In the past few years, I tried different types of FIDO2 keys, from different vendors. And picking your FIDO2 key might seem simple, but I think it’s like picking a new phone: some many options! They come in all sizes and colors, with or without biometrics, and even as wearables like rings or bracelets.
What is FIDO2?
Let’s go one step back first. Why do we need them? FIDO2 security keys are one of the options to liberate us from passwords. Passwords are used for almost everything, and they are bad. Let’s put it that way. They get stolen all the time, and since 8 out 10 persons on this globe use just 1 password for everything, we are extremely vulnerable when that happens.
More and more platforms like Google, GitHub, Twitter, Outlook.com, and Microsoft 365 are offering support for FIDO2 keys, both for U2F (use FIDO as the second factor), or as a replacement for your username and password. And the good thing is: FIDO2 works on almost any device, whether that is your Windows machine, macOS, or even mobile device like iOS and Android. Organizations with shared devices can use FIDO2 to provide quick and safe access to their workstations.
Now back to the keys themselves. I’ve tried a bunch of keys over the past years, but the ATKey.Pro is my all-time favorite so far. It comes in both USB A and C and is lightweight. It is also smaller than most of the keys that I tried. And I know that I’m not the only one that loves the ATKey. Our friend and ‘co-ambassador for passwordless authentication Libby Brown, Program Manager at Microsoft, also tweeted about how much she loves the ATKey FIDO key. The fanbase for this nifty-designed key is growing rapidly.
Both USB A and C types have solid mounting into the device. Some keys I’ve tested are very fragile, but these are rock solid!
It comes with a silicone case that you can hook up to your keychain. It has a LED indicator. For example, this will turn green when your fingerprint is accepted, and red if it’s not.
The key has a built-in fingerprint reader. It is very fast and can hold up to 10 fingerprints. This is also the first time I see this type of design, placing the reader at the side instead of the top of the key. This is very smart because by touching the key as part of the authentication process, it will not burden or damage your USB port. That was something that concerned me when I tested out other keys.
This feature is very impressive. I recently found out that you can do this, and it makes so much sense for roll-outs on a larger scale. By using a power bank (or any other device that can power the key) you can easily enroll your fingerprint(s) to the key without the use of a device. The fingerprints will be stored locally on the key. If you don’t use a fingerprint, the key will fall back to using a PIN.
• Insert ATKey.Pro into USB port
• Check YouTube video here for the detail:
• LED is BLUE ON, quick click side-button 3x times
to get into enrollment mode:
• If there is no any fingerprint enrolled, LED turns
• If there are any enrolled fingerprints, LED is
GREEN flashing, please verify enrolled
fingerprint to start enrolling a new finger.
• Put your specific finger on the sensor, touch and lift
your finger (LED is WHITE flashing, from slow to
faster), repeat it more than 12 times till LED shows
GREEN (13th time), then your fingerprint is
• If you want to quit from standalone enrollment,
click button once, LED will turn to Blue, back to
Of course, enrollment can also be done by using the Windows settings or ATKey for Windows app. Check out the full user guide here: ATKey.Pro_quick_guide.pdf (authentrend.com)
For more information about the ATKey.Pro, please check out this page.
Want to try it yourself?
Picking a FIDO key is a matter of personal taste. Some like big fat keys, others small and portable. The best way to figure out what key fits you best is by trying them out.
I’m happy to announce that I can give away five keys for free, so you can try it out yourself!
Simply retweet the post on Twitter, and I will randomly pick 5 winners by Monday, August 23rd, 2021.
And the best part: I have the privilege to give away 5 keys for free! 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
— Jan Bakker (@janbakker_) August 19, 2021
Stay safe out there and embrace #passwordless!