Mobile Security: Explaining Fido U2F

by Michael Harris October 15, 2016

Mobile Security: Explaining Fido U2F

There is no denying that we are living in an unprecedented age of technology.

The internet has taken over the world and mobile devices are a very strong part of that world. Almost  two-thirds of Americans go online on a daily basis, and they are using multiple devices to do it. 

But what about mobile security?

While we are living through a golden age of technological advances, we are also becoming increasingly susceptible to security breaches and cyber attacks. Phishing scams and identity theft have almost become mainstream. Can we really trust that our passwords are safe anymore? 

Mobile security is absolutely essential - for all of us. If you're not protecting your online security, it's like leaving your house every day with the key on the outside of your front door.   

Mobile Security - A Way Forward

If you haven't given much thought to your mobile security and online privacy up to this point, it's time to get moving. Your smartphone, your laptop, your tablet and any other portable computing system that you use are open to attack. 

Let's talk solutions: we're sharing the next step in the evolution of account security, and it's called Fido U2F. It's cheap, it's durable, and it's a password security key you can touch. 

Eager to learn more? We've got you covered. Read on for the full breakdown of Fido U2F. But first, let's talk about 2nd Factor Authentication - the power behind Fido U2F

What is 2nd Factor Authentication?

2nd Factor Authentication is an important way to protect your online accounts. 

Usually, while online, we're asked to provide one password to log into an account. Most of us pick a memorable password that corresponds to some epic event in our life. So far so good?

Worryingly, we tend to use the same password for a whole host of different accounts. We know this is dangerous, but remembering a range of different passwords proves a little difficult, so we use the same old tired password anyway. Go figure. 

Providing one password to log in with is called one-factor authentication. It's not particularly secure and it is wide open to all kinds of cyber attacks and phishing scams.

2nd Factor Authentication adds a second level of authentication to your account login. It requires two different types of credentials, like something you have and something you know. 

In simple terms, its like having a handset lock AND a deadbolt lock on your front door; both using entirely different keys. Sure, someone might find one key under your mat but as long as your deadbolt and 2nd key are secure, the gateway to your private home remains locked.

So, Where Does Fido U2F Come In?

U2F was originally conceived by Google, Yubico, and NXP and welcomed into the Fido Alliance around 2013. Fido U2F is a universal 2nd Factor Authentication key. It's a physical USB security key standardized and maintained by the Fido Alliance, and it hugely enhances your online password security. 

What Exactly Is Fido U2F?

Fido U2F is an open authentication standard that enables you to securely access any number of online services with one single device, instantly. It operates natively on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux operating systems, as well as all major browsers.

The Fido USB key comes with support built into most web browsers. You slot the USB security key into your device and your browser communicates with it using secure encryption technology. It creates a one-time password and it works with a simple touch to authenticate online services.

What Does Using It Look Like?

Using the Fido u2F device could not be more simple. 

Consider, for example, that you are logging in to your Gmail account. You are asked to enter your username and password, so you do. Now, you simply insert the U2F key for identity assertion and you touch the device. The browser and the security key will now communicate directly.

Your gmail account session is now secured by something you know (password) and something you have (Fido U2F security key). Only you have access

What Does Fido U2F Do For My Mobile Security?

The FIDO U2F Authentikey works with any services supporting the emerging Fido Universal 2nd Factor protocol. Whenever you are logging in to Gmail, Google, Github, Dropbox and similar accounts, you can increase your online security with the touch of your finger. 

Here are some of the powerful advantages of using Fido U2F:

It Offers Extremely Strong Two - Factor Authentication

Using public key crypto, it protects against malware attacks, session hijacking and phishing on an entirely new level. You can browse with peace of mind, knowing that your information and passwords are safer than they have ever been before. 

It's Super Easy To Use

With Fido U2F, there is never a need to re-type passwords a million different times and you won't have to wrack your brain to remember impossible codes. You don't even have to install a device. It works instantly. 

It Provides Massively Increased Privacy

You can never have enough privacy while you are browsing the web. With Fido U2F, you get to control your online identity at all times. You can choose to have multiple identities and you can work anonymously.

The U2F device generates a new pair of keys for every single service you use and the public key is only stored on the service it connects to. This is a vital component in protecting your mobile security.

You Can Use It On Multiple Devices

This technology is compatible with a range of mobile devices, phones, computers, tablets, laptops. It also communicates with different methods, like USB, NFC and Bluetooth.   

Your Mobile Security and Two Factor Authentication

In the world we live in, the passwords we use on a daily basis are simply no longer secure. We must take adequate steps to protect ourselves when we go online. 

Two Factor Authentication is the way of the future. It mobile security available now. It generates a one-time password every time you log in online and so it produces an encrypted code that protects you in a way that no other security system does.  

The Fido U2F security key is an option that you can't afford to be without.

You would never leave the key to your house on the outside of your front door, would you? Fido U2F makes sure that front door is not only locked but that the key is nestled safely behind that door or in your pocket.  

Which mobile security measures do you use for your business? We'd love to hear about them.


Michael Harris
Michael Harris


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