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Yubico's new YubiKey for Windows Hello app makes logging in to your PC a breeze

YubiKey
YubiKey (Image credit: Windows Central)

Windows Hello already offers a number of ways to add some extra bit of security to your PC, and now you can add another to that list thanks to Yubico. The company has just released YubiKey for Windows Hello, an app that lets you use your YubiKey to easily log in to your PC.

If you're unfamiliar with YubiKeys, they're little USB dongles that you can carry on your keychain and can be used for authenticating logins for services that support them. Using the YubiKey for Windows Hello app, you can register your own YubiKey, which can then be used in place of a password to log in with Windows Hello. All that's required is to insert the YubiKey into a USB port on your PC at login and you're good to go.

The icing on the cake, of course, is that YubiKey can also be used to login to a number of other services, like Dropbox and your Google account. The ultimate result is that requiring a physical key to login should add an extra layer of security to your acounts.

If you already have a YubiKey of your own, you can grab the app now on the Windows Store. Otherwise, you can get your hands on a YubiKey of your own at Amazon (opens in new tab). Note that YubiKey requires you to be running Windows 10 Version 1607, build 14393.321 or later to start using the app.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

28 Comments
  • They don't seem very convenient.
  • Security is not about convenience always, it's about being secure. This combined with strong passwords and bio-authentication is for people who want their PCs locked down. (It's also good for people who don't have a Windows Hello camera or FP reader on their PC). I've been using it for years (in fact, mine is so old I need a new one). If you don't care about a physical token for protecting your accounts then just use a 4 digit pin and roll the dice. The idea that even if you have my PC password or LastPass password that you still can't get access is very important to me. To others, perhaps not. That's fine, I'm glad there is this choice, though.
  • Respect. My friends call me mental for having an algorithm that creates a unique password for each website and service I go to, and also using 2FA. I also don't use a password manager because I don't trust them.
  • How do you remember all the unique passwords? Edit: Or do you just remember the algorithm or smtg?
  • Does this work with the FIDO-only Yubikeys, or only the more expensive ones? I know at some point Windows 10 was supposed to be getting FIDO support, but I have not heard any further developments on it.
  • Won't work on older keys likely non-FIDOs. You'll want YB4 or NEO.
  • Would this work with Windows 10 Mobile?
  • No, not yet.
  • if I used an adapter, would it work or is the app only for PCs?
  • If you go to the Store the app clearly states it is for PC and Hub only.
  • I assume this wouldn't work through a USB hub? And is it safe to assume that the device needs the Windows Hello hardware or is this all just a software thing?
  • It works thru a USB Hub, sure. You don't need Windows Hello hardware.
  • Does Enpass support YubiKey?  Or if they don't, will they? I have yet to switch over to a password manager (not quite true, I use a hardware Mooltipass for some website logins), but something like this would really help.
  • I don't think they currently do, but not sure what the future plan is
  • My password expires every 90 days. Would I also have to re-register my YubiKey every 90 days as a result?
  • Isn't this whole concept a bit backwards-going? I mean, going back to relying on having a single, small physical object to open things? This is so wood and steel that I find it appalling. I thought that technology was about overcoming these issues of depending on physical objects to do things in the digital realm.
  • (a) not all PCs have fingerprint reader or facial recognition cameras, in fact, most do not (b) YubiKeys are more than just for logging into a PC, but also add 2fA to other apps and services like LastPass (c) offer yet-another-option for those who value security
  • I totally get biometric hardware being used to replace a password, but I'm a bit cautious about a key. The fingerprint or iris has to be me. I guess if you PC is in a secure location, this is good. I don't think I would use it on a portable. If someone stole your laptop bag and your keys, they could have your entire life.
  • Bing bing bing bing bing!!!
  • Yeah, exactly my point. You can lose a small key. you can lose any physical key. It might break. Also, even homes and cars are getting biometric options (which are not perfect either but can't be lost).  An alphanumeric password exists only in your mind. And yeah, any of these methods canbe hacked (probably the more secure is biometrics). In any case, the future is biometrics, it will get there. 
  • A) It would appear that MS "Hello" is now being marketed as the entire scope of authentication options for Windows, not just iris anymore. B) Yubico has named their app with the name Windows "Hello" in it to follow MS's suite in this rebranding. This had me confused at first because I thought you put in the key, then it checked your iris, = 2 factor. In fact it does NOT do this. This is totally seperate and independent from any iris check. To me this is crap, it should unlock the iris function for those who have it as a 2nd factor in addition to the iris. BUT I can see that they want to market this to people without an iris scanner. They should just be clearer in their marketing. Just something to be aware of.  C) The YubiKey will ONLY work when your computer is "locked", it will not sign you in, only unlock a locked session. - Another huge negative IMHO.
  • https://www.yubico.com/support/knowledge-base/categories/articles/use-yu...  
  • A) it was from the beginning... Is not "now being marketed..."
    Hello is reconciling everything login to a common interface.
    Picture password is Hello too.
    Hello is not hardware.
  • I really wish Windows Hello could be used as a 2FA element as opposed to just another way to login. I'd love to have to provide both my PIN and my Yubikey to login to my machine, but sadly the limitations of Hello don't make that possible.
  • what if u lose this key and someone will just go on dropbox or windows and pop that in.  lOl. 
  • It doesn't log you into a MS account, it logs you into your computer. As for other services, it acts as a 2FA device, meaning they already know your account name and your password.
  • Official Yubico video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOEImhrwAh8 Not mine btw.
  • I just wish they add this as an extra layer of security on top of Iris scanner before I renew my YubiKey and use this. At the moment it's either YubiKey or Iris scan.