Yubico Looks to Lightning Port to Bring U2F Security to the iPhone

Yubico has announced a new mobile SDK that enables Lightning support on iOS.

It’s a workaround to Apple’s notorious unwillingness to open its NFC technology to third party developers, and the lack of USB ports on mobile devices in general. These factors have thus far prevented Yubico from establishing connectivity between Apple devices and its YubiKey security key products, which rely on USB or NFC connectivity to let users confirm that they are actually working on their devices in person by tapping on Yubico’s hardware.

Now, Yubico is looking to remedy that situation by exploiting the Lightning cable connector featured in contemporary iPhones and iPads. The company has announced the “Yubico Lightning Project”, and is inviting developers to use its Yubico Mobile SDK to develop FIDO U2F-compliant authentication solutions for iOS apps using a Lightning connection.

In announcing the development on its website, Yubico stressed that 79 percent of all internet use is expected to occur on mobile devices by the end of this year – with Apple being a major player in the mobile sector, of course. And Yubico partners Okta and Keeper Security offered their support for the project, with the latter’s CTO, Craig Lurey, commenting that providing U2F Yubico security “to all users on their iPhone and Android devices is an amazing and exciting capability we’ll be ready to deploy as soon as it becomes available.”

It’s good news for iPhone users. Apple is already renowned for the biometric security of its mobile devices, and adding YubiKey support to the mix should help to make end users’ security even more watertight.