Yubico Login App Secures YubiKey Owners' Windows Local Sign-Ins

Yubico Login for Windows

(Image credit: Yubico)

Yubico hasn't given up on Windows users who continue to rely on local accounts. The company announced (opens in new tab) yesterday that its Yubico Login for Windows app--which used to be called "Windows Logon Tool"--is now available to all YubiKey users.

YubiKey products are used to sign into compatible accounts secured with two-factor, multi-factor or passwordless authentication protocols. These hardware keys allow people to secure their accounts with more than just a username-password combination without having to rely on passwords sent via digital platforms. That way the one-time password can't be intercepted -- and service providers can't misuse contact information (opens in new tab) that was only shared for security purposes 'by mistake.'

Yubico Login for Windows is supposed to help YubiKey users access their local accounts on Windows-powered workstations. The company said in yesterday's announcement that its app offers "simple configuration for up to 10 individual users, fast enrollment for backup YubiKeys and easy recovery mechanisms for lost YubiKeys." But there is a catch: the app can't be used with Azure Active Directory, Active Directory or Microsoft accounts; it's only compatible with local accounts.

The company picked a funny time to officially release the app, which works with Windows 10 (opens in new tab), Windows 8.1 and Windows 7. Hot Hardware (opens in new tab) reported in September that Microsoft's trying even harder to convince Windows 10 users to create Microsoft accounts when they set up a new PC. People are only given the option of setting up a local account if they're offline, say they don't want to go online and then click a button mysteriously labeled "Domain join instead." Microsoft all but forces Windows 10 users to create a cloud-based account (opens in new tab).

The good news is that Yubico and Microsoft partnered to offer passwordless authentication with the YubiKey available in the Azure Active Directory preview. People can also use the YubiKey as a Personal Identity and Verification (PIV) card to access their Active Directory accounts. Those options allow Microsoft's enterprise customers and their employees to use YubiKey products to access their accounts. As for consumers, well, Yubico has to hope they're ready to "Domain join instead."

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.