At the recent RSA conference in San Francisco, CA, LastPass announced support for Yubico's latest two-factor authentication technology. The NFC-enabled YubiKey NEO is Yubico's first step to expanding their technology across smartphones and tablets.
To explain the terminology a bit, "NFC" is short for "Near Field Communication". It's a short-range wireless technology that allows devices to talk to each other and perform other actions, like transferring data and doing transactions. There is usually a chip in the smartphone that can communicate with software on the device while receiving signals from an external device (in this case, the YubiKey NEO).
Like the basic YubiKey, the YubiKey NEO is a small token that fits naturally on a keychain. The device combines the NFC swipe technology with the regular USB interface, so you can use the YubiKey NEO to authenticate your LastPass account on both your computer and your smartphone.
How it works
You can first associate a YubiKey with your LastPass account in your LastPass account settings (accessed from your LastPass Vault by launching the "account settings" link and clicking the "YubiKey" tab). After inserting your YubiKey into a USB port on your computer, you can focus in one of the YubiKey fields and swipe the device to enter the data. Once you have updated your settings, you can grab your Android and launch the LastPass app to login.
When the YubiKey NEO is introduced to an NFC-enabled smartphone, the YubiKey emits a securely encrypted one time password (OTP), which the phone reads.
Yubico's video shows the device in action with LastPass:
How to get one
For early adopters who want the technology now, pre-production samples of the YubiKey NEO are available at Yubico's web store for $50 per unit. Pre-production samples are only available in single units, with volume orders and full production planned for summer 2012. We may offer a bundle with LastPass Premium and the YubiKey NEO in the future, since YubiKey support is a LastPass Premium feature. For those who may be considering LastPass Premium, the upgrade is $12 per year for unlimited access to all LastPass Premium features.
We're continuing to explore opportunities for enhancing mobile security and the mobile experience as a whole, stay tuned for future updates.
The LastPass Team