Community Wishlist Survey 2017/Admins and stewards/U2F support for 2FA

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U2F support for 2FA

  • Problem: Admins and people with higher rights constantly are under attack by hackers trying to guess or steal their passwords. Having two-factor authentication (2FA) protects against this, but it is vulnerable to phishing and hacking of mobile phones, and confusing for some non-technical users.
  • Who would benefit: Admins/Checkusers/People who have access to sensitive data and all other people whose data they have access to
  • Proposed solution: Enable Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) support for Wikimedia projects. U2F is a more modern 2FA mechanism with several advantages:
    • it's self-contained, no need to install any software - just plug it into an USB slot / touch it to your phone and it works;
    • it is hardware-based, thus unhackable (the secret key never leaves the device and there is no way to tamper with the software);
    • keys are bound to the website domain so it is immune to phishing.
  • More comments:


I expanded the description; feel free to change or revert. --Tgr (talk) 08:07, 20 November 2017 (UTC)[reply]

One of the biggest downsides to U2F compared to 2FA is the need for dedicated hardware. Most people have mobile phones to install authenticators on, whereas people may not have the hardware required for this. Some staff use YubiKeys. Is specialised hardware required, or could one theoretically use a generic USB stick? I'm wondering if this wish could be coupled with an initiative to distribute the relevant hardware to people. If preconfigured devices were brought by staff to public Wikimedia events (hackathons, Wikimania, etc.) then the only added costs would be staff time to set up the devices and the cost of small-capacity USB sticks. (This is just an idle thought I had, I have no control over any budget to do this.) --Dan Garry, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 15:09, 20 November 2017 (UTC)[reply]

@Deskana (WMF): Custom hardware is required. Part of the security guarantee of U2F is that your secret keys never leave the device so all the encryption, certificate verification etc. has to be done by the firmware. Cheap options are around $15 (U2F Zero is $9 but very barebones). High-end ones are $50-ish. I don't think they require any setup typically (Yubikey definitely doesn't; it supports a bunch of other authentication methods, like the OTP-based one used for WMF VPN access, and that requires some configuration, but the U2F functionality works out of the box). --Tgr (talk) 05:47, 28 November 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  • I believe this proposal should clarify that U2F support is going to supplement, not replace the currently existing 2FA mechanism (which may as well be made more user-friendly, but that's the topic of Make 2FA easier to use). It is my impression that people like L736E vote against the proposal based on the (I believe) wrong assumption that U2F will be the only supported 2FA method. Amir, Tgr?
    — Luchesar • T/C 17:19, 1 December 2017 (UTC)[reply]
    That's correct. What this proposal wants is to make it add the support, people can choose between these two options. Amir (talk) 23:50, 1 December 2017 (UTC)[reply]