Physical security keys are a great way to make sure your devices are locked down, and are often considered safer than standard two-factor authentication methods. Yubico is one of the leaders in security keys, and the company announced at CES 2019 that it is working on a version of its YubiKey that works with a Lightning connector so it can easily connect to iPhones and iPads.
According to the company, the YubiKey for Lightning is designed to work with both USB-C and Lightning connectors, which will allow you to use the physical key to authenticate your identity on a desktop and mobile device. Prior to the announcement of the Lightning-compatible key, the best way to connect with an iOS device was via a Bluetooth connection.
There are concerns regarding the security of Bluetooth pairing that made that option sketchy for the security-minded, and NFC connectivity isn’t possible given Apple’s current restrictions on that type of connection.
The YubiKey for Lightning will hopefully solve that problem. Yubico has been working on building out security keys for iOS for some time now, including launching its Lightning Project back in 2018 in order to allow developers to use the YubiKey to authenticate a user’s identity.
It will take time for app developers to adopt the code needed to accept the YubiKey for Lightning, and it will also be a while before the security key becomes available to the public. Yubico just received approval for the Lightning key from Apple’s MFi Program shortly before CES. For the time being, the product is in private preview and there is no announced public release date for it.
“Yubico’s goal is to make strong, simple authentication truly ubiquitous, across all services, devices, and operating systems,” Stina Ehrensvard, CEO and Founder of Yubico, said in a statement. Stina said it is Yubico’s hope that the YubiKey for Lightning will help to “deliver on our mission to enable a passwordless future for all.”
In addition to to the YubiKey for Lightning, Yubico also showed off a new, simplified Security Key NFC that can connect to devices via NFC. It works with hundreds of websites, services, and applications including Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and a number of major password managers. The new Security Key NFC is available from Yubico for $27.