Tired of remembering all your iPhone passwords? Soon you won’t have to
It comes at a cost, of course.
As any iPhone user (or smartphone user, really) can attest, our passwords are a most precious commodity. Keeping all these passwords organized, however, is a different story.
Some of us simply write them down, some use password managers, but more often than not, we settle with using one variation of the same password across dozens of apps and devices, leaving us incredibly vulnerable to identity theft.
But what if there was a device that not only saved all of our passwords but allowed us to bypass ever having to even enter them again?
There’s a dongle for that
Enter the YubiKey, a USB-sized token that fits right on your keyring and does exactly that. Developed by Yubico, the Yubikey acts a form of two-factor authentication (2FA) for your phone in addition to the aforementioned benefits — which, as the recent Reddit hack proved — is a pretty valuable commodity.
We’re hitting the ground running in 2019 with two exciting announcements! Introducing the new Security Key NFC by Yubico and the YubiKey for Lightning – Private Preview: https://t.co/WW1lgpKlZ1 pic.twitter.com/9Ogm4aXTzg
— Yubico @ CES – Booth: 312, Westgate (@Yubico) January 8, 2019
Unfortunately, the Yubikey hasn’t been available for the iPhone… that is, until now.
More about the iPhone Yubikey
Having just received UFI certification (technical speak for “Apple’s blessing”), the company will soon begin rolling out YubiKeys that fit Apple’s lightning ports… with a couple stipulations, of course, (via Wired):
Yubico won’t have an actual product until later this year and needs developer buy-in for its Lightning token to reach its full potential. Apple does not yet natively support FIDO2, an open source standard that lets you access your online accounts simply by plugging in a hardware token rather than using a password. So if you want to use a Lightning-compatible YubiKey with Gmail, say, Google would have to provide support.
And not only that, but the YubiKey currently operates using a… let’s call it “less than reliable” form of connection known as near-field communication (NFC) to actually pair with your phone.
“At a high level, today there are three ways you can communicate with the iPhone,” says Jerrod Chong, senior vice president of product at Yubico. “You can communicate over NFC, but it’s very limited in terms of what you can do. You can communicate over Bluetooth; the challenge there is that it’s not super reliable. And then the third way is a hard connection.”
So yeah, there are some kinks still to be worked out. It all really comes down to whether the threat of having your data hacked (which is happening pretty much every day anyway) due to a shaky connection is worth never having to flub a password four times in a row with your clumsy sausage fingers again.
The choice is an obvious one, IMO.
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