“Devices like Yubico’s USB and wireless Yubikeys physically separate cryptographic data from the devices using it.”
There will be “increased awareness and adoption of hardware-based authentication and encryption devices using public key cryptography throughout 2018,” argues Yubico CEO and founder Stina Ehrensvard.
Writing in a post on the company’s blog, Ehrensvard explains the unique appeal of this approach. While contemporary computers and mobile devices have security systems built into their hardware, they nevertheless “have big attack surfaces, making them vulnerable to attacks from many fronts, including malware, phishing, malicious apps, Wifi exploits, VPN masking, and social engineering.” Meanwhile, current digital threats “require stronger cryptography with a tighter integration to the applications they’re designed to protect,” Ehrensvard writes.
That’s where public key cryptography comes into play. Devices like Yubico’s USB and wireless Yubikeys physically separate cryptographic data from the devices using it. At the same time, they can offer greater privacy to end users by keeping their sensitive information off of a given computer or mobile device, and not tying sensitive personal information to authentication. Their portability also lends itself to the increasing flexibility of tech savvy work environments, while they present a simple authentication solution for other workplaces where employees’ personal smartphones aren’t allowed to be used with enterprise IT infrastructure.
It’s a strong case for such hardware keys, and Ehrensvard says that Yubico is currently working with major standards organizations like the FIDO Alliance, W3C, OpenID, and IETF to ensure that they’ll be even more widely supported in the months to come.