Yubico has announced a new version of its popular Security Key for use in Lightning ports, the first such device to enable physical token authentication for iPhones. The device also supports a USB-C connection.
Previously, the only way to connect a security key to an iPhone was over Bluetooth, which suffered Bluetooth’s normal usability issues as well as potential security concerns around mistaken pairings. Android devices can also pair over NFC, but that functionality is impossible under iOS’s current NFC restrictions.
Yubico wasn’t likely to ever make a Lightning-only security key because these keys are most useful when they’re device agnostic. iOS apps will have to add support for these sorts of keys, but it’s still nice that a Bluetooth-free security key option now exists for iPhone users.
(Brief primer on security keys, because I both use and recommend them: While a house key gets you into your home and a car key is required to start your vehicle—a physical Yubico security key can be a required part of your login flow for email, social media, etc. This makes those accounts almost impossible to hack, because an attacker would need your physical key. Additionally, I’ve found most people are (a) more willing to use and (b) faster to understand the concept of a physical key for your email; whereas explaining two-factor authentication codes can often take a few rounds of drawing before the idea takes.)