YubiKey for Multi-Factor Authentication Frequently Asked Questions

Issue/Question

What are the common questions for using the YubiKey Security Key?

Environment

  • YubiKey Security Key

Resolution

What is a physical security key?

The YubiKey is a hardware authentication device that protects access to computers, networks, and online services. It allows users to securely log into their accounts instead of using an app, call, or text. Like other MFA methods, it helps protect against phishing, eliminates account takeovers, and enables compliance requirements for strong authentication.

If you prefer to not use your personal device to add the Microsoft Authenticator app, or do not have cellular or Wi-Fi service where you work, this would be the solution for you.

You will be required to have at least one other MFA method registered to your account, so you don’t get locked out of your account if your YubiKey gets lost or stolen.

 Note: Physical security keys will not work for mobile devices or virtual environments.


How do I configure my YubiKey?

Refer to the MFA & SSPR Combined Registration document. Look for the section titled “OPTIONAL MFA: Register Your YubiKey Physical Security Key”. You can also see the Knowledge Base Article here.


What happens if my YubiKey gets lost or stolen?


What happens if my YubiKey stops working?


How do physical security keys work?

The current YubiKey offered is capable of both USB-C and NFC.

For USB-C use: Simply plug in your YubiKey to your device’s USB-C drive and gently tap the Y on the key.

For Near-Field Communication (NFC) use: Tap the YubiKey to the NFC radio on your device.

For more information on NFC, refer to the “What is NFC?” question below.


How do I request a physical security key?

Before you can register your YubiKey, you must submit a request to IT. You can click this link to take you to the service request page, or search “Request Physical Key for Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)” in our Client Portal.

You will be able to register the YubiKey to your account once you pick it up and have it in front of you.


Will this physical security key work with macOS?

The current YubiKey offered can work with College-owned macOS devices. It is recommended to use Chrome as the default browser when signing in with a physical security key due to some browser incompatibilities.


What is NFC?

NFC stands for near-field communication. It allows phones, laptops, and other devices to share data with other devices with NFC. It has a limited communication range, within about four inches, so you must hold your devices close together for NFC to work.

You may already be familiar with Apple or Samsung Pay. These both use NFC to transmit your payment data from your phone to the contactless reader at the register. NFC isn’t limited to just sending payment information. It can be used for a variety of things, like the transfer of contact information, music, photos, or even videos.


How does NFC work?

NFC does not require you to pair or discover any devices, like Bluetooth does. A connection is automatically started when two NFC devices come into close contact (within four inches or so) with each other. Once the two devices are in range, they start to communicate and will send you a prompt.

Some older devices may not be equipped with NFC. Reference your device’s User Manual to see if your device is NFC capable.

Each device that has NFC, has an NFC antenna located somewhere inside it. The location can vary depending on your device. Reference your device’s User Manual to locate where it is.

Details

Article ID: 131725
Created
Wed 4/21/21 9:33 AM
Modified
Mon 8/8/22 4:01 PM