YubiKey 4C Nano, The Smallest USB Type-C Multi-Protocol Security Key

Yubico, a leading provider of hardware tokens, has launched the “YubiKey 4C Nano,” which is the smallest USB Type-C physical security key for two-factor authentication on the market.

New Size For New Laptops

The 4C Nano uses the same YubiKey 4 platform and is essentially a miniature version of the previously released YubiKey 4C. This is Yubico’s second miniature hardware token based on the YubiKey 4 platform. The first was the YubiKey 4 Nano that supported the older USB-A ports.

YubiKey 4 series hardware tokens

The new token seems to target users who want a physical two-factor authentication solution that doesn’t attract too much attention. The size also make it easier to just leave it inside your laptop when you travel. As more laptops begin sporting the USB Type-C standard, it makes sense to support those devices, as well, especially as some of them have already dropped the USB-A ports.

Multi-Protocol Support

The YubiKey 4C Nano supports the latest FIDO Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) standard), which allows users to authenticate to their devices with a single touch of the token through strong public key cryptography.

This is both more secure and easier to use than the traditional method where the token would generate a five- or six-digit code that the user would have to then input in an application or service to log in. However, the YubiKey 4C Nano also supports the traditional one-time password (OTP) protocol. OpenPGP and PIV smart cards are supported, as well.

When we asked if company intends to support the USB Type-C authentication protocol, Yubico said that it's on the roadmap. This could offer additional integrity checking and anti-phishing protection.

“As we continue to see an onslaught of hacks and data breaches resulting from weak or stolen login credentials, two-factor authentication with the YubiKey is the easiest and most secure way to protect enterprise and consumer identities, accounts and data,” said Stina Ehrensvard, CEO and Founder, Yubico. “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,” she added.

The YubiKey 4C Nano can be used to authenticate via Windows smart cards and Windows Hello functionality, and to login to major services such as Google, Facebook, Dropbox, Salesforce, and others that now support U2F authentication. The token works with Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome, Opera, and it will soon work with Firefox, too.

The tiny new YubiKey 4C Nano is now available for purchase from Yubico's online store for $60.

Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.
  • Erik_37
    I want to see a demo of it with a checkout in store and a smartphone with android pay or samsung pay literally.
  • Flying-Q
    If the key can be left in the laptop then what is the point of 2FA? If the laptop is stolen then so is the second factor. If the user has saved their password and username in the web browser then the thief has everything needed!