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This USB-C Dongle Can Replace Your Password

Authentication hardware maker Yubico today (Sept. 25) unveiled the YubiKey 4C Nano, a tiny device that plugs into USB-C ports, at the Microsoft Ignite conference in Orlando, Fla.

"Two-factor authentication with the YubiKey is the easiest and most secure way to protect enterprise and consumer identities, accounts and data," Stina Ehrensvard, CEO and founder of Yubico, said in a prepared statement. "We designed the YubiKey 4C Nano to be the most powerful USB-C authenticator on the market, built for the future as USB-C ports become more prevalent across mobile and computing devices."

YubiKeys can replace texted codes as the second factor in two-factor authentication supported by dozens of companies, including Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, LastPass, Dashlane and Dropbox, although not all the companies support all the varieties of YubiKey. Most models also support other authentication schemes, including one-time passwords, as well as public-key encryption.

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The YubiKey 4C Nano costs $60 and combines the tiny form factor (12mm x 10 mm x 7mm) of the original YubiKey 4 Nano ($50), designed for regular USB ports, with the USB-C compatibility of the larger YubiKey 4C (also $50).

Unlike the YubiKey 4C and some older YubiKey models, the YubiKey 4C Nano is not meant to be carried on a keychain, but rather plugged into a laptop USB-C port indefinitely. It can be ordered from the Yubico site today, but you can get only one per order for the time being.

To use a YubiKey, simply plug it into the computer with which you're accessing the account, then touch the button on the YubiKey and it will verify your identity along with your passcode.

Image credits: Yubico