A Security Key: It Can Keep Anyone Out of Your Online Accounts, Email and Files!
A security key will do the trick of keeping and locking anyone out of your accounts better than any other method around. That’s the opinion of all security experts. How does a security key work? Pretty easily once you set it up and get in the routine of using it.
We’ll start with an example of using it regularly, maybe on a Gmail account, because just maybe you don’t ANYONE to ever have access to all your emails…for whatever reason!
ATTENTION! A security key works for just about any program and app, from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and Reddit.
If there’s any program or app you want to keep anybody out of, a security key is your BEST solution.
Security key confusion.
We hope you didn’t first start researching security keys on too many websites and product reviews on YouTube. They tend to go to fast and use technical terms that confuse most people easily.
A simple example works better.
Security Key in action. Cutting to the chase!
You know how email works—You enter your username and password, and you’re in. That’s all there is too it. There is a problem with that though, which we’ll talk about in more detail below.
Here’s how logging into that same account works after you have set up a security key (one like the picture above).
- After you enter your Gmail username and password, you’d get a screen-prompt that says insert your security now.
- Next, you take your security key, which you’ve personally tied to your device and your account and insert it in your computer’s port (like you do with a thumb drive or plug-in device).
- You’re in! If you don’t have your security key physically on you, you’re not in and you don’t get access.
Best of all, and what it really means, is that anybody else who somehow might know your username and password—a scammer or your spouse or a coworker or government spy—is 100% locked out, because you have the security key and they don’t.
And there’s no way they can get around that.
Governments and Google insist on security keys.
A few years back, the mega company Google got fed up with scammers and hackers stealing employee login credentials and gaining access to their corporate network.
As a technical company, they had used all kinds of ways to persuade employees to be careful and smart about changing passwords and preventing anyone from getting to them.
Google had enough! They made corporate decision to provide a security key to all their employees and require them to use it. It stopped the problem. Read our recent article on our website here.
If you want to see which security keys WhatIsMyIPAddress.com recommends, read below.
Why your password isn’t enough.
Passwords, for most people, aren’t very secret anymore. People either use the same ones over and over, which make them easy to guess.
More accurately, you don’t even have to be the one who is guilty of divulging your passwords. Companies and online programs and other apps will do it for you by not protecting their networks very well.
You see, scammers and hackers have all kinds of methods of stealing usernames and passwords, and they do it all the time.
They sometimes do it on their own through trickery, such as phishing. But more often than not they just steal them…or even buy them.
Account passwords (and more) are stolen during a data breach.
Hackers steal information routinely by targeting and attacking a network, on the sly of course, and quietly lurking inside the network, undetected, for weeks and sometimes months.
What they are stealing during that time is information, and often times that includes employee and customer information. If it is a big company, the number of stolen “records” could be in the millions, which could include your personal data. That’s what a major data breach is all about.
You’ll hear about data breaches on the news all the time, but only if you’re paying close attention.
Honestly, a data breach isn’t always the kind of event that makes the regular news. Also, most people tend to tune out data breach stories, maybe because it happened to a company you don’t do business with.
But you should start to pay attention. Here’s why.
Your own personal data may be up for sale!
Hackers may be thieves, but they do share with others: their fellow cybercrook friends. So, they’ll actually upload their stolen data from a breach online and post in on secret databases on the “dark web,” a place on the internet where a lot of underhanded activity takes place.
You can see if your accounts may have been compromised in a data breach by using the free Data Breach Check tool on our website.
A security key is a form of two-factor authentication. It’s also the best one.
Until now, we haven’t brought up the terms two-factor authentication (2FA), which is a process for preventing “unauthorized” logins to your accounts.
Here’s what 2FA is about:
- Logging into an account with just a password alone means only one factor (or requirement) is needed to log in to your account. (Your username isn’t considered a factor.)
- When a second factor is required after the password is entered, you have two-factor authentication. It’s also sometimes referred to as two-step verification.
- So, yes, using a security key is one of the methods for two-factor authentication (2FA).
- What are the others? One is special one-time code texted to your phone after you use your password, Another is a code you receive when you use a special “authenticator” app. Google Authenticator is an example.
For more information on 2FA, see this easy-to-read article on our website.
Today, nearly all online accounts, from banks and credit card companies to online platforms, offer (but don’t require!) two-factor authentication.
Our top recommendation for a security key.
Our best recommendation for a Security Key is the one most recommended by other security experts. The YubiKey from Yubico company. According to most review sites, the YubiKey 5 series is the best way to go.
The company is a leader in the Security Key industry and offers a YubiKey for every device you own.
- Mac computers
- Windows-based computers (Dell, HP, Lenovio and more)
- Android phones (any phone not an iPhone)
By the way, one security key works on only one of your devices. So if you want to have a security key for your laptop, phone and tablet, you’ll need to buy and set up an individual security key for each. To purchase the YubiKey that’s right for you, click our link below, which will take you right to their website.
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- Networking Basics: Learn How Networks Work
- Online Privacy
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