FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) keys are becoming increasingly popular as a way to secure online accounts and protect against identity theft. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what FIDO keys are, how they work, and what the user experience is like when using them.
First, let’s talk about what FIDO keys are. FIDO keys are small, portable devices that can be used to authenticate a user’s identity when logging into an online account. They work by using public key cryptography to generate a one-time use encryption key that is used to authenticate the user’s identity to the online service. This means that even if a hacker intercepts the key, they would not be able to use it for future logins.
FIDO keys come in different forms factors such as USB, NFC, and Bluetooth, and typically have a button that the user needs to press to confirm their identity. When the button is pressed, the FIDO key generates the one-time use encryption key that is used to authenticate the user’s identity.
One of the biggest benefits of using FIDO keys is that they provide an extra layer of security beyond a traditional username and password combinations. Passwords can be easily guessed or stolen, but with a FIDO key, even if a hacker gets hold of your password, they wouldn’t be able to access your account without the physical key.
FIDO keys are also a great alternative to traditional two-factor authentication methods like SMS or phone call-based verification. These methods are vulnerable to SIM swapping or phishing attacks, but a FIDO key is immune to these types of attacks.
When it comes to setting up a FIDO key, the process is relatively simple. First, you’ll need to purchase a FIDO key from a reputable vendor. Once you have your key, you’ll need to register it with your online account. This is typically done by connecting the key to a USB port on your computer, and then configuring the security settings of your account to use the FIDO key for authentication.
The process of using a FIDO key to log into an online account is also straightforward. When you try to log in, you’ll be prompted to press the button on your FIDO key to confirm your identity. Once you press the button, the key will generate the one-time use encryption key that is used to authenticate your identity.
One thing to note is that some online services may require you to enter a password even when using a FIDO key. This is done as an additional security measure to ensure that the user who is trying to log in is the actual owner of the account. However, this is not the case for all services, some only require the FIDO key and no password.
One potential downside of using FIDO keys is that they can be lost or stolen, just like any other physical object. However, you can mitigate this risk by registering multiple FIDO keys to your online accounts, so that you always have a backup.
Another thing to keep in mind is that not all online services support FIDO keys, so you may need to use a traditional password and two-factor authentication method when logging into some accounts. However, many popular web browsers and online services, including Google, Microsoft, and Dropbox, do support FIDO keys, so you should be able to use them for a majority of your online accounts.
In conclusion, FIDO keys are a great way to secure online accounts and protect against identity theft. They provide an extra layer of security beyond traditional username and password combinations and are a great alternative to traditional two-factor authentication methods. The user experience of setting up and using a FIDO key is relatively simple, and the added security benefits are well worth the investment.