Gmail Two Step Verification Pt. 3

Gmail Two Step Verification

In the third part of my series covering Gmail Two Step Verification I will talk about an advanced topic: the Security Key option.  The security key is a physical device that plugs into your computer’s USB port.  By far the most common and popular iteration of this concept is the Yubikey.  There are three current versions of this device: the Yubikey 4, the Yubikey Neo, and the Yubikey Nano†.  All of these devices have slightly different capabilities, but their core function is the same.  They serve as a strong second authentication factor.

To enable this option, you first need a U2F (Universal Second Factor)-capable device like a Yubikey.  Log into your Gmail account.  Click your avatar, then the blue “My Account” button.  Navigate to Sign-in and Security, and Two Step Verification.  Now scroll to and click “SET UP ADDITIONAL SECOND STEP“.

Gmail Two Step Verification

The next screen will give you some information about registering your Security Key.  Click “NEXT”.  Gmail Two Step Verification

You will be required to enter your password.  Enter it and click “Sign in”.  Ensure that your security key is NOT inserted at this point.Gmail Two Step Verification

On the next screen you will be prompted to register your security key.  This will require that you insert the security key.  When instructed, touch the top of it.  This will prompt it to transmit the unique code to Google.Gmail Two Step Verification

When the code is received and accepted you will see the screen below.  Be aware that this automatically makes the security key the default “second step”.  Gmail Two Step Verification

To login with the Security Key, enter your username and password.  You will be presented with the screen shown below.  It will prompt you to insert your security key.  You must then physically touch the ring on top of the key.  This will transmit the unique code and verify your identity.  Gmail Two Step VerificationThe security key option is one of the most secure ways to use Gmail Two Step Verification.  Your security key will also work on a number of other services.  Dropbox, LastPass, Password Safe, and WordPress all support the Yubikey as a second authentication factor.  It can also be used to unlock your full disk encrypted computer – just don’t lose it!

Yubico recently sent me samples of the Yubikey 4 and Nano models.  Look for a full review soon.

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