I bought a YubiKey 5 NFC this week and have started using 2FA and U2F where I can but am deathly allergic to the idea of losing access.
For backing up U2F access I'm going to buy a second U2F token (probably a YubiKey depending upon the answer to this question) and register it to all my services. But I am not sure how to back up all of my YubiKey-backed TOTP-based authentication codes. I have the recovery codes for all of these services, but I would like to have a second TOTP generating mechanism.
I have read that YubiKey-backed TOTP is phone-independent in an article titled YubiKey for SSH, Login, 2FA, GPG and Git Signing:
One very nice (and unclear, at first) advantage of having a YubiKey seeded with 2FA codes is that we can now generate 2FA codes on any phone, as long as we have our YubiKey with us.
I already had to remote-lock and remote-erase a phone in the past, and losing the Google Authenticator settings is not fun. If you handle your YubiKey with care, you shouldn't have that problem anymore.
But I am unsure how this would work. Furthermore, that is the case if I lose the phone, but not the YubiKey.
So my question is two-fold:
- How do I ensure I can use the same TOTP tokens if I lose my phone? That is to say, if I have a YubiKey seeded with TOTP authentication for
nservices, would simply installing Yubico Authenticator on a new phone and then tapping the YubiKey to the new phone's NFC antenna generate the same TOTP tokens? If not, how would I access them on the new phone?
- How can I ensure back up TOTP authentication with a second YubiKey in case I lose my first YubiKey? That is to say, it is easy to register a second YubiKey in, say, GitHub, by simply going to the two-factor authentication management screen and clicking
Register New Device, but there is no clear way to register a second authenticator app, which is how I registered the TOTP passwords for the YubiKey. I have read on the Yubico website that "if you backup the secret (or QR code) at the time of programming, you can later program the same secret onto a second YubiKey and it will work identically as the first." Can this be done at the time of 2FA registration in the Yubico Authenticator app? That is to say, I register two YubiKey's with the same 2FA QR code simultaneously?