Yubikey 5C NFC Hands On Review

Thu, Sep 10, 2020 3-minute read

Hey readers, Im excited to share with you today a look at the newly released Yubico Yubikey 5C.

You probably already have some sort of software 2-Factor Authentication keeping your accounts safe, either software or mobile based. It’s better to have it than not, but they’re still vulnerable to attack. If you’re unfamiliar with hardware Security Tokens, take a look at this post where I talk about my personal security posture.

I was fortunate enough to get my hands on one, test it out and give you first hand details on what it’s like.

Opening the envelope I was greeted with the same familiar Yubico blister packaging. Slim, minimal, with a big window on the front to show you what you’re getting. I really like the packaging because of how minimal it is, there’s less for me to sort and throw away, A+ for the customer.

Yubikey 5C Blister Packaging

The Yubikey 5C has two methods to connect, USB-C and NFC. This looks like it’s going to be a great combination for newer devices and devices to come. A crude iPhone AR measurement puts the key at 1.5”x2”x0.25” and is slightly larger than the 5Ci.

AR Measurement of Key

Using the key was just as easy as any other and provided a really nice experience on my phone. My daily driver laptop, an older MacBook Pro, does not have a USB-C port so I use a USB-A to USB-C adapter with no issue. I was able to enroll it and authenticate as I do with the 5Ci.

I have never tried using NFC on my phone and this thing totally blew my mind in the first use. To use the NFC function all you have to do is bring the key behind your device (you might need to find a specific location, on the iPhone X its reads near the top) and you will get a system notification.

NFC iOS Alert

The iPhone 7- iPhone X do not support background NFC tag reading, so you’ll need some extra software to help you. Yubico recommends AuthLite NFC by AuthLite LLC.

I try not to install applications to my phone without looking into the company who produced it. A cursory search into AuthLite LLC and it didn’t look malicious, so I installed the app.

Also new with the release of the 5C are these really cool key covers. Honestly, I’m in love with them. If you have more than one (you do have 2 right?) , or if you work near/with/around others that have their own key, its an easy way to differentiate between them. It’s way better than the standard black or blue, and its 1000% better than marking your clear key with sharpie…..

Yubikey Sticker Covers

The YubiKey 5C NFC is now available at the Yubico Store and costs $55, key covers start at $5.

In case you missed it, Yubico launched their Security Keys For Free Speech initiative which you can read more about here.