Passwords are always a topic when it comes to data security. Because sadly, but true, password sins like "12345678" are still widespread. But theoretically, they could be a thing of the past by 2018 and be replaced by security keys, also known as Fido-Sticks. At Google, all 85,000 employees have been using a security key since 2017. With the result that, according to Google, no employee account has since been taken over by a hack.
By connecting to a program or service, such as Outlook, Office or the Chrome browser, the security key's identification is stored there. Like a house key, it opens the door to the respective services and programs.
The only technical requirement is a USB-A connection, as is present in most computers, or for newer notebooks and smartphones a USB-C connection.
While the older version of the Fido stick functions only as a second factor in addition to the password, the Fido2 also enables wireless login, via Bluetooth, NFC or fingerprint sensor. Both standards originate from the Fido Alliance, an association of well-known companies, including Google, Microsoft, Lenovo and Samsung, which are working together on simple and secure authentication standards.
Security sticks are suitable for anyone who wants to log in quickly and securely. They are particularly interesting for those who frequently work on different computers, as they can also be used on other devices without having to store their own login data on them. However, one weakness remains: If the stick is lost, the user locks himself out of his own services.
For IT security researcher David Bothe, from the Institute for Internet Security, security keys are a model for the future because of their high level of security, and for many users they would certainly be a great relief.