Here Fido!

by | Jul 10, 2017 | Hardware, Technical

Honestly, I don’t know how any of us escape being hacked every day.

The online security warnings are so dire that it’s probably the sheer number of human beings on the planet that prevents us all having our identities stolen, or our accounts hacked, or our data breached.

We can’t succumb to this kind of fear or we’d be frozen in our daily lives…kinda like being reluctant to get in the car, worried we’d be in a wreck.

However, people who take certain sensible online precautions can diminish the prospect of being a victim.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) or two-factor verification is a useful step many take.  Most big online platforms like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow you to set this up in your profile.

You then use an app like Authy, or Google Authenticator on your smartphone to provide you an up-to-the-second code that is another level of security beyond a username and password to gain access to your account.

Some credit card services or programs like PayPal can also send you a code via SMS (texting) for that extra layer of authentication.

Apparently, these days though, even THAT’S not enough.  There are few 100% fool-proof security regimes, and 2FA is also under attack (or your cell service is down). So now, there’s another level of 2FA security that requires a hardware interface you carry with you, and pairs with 2FA that’s even tougher to crack.

The 2FA security key is typically a simple USB device that lets FaceBook or Google, etc. know it’s genuinely YOU.  It requires you to insert into a standard USB port, touch an identifier, and the program/app/or platform confirms your identity.

You can search for such a device, but your search will inevitably land you on the home page of Yubico.  The popular USB device Yubico devised is called FIDO, and sells for $18.  Here’s a CNN Tech story that fleshes out the details in layman’s terms.

I don’t know about you, but $18 seems to be a small price to pay for some internet security peace-of-mind.  I plan to get one, and I’ll let you know if I run into any configuration issues with it.


[P.S. Lest you think I’m getting some kinda kickback for this mention — and in the interest of fair journalism — here’s an article that blows USB 2FA outa the water!  Ugh…who to believe?]



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