Online security has become one of the most important things. Cyber threats and crime are roaming around the internet, waiting for the next victim, so taking extra security measures is essential for having peace of mind while browsing. But how can you ensure the best, most secure experience?
One of the tools that can help you on this quest is USB security keys, and we will tell you all about them below.
In this article
What Is a USB Security Key?
USB security keys are external devices you connect to your PC to prove you are trying to access your computer. It acts as a unique authentication method only you can use for your personal computer. It adds another layer of protection to your online accounts, apps, and services.
Many people worldwide use this solution to protect their sensitive data and identity. It’s truly one of the best security methods since it requires special authorization and is completely personalized.
Why Do You Need a USB Security Key?
USB security keys will provide you with a physical two-factor authentication, which is much more robust than the software solution. You won’t have to worry about someone hacking into or accessing your computer without your permission.
It provides a strong resistance to all new and old attack attempts, making it one of the best security measures you can take. These security keys are handy for businesses and corporations with sensitive, private data and can be a lifesaver in worst-case scenarios.
The table below compares USB security keys to other security measures.
|Security method||Security level|
|Two-factor software authentication||⭐⭐⭐|
How To Use a USB Security Key To Protect Your Sensitive Data?
Using a USB security key will depend on the model and purpose. Different accounts may require different authentications and guides. You can search for guides for each of the apps, websites, and accounts you want to lock to ensure you fully protect them.
We will present two of the most-used accounts and guides for using a USB security key for both of them so you can see how different they will be.
To use your USB security key for a Google account, you need to follow this guide:
- Enroll your security key by following the onscreen instructions.
- When you want to sign into your Google account, head to the sign-in section.
- Input your email and password.
- The next step will require you to input your USB security key and tap the button to verify your identity.
After that, Google will allow you to access your account.
To use a USB security key on your Facebook, follow this guide:
- Register your USB security key to Facebook.
- Open facebook.com, and input your email and password.
- Insert the key and follow the onscreen instructions to access your account.
When signing into Facebook, you may be asked to answer additional questions to access your account.
Tips for using USB security keys
Before you start using USB security keys daily, you need to know how to handle them. We have prepared some tips to help you on your security journey and ensure smooth sailing.
1. Always have more than one key
Since USB security keys are small and lightweight, it’s easy to forget you are carrying them around. They can easily fall out of your pocket or get lost somewhere. In such cases, you should always have a backup plan you can rely on. Have at least two of the same keys to access your account, even if you accidentally lose the primary key.
2. Make sure your keys are compatible with the software
Since different types of keys are available, some are only compatible with a few apps/software. For instance, you can find different keys for Windows and Mac devices. Before you purchase the key, you should research and determine whether it is compatible with your accounts, operating system, and other features so you don’t waste time and money.
3. Security key malfunction and data loss
USB devices can be very vulnerable and prone to malfunction. If you are not handling these devices well or accidentally catch a virus, you may lose all the data you have stored on them. In such cases, it’s crucial to have a third-party software solution to recover your data as quickly as possible.
One such program is Wondershare Recoverit – it’s one of the most successful recovery solutions on the market that will retrieve your valuable data. You can get your data back no matter the type of files or devices you use.
You should download the program just in case things go sideways – and if they do, follow the guide below for the best data recovery journey:
- Open Recoverit on your PC.
- Insert your USB security key.
- Select Hard Drives and Locations from the available recovery options.
- Choose your USB from the list.
- The program will begin to scan for lost files. You can pause this process if you’ve found everything you wanted to recover.
- Preview the files and select those you want to retrieve. Click the Recover button to finish.
It will only take you a few minutes to get all your valuable data back.
5 Best USB Security Keys for You
|If you want…||…you should consider.|
|🔐 The best security key||Yubico YubiKey 5 NFC|
|💰The best budget security key||Thetis FIDO U2F Security Key|
|💼The best business security key||Yubico Security Key C NFC|
|🚀 The best Bluetooth security key||Google Titan Security Key Bundle|
|✌ The most cost-effective two-pack security keys||Feitian Multipass K16 and USB ePass K9 Security Keys|
Yubico YubiKey 5 NFC
This USB security key is among the best ones you can find on the market. It’s crash and water-resistant, meaning that it will last you longer than other external devices. Yubico YubiKey 5 NFC comes with both USB A and NFC connections, so you can connect it to any device of your choice. It’s compatible with desktop and mobile devices alike.
Yubico YubiKey 5 NFC is on the expensive side of the spectrum. You can find this USB security key for around $50 on Amazon.
Thetis FIDO U2F Security Key
This security key has a USB A connection, so you can use it on your computer. It can cover all websites that support U2F protection (which is the majority of websites online). However, you won’t find any advanced features that make the USB feel advanced. Instead, you will have a simple yet high-quality protection in your pocket. The aluminum cover is scratch, drop, weather, and water-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about its durability.
The Thetis FIDO U2F Security Key is the king of budget security keys. You can find these devices at around $25.
Yubico Security Key C NFC
If you own a business and are looking for a USB security key to handle all your accounts, Yubico Security Key C NFC is the way to go. It is perfect for handling larger datasets, and you can even opt for a passwordless login if you purchase this key.
The design is very durable and resistant. The best part about Yubico Security Key C NFC is that it offers three connection types: USB A, USB C, and NFC.
Yubico Security Key C NFC is also an affordable solution – you can find such keys at around $30.
Google Titan Security Key Bundle
As the name suggests, you will get a bundle of security keys (two devices) if you choose this option. Google Titan Security Key Bundle differs from all other USB security keys since it offers a Bluetooth connection, making it compatible with mobile and computer devices. You can even use these devices as your keychains and carry them around everywhere.
The best part about this USB security key is the price. You can get two devices for only $30.
Feitian Multipass K16 and USB ePass K9 Security Keys
You can purchase sets, such as Feitian Multipass K16 and ePASS K9 Security Keys if you need more security keys to handle your accounts. Both offer USB A, NFC, and Bluetooth connections, making them highly compatible with most devices. Similar to Google’s bundle, you can also use these keys as keychains and carry them around.
Although you will get two devices for $50, it isn’t a steal compared to the abovementioned Google bundle.
USB security keys are among the best security tools you can find. They will prevent unauthorized access and only allow you to enter your accounts. We have discussed what these external tools are and how to use them. We have also presented some tips on using USB security keys for the best, most secure experience.
Lastly, we have presented the best tools on the market so you can choose your fighter and eliminate possible online enemies.
1. What features should I consider while buying a USB security key?When searching for security keys, you should consider a couple of factors. For instance, check out the price, features, usability, compatibility, and connection to find a security key that best fits your preferences. You should first determine what you need and what you don’t need to be able to find your ideal deal.
2. Can I recover data from a broken USB security key?Losing data from a USB security key may be devastating, but you can easily recover data from it with the help of third-party software solutions. For instance, you can use Recoverit to get your data back in just a few minutes. Always have a backup plan in case things don’t go according to plan.
3. Are security keys really that safe?Yes! USB security keys are among the safest, most protective measures available. They earn a 5/5 rating regarding data and account security. No one will be able to access your accounts without this fantastic tool.