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Using your YubiKey

Notes on installing and setting up your YubiKey 4 for various platforms and applications.


The YubiKey is a hardware device manufactured by Yubico that provides a hardware "second factor" enabling true two-factor authentication: something you know (your password) and something you have (your YubiKey). It enables you to easily and securely log in to accounts by emitting one-time passwords or using a FIDO-based public/private key pair generated by the device.


  • Simply plug it into an unused USB port.
  • During certain types of authentication you will be prompted on screen to press the inset copper button marked with and (often lit) "Y".

Security Hints

  • If you trust your environment (like at home) you can keep the YubiKey near or even plugged into your computer.
  • In low trust environments (coffee shops, hotel rooms, etc.) keep your YubiKey with you at all times (in a pocket or purse). If your computer is compromised, it won't be accessible without the YubiKey that you have on you.
  • Do not use SMS text messages for two-factor authentication.

Enable YubiKey TFA for applications

See also: How to Secure Your Google, Dropbox, and GitHub Accounts With a U2F Key


This requires a YubiKey token (cover the button for approximately one second) on laptop/desktop to unlock LastPass.

  • My Vault -> Account Settings -> Multifactor Options
  • Set up one free option (e.g., Google Authenticator) - this is a useful backup
  • YubiKey (an easier option) is available when using LastPass Premium ($12/year)
    • Select the YubiKey option.
    • Insert the YubiKey device into a USB port on your computer.
    • Focus your cursor on the "YubiKey #1" field.
    • Press the button on the YubiKey device.
    • A long string of dots should appear in the YubiKey #1 field.
    • Change the "YubiKey Authentication" status to "Enabled"
    • Set "Enabled" ==> "Yes"
    • Set "Permit Offline Access" ==> "Disallow"
    • Press the Update button
    • Enter your LastPass master password and press Confirm.
    • YubiKey is now enabled for your LastPass account.
  • If you have a YubiKey Neo (CivicActions uses the YubiKey 4 model) and your phone supports NFC, you can touch the Neo against your phone to unlock on mobile.


For each Google account you have:

  • Visit
  • Enable TFA, and complete the phone verification process (phone will act as backup TFA).
  • Click on "Security Keys" and follow instructions to add YubiKey.
  • Return to the main page and add a second phone and/or print backup codes.
  • As long as you have a backup, you can also install the YubiKey Authenticator app, and configure your account to use that for the backup TFA instead of SMS/phone - this is the same as the Google Authenticator app, except that it stores the credentials on your YubiKey instead of the phone.
  • If you have funky devices/apps that don't support TFA, you can set an application specific password using that tab. This includes sending E-mail from your personal Gmail account using your IMAP, for instance.


AWS Root Account

For each AWS account you have:

AWS IAM Account

  • Visit
  • Choose your user name
  • Click on Manage your MFA device
  • Use Google Authenticator app to scan the QR code, and enter the response code
  • then close and reopen the app and enter the second response code.
  • using YubiKey untested - don't have YubiKey Authenticator set up

Securing your Laptop

Your laptop should lock (require a password to resume) on screen close and after 15 minutes idle time.

YubiKey Neo U2F Setup

Some older YubiKeys (like the Neo) need to have U2F (Universal Second Factor) enabled before use. (If you are unsure, ask any IT staff member or on the #general slack channel.)

For these YubiKeys, you may need to install and configure some software that "personalizes" your YubiKey. Note: newer YubiKeys may not require this step.

Install Packages


See also:

pacaur -S perl-net-ldap-server    # this is a prerequisite
pacaur -S yubikey-neo-manager-git


See also:

dnf copr enable jjelen/yubikey-neo-manager
dnf copr enable spartacus06/yubikey-utils
dnf install yubikey-neo-manager yubioath-desktop yubikey-personalization-gui

Ubuntu, Xubuntu

See also:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yubico/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install yubikey-neo-manager yubikey-personalization yubikey-personalization-gui

Mac OS X

Download and install the YubiKey Personalization Tool.

Personalize your YubiKey

This allows you to use your YubiKey with Google TFA (new fangled U2F), as well as LastPass (which uses the OTP application).

GNU/Linux command line

# Enable OTP, U2F, CCID checkboxes if needed, follow instructions to add and remove key

ykpersonalize -2 -ochal-resp -ochal-hmac -ohmac-lt64 -oserial-api-visible

Mac OSX YubiKey tool

This should be straightforward, but waiting for a pull request that clearly explains how to:

  • Enable OTP, U2F & CCID
  • Personalize Configuration Slot 2 with options:
    • chal-resp (Set challenge-response mode)
    • chal-hmac (Generate HMAC-SHA1 challenge responses)
    • hmac-lt64 (Calculate HMAC on less than 64 bytes input)
    • serial-api-visible (Allow serial number to be read using an API call)

This page was last updated on August 2, 2023.