Passwords, 2FA, and Yubikeys

September 19, 2020 2 min read • Open  • Code 

I've spent the day trying to get this setup working with GitHub and given the number of gotcha's I encountered, it seemed like a good idea to document how I finally got this working with as few hacks as possible. There's a lot of documentation out there (some of it old and misleading) and committing here for posterity will help me remember this when I inevitably need to do this again.


Passwords are simply not enough these days. Regardless of the company, breaches (and the associated Personally Identifiable Information harvested) are a matter of not if, but when. There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself, but being on the tin-foil-hat side of paranoia, means there are a few Commandents that I adhere to (and recommend for other folks)[Insert link to Fight Club Rules for the Secure Internet].

That being said, if you use 2-factor authentication and have committed to using a hardware token such as the Yubikey, then you're already ahead of the curve. The problem is that while this has been broadly adopted in enterprise, it still feels like the bleeding edge. It doesn't help that the Yubikey documentation and tools are out-of-date and possibly not fully supported on MacOS. This doc is to address this gap and bring awareness to the somewhat-mainstream.

The Yubikey 5

The Yubikey 5

The instructions below are for the Yubikey 5 (which is what I have). If you have an older version of the key, the instructions below may not work for you and you may want to consider upgrading to a newer version.

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