Data BreachIt seems that more stories of data breaches are hitting the news every month, making data security and privacy more important than ever. In order to help people secure their data, online companies have introduced 2-step verification as a more secure way of logging in.

What Is 2-Step Verification

Many companies strive to make sure that their users can feel safe when using their services. Using a simple log-in and password can be very insecure, given how easily passwords can be guessed, found, or stolen. 2-step verification was introduced to counter this risk. If someone gains access to your account, there’s no end to the amount of damage they might cause. For example, if your Google account is compromised,  a perpetrator would have access to all of your photos, emails, and contacts. From identity theft to outright fraud, this information could be used to devastating effect.

2-Step Verification basically adds a second layer of protection to your account. This second step could be a text message sent directly from the company containing a unique code, or a FIDO U2F key.

What is a FIDO U2F key

FIDO U2F keys are like USB sticks, and they can be used to verify your identity you when accessing your account. If you secure your Google account with a FIDO U2F key, you can rest assured that you alone will have access to your account.

How to use a FIDO U2F key

Having bought a FIDO U2F key, log into your Google account and navigate to your Security options in your settings page.

Once you enable 2-step verification, a small guide will appear to help guide you through the process. A verification code will be sent to your mobile, which you will be prompted to use to log in again.

With 2-step verification enabled, you will be able to activate your FIDO key. Head to the Security Keys option in the 2-step Verification page. Just click Add Security Key, and follow the simple guide once more. Insert your key when prompted, tap it, and you’re done.

FIDO U2F Keys – A Testimonial From Hallam

Having acquired a FIDO U2F key from here, we tested it to see how easy it is to use. We wanted to find out if using it provided a good substitution for the standard text message based 2-step verification process.

I found my FIDO U2F key very easy to use, and I liked how it took away the hassle of having to check my phone for the verification code. Simple, fast and reliable, I believe that FIDO U2F keys might be even safer than relying on text messages for 2-step verification. Whilst your phone can be stolen, a small USB key can be safely stored on a keyring. If lost, they are relatively cheap and easy to replace, and if stolen, I believe it’s unlikely that the thief would ever think to use the key in conjunction with your Google account.

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