Google is open-sourcing its security keys

OpenSK Security Key
(Image credit: RightBrainElectronics)
Audio player loading…

Security keys provide consumers and businesses alike with a more secure and easier way to log in to online sites and services without using passwords. 

However, not everyone has access to this technology which is why Google has launched a new open source project called OpenSK to enable hobbyists and hardware vendors to build their own security keys.

The company's new OpenSK initiative utilizes Rust-based firmware to turn chip dongles from Nordic Semiconductor into security keys that support both the FIDO U2F and FIDO2 standards. 

Google has also publicly released the necessary templates for users to 3D print their own OpenSK Key Enclosure (opens in new tab) to protect their security keys.

DIY security keys

In a blog post (opens in new tab) announcing the new initiative, Google's security and anti-abuse research lead Elie Bursztein and software engineer Jean-Michel Picod explained why the company chose Nordic's chips for its open source security keys, saying:

“In addition to being affordable, we chose Nordic as initial reference hardware because it supports all major transport protocols mentioned by FIDO2: NFC, Bluetooth Low Energy, USB, and a dedicated hardware crypto core.”

Director of product management at Nordic Semiconductor, Kjetil Holstad hopes that OpenSK will lead to mainstream adoption of security keys, saying:

“We’re excited to collaborate with Google and the open source community on the new OpenSK research platform. We hope that our industry leading nRF52840’s native support for secure cryptographic acceleration combined with new features and testing in OpenSK will help the industry gain mainstream adoption of security keys.”

Google also hopes to expand OpenSK to support other chips in the future though the project is currently in the experimental research phase.

Via Engadget (opens in new tab)

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.