Proton introduces hardware keys as a 2FA alternative

A privacy company has introduced the so-called hardware keys to secure user data kept on Proton's account, such as photos, bank statements, and calendar events.

Hardware keys, also known as security or two-factor authentication keys (2FA), work in the same manner as 2FA. Only instead of having to enter a digital log code into an app, users have to use a hardware key, such as YubiKey.

Since now, users have been relying on authenticator apps, prompting them to enter time-sensitive verification codes to log in. This method is safer than SMS-based 2FA, which is vulnerable to SIM-swapping attacks and phishing attempts.

Additionally, many find it inconvenient to enter the code in a short period of time, with a hardware key designed to remove that hassle.

"Hardware keys are also a ‘possession factor,’ which proves you physically own the key used to authenticate your account. Due to their physical nature, hardware keys are one of the most secure forms of 2FA," Proton said.

If you opt for hardware keys, you will need to plug the key into your computer when asked to verify your identity.

"Depending on your device, you may even use its built-in security key to verify your identity with biometrics such as Apple's Touch ID or Windows Hello," Proton said.

The company said it would be adding security keys across all Proton platforms.

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