Product Review: Yubikey

The Crypto Monk
The Crypto Monk May 20, 2019
Updated 2019/08/04 at 8:05 PM
5 Min Read



Protecting your accounts is not an easy task and for most of users, they contain multiple points of failure. This is where the Yubikey NFC 5 is supposed to help you by bringing your security to a whole new level.

What is that exactly?

The YubiKey NFC 5 is a hardware-based authentication device that provides extra authentication over NFC (Near Field Communications). It supports FIDO2, allowing organizations to enable passwordless login on a computer that supports FIDO2 open authentication standards.

First impressions

You will receive your Yubikey in a large enveloppe. The packaging is really simple and all the info necessary to set up the key are written right below.

The key itself is pretty compact and smaller and thinner than a casual USB key. You can put it on your key ring to have it at disposal all the time.

Get Started


You can get all the instructions required following this link. I decided to set up the key for one of my Kraken accounts to give it a try. I will replace my U2F Google authentication with the Yubikey.

It takes a few steps to activate two-factor authentication with the Yubikey. First of all, you need to go into the security section and add or change the two-factor authentication method. Select the Yubikey option and set it up.

Once everything is set up correctly, all you will have to do is to put your finder on the button of the key when you want to login to Kraken.

Google account

Adding a security layer to your Google account is not unnecessary and it is also very easy. I used to do this with Google Authenticator so the procedure is similar.

Go to the settings, select “Security” section and follow the quick steps as described on the picture above.

NFC feature

This Yubikey supports NFC technology so you can simply touch your phone to scan the key when needed.

Make sure your smartphone supports NFC. As i currently own an Iphone 6, i was not able to test this feature. Only Iphones 7 and newer are able to run it.

U2F and OTP

With the Yubikey 5 NFC, you can authenticate either via U2F or via OTP. For instance, if you use LastPass, you will generate a one-time password (OTP). It is technically slightly different from U2F but practically similar.

If you know Google Authenticator, the app generating passcodes every 15-30 seconds, you are already familiar with TOTPs. It is the most popular 2FA used nowadays. You will find below a concrete use of it combined with Yubico app.

As a quick example, here is how to set up a 2FA solution for Facebook using TOTP.

All you have to do is downloading Yubico Authenticator on your computer or smartphone. Set up the 2FA authentication on Facebook. Scan the QR code with Yubico Authenticator. And you are done.

Now every time you will need to login, you will have to generate a one-time password with your Yubikey through Yubico Authenticator.


The Yubikey is a great security device mostly used as a U2F authenticator or OTP generator. It is probably the most reputable product of this kind on the market and the available documentation is extensive.

As a trader, it is a must have if you consider replacing Google Authenticator with something stronger. It is also pretty cheap considering the numerus possibilities offered. You will find this model for $45 but you will also find cheaper solutions starting at $20.

Disclaimer : this article is not a partnership. I wanted to test and review a backup device and the team decided to customize it for me. More reviews of products will come in the future.

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