Travelers, protect yourself (and your Microsoft account) with a Yubico hardware key.

Alt text: A hand is shown inserting a Yubico security key into a laptop. The laptop screen displays a Microsoft sign-in window with the text "Sign in with a security key." The background features the logos of Microsoft and Yubico.

For anyone on the go, the risk of losing access to one of your core accounts (Microsoft, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn) is huge – especially in the current climate of governments hacking each other.

Thankfully, there are options to protect yourself, and one of the best I can recommend is making use of hardware protection keys, also known as two factor authentication security keys.

The process behind logging in with a security key is simple – you log in like you normally do, then in most situations, you’ll be prompted to insert your key into the USB port (or NFC reader on more advanced devices).

Lose your laptop on the road? No problem, even if someone managed to steal your credentials and your laptop, they’d not be able to get into your account. Used a hotel business center that happened to be outfitted with keyloggers? Same thing, without your physical key, your user name and password are useless.

A set of various keys and keychain accessories, including a blue USB security key, a black USB security key, a white key fob, and a small black USB-C adapter, are placed on a black computer keyboard. The keys are attached to a metal keyring. The keyboard has visible keys such as "Alt," "F," "G," "H," and "B."

Security key access has been available for Google and Facebook for a while now, but an announcement today from Yubico is one of the biggest developments in ages. Yubico was the first to sell hardware access keys that support the open protocols used to secure accounts, and they have been the industries biggest cheerleader, pushing all large online firms to get behind this push for better security.

Two-Factor authentication keys from Yubico start at just $20, and you’ll find a whole assortment of different versions on the Yubico pages over at Amazon. The most basic version is a simple USB stick. More advanced versions add NFC, while others are made for laptop owners with USB-C ports, like found on the Macbook Air.

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