Yubico Launches Lightning-Equipped YubiKey 5Ci for Secure Physical Authentication on iOS Devices

by

Yubico, a company that makes physical security keys for two-factor authentication, today announced the launch of its Lightning-based YubiKey device that's designed to work with Apple's iPhones and iPads.

Yubico has long offered USB-A, USB-C, and NFC-based YubiKey options for PCs, Macs, and mobile devices, but this is the first time that a Lightning-based accessory has been made available.


For those unfamiliar with YubiKey, it is a hardware-based two-factor authentication device designed to work with hundreds of services to make your logins more secure. It's often more convenient than software-based two-factor authentication because there's no need to enter a security code - just connect it and tap to authenticate.

The new YubiKey 5Ci, which was first introduced in January at CES, features a Lightning port at one end and a USB-C port at the other end, so it works with Apple's latest iOS devices and Macs, with the exception of the iPad Pro, as it is not compatible with the USB-C side at the current time.


With the YubiKey 5Ci, users can lock down their 1Password, Bitwarden Idaptive, LastPass, and Okta apps with hardware authentication. At the current time, it also works with the Brave browser for iOS, authenticating logins from sites like Twitter, Login.gov, GitHub, Bitbucket, 1Password, and others.


With the 1Password app, for example, you can set up two-factor authentication using the YubiKey to add an additional layer of protection for your 1Password account. This will require both your master password and your physical YubiKey to unlock your vault, with the app instructing you to plug in the YubiKey and touch the side button to confirm.


At the current time, the YubiKey 5Ci for iOS devices does not work with other apps or browsers as app developers and browser creators need to build in support. Yubico says that it is working with other developers through its Yubico Developer Program.

The USB-C side of the YubiKey works with USB-C Windows and Mac machines, and it is compatible with dozens of websites and services, with a list available on the Yubico website.


Like other YubiKey options in the 5 series, the YubiKey 5Ci supports multiple authentication protocols, including IDO2/WebAuthn, FIDO U2F, OTP (one-time password), PIV (Smart Card), and OpenPGP.

Those interested in the YubiKey 5Ci can purchase it for $70 from the Yubico website starting today.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Yubico. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Tag: YubiKey

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
14 months ago

I like the idea but wonder how many people need this level of protection. But my biggest complaint is that there seems to be no protection for the connectors. Damage one pin and you're locked out. Maybe a case would be appropriate.

The USB ones hold up pretty well. I was concerned too but I've had mine on my keychain for a year now and it works fantastically. Lightening pins? We'll see, I guess. USB-C side, not too much of a worry. They already make one of those and I haven't heard anybody complaining about it holding up to being on your keychain full time.
[doublepost=1566322737][/doublepost]

What if you lose the key?

I think it's a bit unfortunate that YubiCo doesn't do a better job at explaining that most people should buy two devices. One as your primary and one as your backup. Most sites will let you register multiple keys so you can lose or destroy one key and use your backup.

That said, sites like Twitter only allow you to use one key so it's pointless because if you lost your key or it was damaged, you would be locked out of your Twitter account.

Personally, I have 3 devices and will probably buy one of these. I have two of the YubiKey5 and one YubiKey4 that I got from Wired.

I keep one at home near my computer in case I need it, one in my wallet, and one on my keychain. I use the keychain 99% of the time. The wallet is mostly an emergency backup and the one at home is when I'm too lazy to go in the other room and get my keychain :-)

Overall, my biggest complaint about the whole Yubikey security strategy is that more sites don't use it.

It's frustrating that none of my banks or brokerage firms support it. Most still use SMS, which is famously flawed.

Maybe it comes with one. But I don't think I'd leave it on my keychain. It just looks too fragile.
[doublepost=1566315344][/doublepost]

This seems designed for people who need the highest level of security on their phones. Like the CIA. I trust Apple's system well enough.

It's not about the security on your phone, it's about the security of your accounts. This particular product integrates with Apple's lightening connector but the idea is that in order to log into any of your accounts, you have to have a physical device (i.e. the Yubi key).

When I log into Gmail, I have to have they key. When I log into login.gov (where they have tons of sensitive info about users), you have to have the key.

You might even think about it as being a physical form of being sent a verification code. But instead of waiting for a text message or push notification, you insert your key, click the button, and you're verified.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
14 months ago
I like the idea but wonder how many people need this level of protection. But my biggest complaint is that there seems to be no protection for the connectors. Damage one pin and you're locked out. Maybe a case would be appropriate.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Here's How You Can Download iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Around the World [It's Out]

Wednesday September 16, 2020 2:36 am PDT by
Apple's official public release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 dropped on Wednesday, September 16, just a day after the company released the Golden Master to third-party developers. Also set to be made available to the general public for the first time are watchOS 7 and tvOS 14. Getting Started With iOS 14 Video Click image to watch iOS 14 Getting Started While that's left a lot of developers...

When Will the iPhone 12 Launch? Here's What We Know

Wednesday September 16, 2020 6:12 am PDT by
Yesterday's "Time Flies" Apple event saw the release of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, iPad 8, and iPad Air 4, but no new iPhone models. Rumors before the event strongly alleged that it would not see the unveiling of new iPhones, with many reports pointing to an October launch. The lack of new iPhone models yesterday seems to confirm that the iPhone 12 lineup will not appear...

Apple Releases iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 With Home Screen Redesign, App Library, Compact UI, Translate App, Scribble Support, App Clips, and More

Wednesday September 16, 2020 12:48 pm PDT by
Apple has released iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, the newest operating system updates designed for the iPhone and iPad. As with all of Apple's software updates, iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 can be downloaded for free. iOS 14 is available on the iPhone 6s and later, while iPadOS 14 is available on the iPad Air 2 and later. The updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To ...

Apple Updates AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro Firmware to Version 3A283

Monday September 14, 2020 11:24 am PDT by
Apple today released new 3A283 firmware updates for the second-generation AirPods and the AirPods Pro. The second-generation AirPods are being updated from the 2D15 firmware they were previously running, while the AirPods Pros are being updated from the 2D27 firmware they had installed previously. Apple does not provide details on what's included in refreshed firmware so we don't know what's ...

Spotify Says Apple One Bundle Will Cause 'Irreparable Harm to Developer Community'

Tuesday September 15, 2020 12:26 pm PDT by
Apple today announced Apple One, a series of new subscription bundles that provide access to various Apple services at a combined monthly price. In response, Spotify sent out statements (via Peter Kafka) to the press decrying Apple's anti-competitive behavior and calling on "competition authorities" to stop Apple before it is able to cause "irreparable harm" to developers.Once again, Apple...

iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, and tvOS 14 Will Be Released September 16

Tuesday September 15, 2020 11:06 am PDT by
Apple today announced that iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, and tvOS 14 will be officially released on Wednesday, September 16. Apple has seeded the final Golden Master beta versions of each update to developers in advance. ‌iOS 14‌ and iPadOS 14 introduce dozens of new features, including a redesigned Home Screen that supports widgets on the iPhone and iPad for the first time. For more...

New AirPods Pro Firmware Introduces Spatial Audio Support and Automatic Switching

Monday September 14, 2020 12:22 pm PDT by
The new 3A283 firmware that Apple released for the AirPods Pro today appears to introduce support for Spatial Audio, a new feature coming to the higher-end AirPods with iOS 14. Multiple reports on Twitter and the MacRumors forums indicate that the firmware update adds a "Spatial Audio" option to the Control Center, which can be activated to enable the feature. Note that using Spatial Audio...

Apple Releases Safari 14 for Mac Ahead of macOS Big Sur Launch

Wednesday September 16, 2020 1:40 pm PDT by
macOS Big Sur didn't launch alongside iOS 14, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14, and watchOS 7 today, with the update coming later this fall, but Apple did release the Safari 14 update for macOS Catalina and macOS Mojave users. Safari 14 brings improved performance, customizable start pages, a Privacy Report to see which cross-site trackers are being blocked, and a new tab bar design that provides tab...

Full Transcript of Apple's 'Time Flies' Event With Apple Watch and iPad Updates

Tuesday September 15, 2020 8:46 am PDT by
Apple's virtual "Time Flies" event kicks off today at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, with Apple expected to debut new Apple Watch and iPad models, but it appears we may not see the iPhone 12 until next month. While we're not expecting to see new iPhones today, Apple's software updates for its various platforms are likely nearly ready for launch, so we may be hearing more about them today. Check...

Everything Apple Announced at Today's iPad and Apple Watch Event in Just Seven Minutes

Tuesday September 15, 2020 2:19 pm PDT by
Apple today held its annual September event, but this year was a bit different because no new iPhones were announced. The "Time Flies" event focused on the Apple Watch Series 6 and the iPad Air, and saw the debut of a new Apple One services bundle. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. It took Apple an hour to introduce the new devices, but we've recapped the event in...