites let you rank two-factor authentication methods in order of priority.

Disadvantages of using portable security keys

The first drawback is the possibility of losing the key and to avoid this you suggest Most of the major websites You set up backup two-factor authentication methods when you sign the key, but there’s always a near-guaranteed chance that you could permanently lose access to a particular account if you lose your key.

While the prices for such keys are also critical, you can get a U2F or WebAuthn key for as low as $15.

But some websites and workplaces require specialized security protocols, and as a result, the purchase price of the key to use in these cases can be as high as $85.

Finally, limited usability is something to keep in mind. There are very few sites that support the use of security keys yet.

Read also: Top 4 security keys to protect your accounts from hacking

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