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With iOS 13, Apple extends Webauthn via NFC functionality on the iPhone

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Kamal Saini
Kamal S. has been Journalist and Writer for Business, Hardware and Gadgets at Revyuh.com since 2018. He deals with B2b, Funding, Blockchain, Law, IT security, privacy, surveillance, digital self-defense and network policy. As part of his studies of political science, sociology and law, he researched the impact of technology on human coexistence. Email: kamal (at) revyuh (dot) com

With iOS 13, Apple opens the radio interface NFC of the iPhone and as a result, NFC-enabled Fido sticks can now be used with the iPhone, enabling password-free login or two-factor authentication via Webauthn.

Apple announced at its September conference, the NFC interface to open, writes the Yubikey manufacturer Yubico in a blog entry. Existing Fido2 sticks like the Yubikey 5 NFC could be used with the update with the iPhone. Also, the NFC-enabled Fido2 stick Solokey Tap should then work with iOS. The new version of Apple’s mobile operating system is scheduled for release on September 19, 2019.

So far Apple limited the NFC interface under iOS on pure read access, with iOS 13 should now also the write access be permitted. Fido2 and Fido U2F require both read and write access. However, password-free login or two-factor authentication via Fido2 / Webauthn so far only a few online services and often supported only with selected browsers. For example, Safari on iOS will not support Webauthn until the upcoming release 13 is received.

According to Yubico, the Yubikeys manufacturer, Webauthn can currently only be used with the Brave browser on iOS. This allows the Yubikey to be used for two-factor authentication on online services such as Dropbox, Google or Github. A complete list of supported services can be found on the Yubico website.

Yubico recently released a Yubikey specifically for Apple devices. It has a Lightning and a USB-C plug and can be plugged directly into iPhones or iPads. However, not all features of the Yubikeys are currently supported on iPad Pro models with USB-C ports, writes Yubico.

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