7 Best USB 2-Factor Token for Preventing Email Phishing and WannaCry Ransomware

On average, security experts capture around 200,000 new ransomware samples every single day. The recent proliferation of ransomware attacks goes hand in hand with our increasing reliance on data. Modern businesses and organizations capture massive amounts of data about their employees, business partners, customers, and internal processes.

ProductBrandNamePrice
YubicoYubico YubiKey 4 - USB-A, Two-Factor AuthenticationCheck Price on Amazon
HyperFidoFIDO U2F Security KeyCheck Price on Amazon
CryptoTrustOnlyKey Hardware Password Manager, 2 Factor, Secure CommunicationCheck Price on Amazon
OneSpanDigipass SecureClick FIDO U2F Security KeyCheck Price on Amazon
FeitianFeitian ePass NFC FIDO U2F Security KeyBuy on Amazon|$18.99(Price as of 10/22/2019 05:59 ET)

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Even regular users store hundreds of gigabytes of data of immense emotional and practical value. Malicious attackers behind ransomware attacks are aware of this. By creating increasingly sophisticated strains of malware, they cause global ransomware epidemics, earning millions of dollars paid in cryptocurrencies by unfortunate victims.

For example, a ransomware cryptoworm called WannaCry infected more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries, asking users to pay a $300 ransom in Bitcoins, a popular cryptocurrency often associated with the infamous online black market Silk Road. Attacks like this raise one critical question: How can average users protect themselves and still be able to browse the web and use the email without hindrance? Two-factor authentication is one possible answer, and, in this article, we explore how it works and what are some of the best 2-factor authentication systems on the market.

What Is 2-Factor Authentication?

Two-factor authentication (often abbreviated as 2FA) offers extra protection against hacking and malware by introducing an additional layer of protection. If you’ve ever used internet banking, you should be familiar with how 2-factor authentication works.

In addition to your login name and password, you’re also requested to enter a confirmation code that you receive on your mobile phone.

Other forms of 2-factor authentication may rely on different authentication methods, such as passphrases, security questions, biometric data, or hardware security tokens.

The additional layer of protection means that even if hackers somehow managed to get hold of your username and password, they wouldn’t be able to access your email, social media accounts, or PayPal account.

Best External 2-Factor Token

When compared to other 2-factor authentication methods, physical tokens stand out thanks to their simplicity and reliability. There are no extra passwords to remember and no waiting for the arrival of a confirmation SMS message. All you need to do is plug your 2-factor token into your computer just like you would a USB thumb drive. This tells websites and applications that it’s really you who is using the computer and not someone else.

YubiKey 4

The YubiKey is a popular 2-factor hardware authentication device manufactured by Yubico. It supports the Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) protocol, which is an open authentication standard supported by Google Chrome, Dropbox, Facebook, and many other influential tech companies.

The fourth generation of the YubiKey is light, small, and extremely durable, designed to survive just about anything. It plugs into USB Type A ports and works great even with lightening or USB-C adapters. Because the YubiKey is likely the most popular 2-factor authentication device on the market, you can expect out-of-the-box compatibility with most websites and applications.

FIDO U2F Security Key

The FIDO Alliance launched in February 2013 to improve the interoperability among authentication devices. The founders of the organization included PayPal and Lenovo, and FIDO now has almost 300 members, including MasterCard, Visa, Microsoft, Samsung, Intel, and Google, just to name a few.

Hardware tokens that comply with FIDO specifications are extremely secure, reliable, and widely supported. The FIDO U2F Security Key supports the Chrome web browser on Windows, Mac, and Linux as well as a host of other services and applications. It’s extremely affordable, and its tiny size makes it easy to always have it at hand.

OnlyKey Color

The OnlyKey Color offers a unique take on 2-factor hardware authentication. It combines a password manager, a two-factor token, and offline encryption key storage into a single package. Its most striking feature is the integrated touch keyboard. The OnlyKey Color identifies as a standard USB keyboard, allowing you to circumvent keyloggers.

It supports all standard 2-factor authentication methods like U2F, YubiKey compatible OTP, and Google Authenticator. The integrated LED visually informs you whether you’ve entered the right or the wrong password. While more expensive than many other 2-factor authentication solutions, the OnlyKey Color solves many common privacy and security issues with one hit.

DIGIPASS SecureClick FIDO U2F Security Key

This FIDO-compatible 2-factor authentication token makes hardware authentication even more secure. It’s not unheard of for employees to forget their hardware 2-factor tokens at work. Should this happen with the DIGIPASS SecureClick FIDO U2F Security Key, it would still be impossible for an attacker to get in because a press of a small Bluetooth button with a 2-year lifespan is required to complete the authentication.

Thetis FIDO

This one is one of our favorites, because it not only works with your computer, but can offer two-factor authentication for your smartphone via Bluetooth as well. It does this via Bluetooth Low Energy, so it doesn’t eat up your battery life.

The Thetis U2F key will work with hundreds of accounts and websites online, so long as that site supports U2F protocol. It comes with a one-year warranty as well, ensuring you stay protected against defects.

YubiKey 5

Another one that can protect online accounts against unwarranted access, the YubiKey 5 quickly and easily provides two-factor authentication for the best protection online.

This one works with most online accounts — Gmail, Facebook, Dropbox, Twitter, Dashlane, LastPass, and an endless amount of other online services.

It’s worth noting that the YubiKey 5 will work exclusively with USB-A ports — it’s not designed for USB-C.

 

Feitian ePass NFC FIDO U2F Security Key

The Feitian ePass NFC FIDO U2F Security Key is great for people who need to be protected even when on the phone. It’s compatible with all modern operating systems and features an NFC chip for wireless authentication. Just place it near your smartphone to authenticate your online payments and website log in attempts. It’s so small and light that you won’t even notice it on your keyring.

ProductBrandNamePrice
YubicoYubico YubiKey 4 - USB-A, Two-Factor AuthenticationCheck Price on Amazon
HyperFidoFIDO U2F Security KeyCheck Price on Amazon
CryptoTrustOnlyKey Hardware Password Manager, 2 Factor, Secure CommunicationCheck Price on Amazon
OneSpanDigipass SecureClick FIDO U2F Security KeyCheck Price on Amazon
FeitianFeitian ePass NFC FIDO U2F Security KeyBuy on Amazon|$18.99(Price as of 10/22/2019 05:59 ET)

* Links in this table contain affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Thank you for your support. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.

Verdict

As you can see, you have a lot of different choices as far as USB authentication keys go. Really, any one of these are going to accomplish your goals, and aren’t necessarily better than the other. Each one is going to be able to provide you that extra layer of security.

Do you have a favorite way to double up on security on your PC?