Selecting and using a security key (i.e. YubiKey) for two-factor authentication

What is a security key?

At the University of Wyoming, web-based logins require two steps to authenticate, ensuring the system that you have appropriate access and are not a hacker. A security key, such as a YubiKey, is a hardware device that can act as your second form of authentication and can take the place of authentication through the Duo Mobile app on a smartphone.

If you have opted to use a security key instead of your smartphone, this article will provide you with the steps needed to select, enroll, and use your key.

Selecting an appropriate key

While other brands of webauthn security keys may work, we recommend using a YubiKey, which UW has verified works with our two-factor system. These can be purchased directly from the vendor Yubico or from Amazon’s Yubico store.  

When selecting a Yubikey, or other brand of security key, it is important to choose a key that is compatible with your device(s). Examine the USB ports of the device(s) you will use to log into the UW system and choose a key that will work in those ports.

Select YubiKey 5 NFC for devices with standard USB-A ports, such as many desktop computers, some laptops, and USB hubs.

For large USB-A ports select the YubiKey 5 NFC device


Select YubiKey 5C NFC for devices with smaller USB-C ports, often found on laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

For newer, smaller USB-C ports select the YubiKey 5C NFC device.


What if you have some devices with only USB-A ports and some with only USB-C ports? YubiKey will work through most USB port adapters!

IMPORTANT!!! Make sure that you have the key with you so that you can login to UW resources! We recommend carrying it on a key ring.

IMPORTANT!!! If you lose your security key, request assistance here to protect your account.

Enrolling your security key with Duo

  1. While off campus, two factor will not be required on campus, go to (or try to log in to a UW system in a different browser to trigger two-factor authentication). 
  2. Log in with your credentials.  When the two factor prompt appears, click Other options.


  1. Click Manage devices.

  1. You will be prompted to two factor with an existing method.  Then click Add a device.


  1. Select Security key from the list of device options.

  1.  Click Continue.

  1. A pop-up window will appear.  Follow the instructions (insert token and press the button when asked).

  1. You will be informed that your security key is added.  Click Continue.


Using your security key to authenticate

  1. On the two factor screen, the Security Key will be the two factor option selected by default, so you should not need to do anything to select that option.  The screens can look different depending on your operating system and browser.  Below is just one set.  You may be prompted to hit ctl+alt+delete.
  2. You will be prompted to insert and touch your fob.

You may be prompted to enter your credentials and then hit ctl+alt+delete to use your Yubikey.

  1. This will complete two factor with your two factor fob.



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Article ID: 29168
Wed 4/12/17 9:54 AM
Fri 3/8/24 9:23 PM