Is It Safe To Use A YubiKey After It Was not In My Possession?
A YubiKey is a physical device that you can use to authenticate your identity. It’s an extra layer of security that’s becoming more and more common, especially for people who work in sensitive industries or who handle sensitive information, like access to a secure code repository.
But what happens if you lose your YubiKey and it’s returned to you? Is it still safe to use?
The answer is yes, it is still safe to use your YubiKey, even if it has been out of your possession. That’s because your YubiKey is encrypted with a unique key that is specific to you and only you. Even if someone were to get their hands on your YubiKey, they wouldn’t be able to do anything with it unless they also had your unique key.
In other words, the data on your YubiKey cannot be extracted by any known techniques, so it’s quite likely that your information is safe even after the key has been returned to you. It’s possible that software exploits exist that are not known about, but it’s exceedingly unlikely that such a hack would be executed for the first time (or one of the first times) on you.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should just leave your YubiKey lying around. If you’re not using it, it’s best to keep it stored in a safe place where only you have access to it. And if you do lose your YubiKey, be sure to revoke its access from any accounts that you’ve used it with and then buy a new key.
The bigger thing someone could do with your YubiKey is try to login to a system as you, but this wouldn’t affect the key itself. Additionally they would have to known one or more other passwords to do this, as the YubiKey is generally used as a layered security measure alongside with other passwords and means of authentication.
Losing your YubiKey can be worrisome, but fortunately there’s no need to panic. As long as your YubiKey is encrypted with a unique key, it will remain safe even if it falls into the wrong hands. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should take lightly—be sure to revoke its access from any accounts that you’ve used it with and then generate a new key.