Introducing the Yubikey Nano XL Rugged edition

27-04-2018 | Remy van Elst

Table of Contents


On the left, the small Yubikey nano, next to the regular larger Yubikey

Last month my Yubikey broke. I had a second one as a backup so there were no problems for me. This second yubikey is a Nano model, that means it is about 1 cm by 1 cm, the normal yubikey is 2 cm by 5. It fits inside the USB port and is meant to be inserted in the computer all the time. Extracting it from the port is hard as well, since it is so small. I use my yubikey on different machines and don't like the idea of it being in a computer when I'm not there, so I wanted to fix this. I did not fix it by buying a regular sized yubikey, but I found a clever workaround, which I name the Yubikey nano XL Rugged. You'll understand when you see the pictures.

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Yubikey Nano Rugged XL

I carry my yubikey in my wallet, and the Yubikey nano had to be in the plastic thing it came in, otherwise it would damage. It is not more than a USB plug, the part that goes in the port, so small. The intended use is to keep it in your computer all the time but that is not my use case. Since I was given this key a long time ago I did not want to buy a new key, since this one functionally works the same. After a month of daily insertion I saw marks on the Yubikey and I suspect this device is not made for frequent insertion, and I also don't want it to break soon. The other one lasted almost 7 years so I expect that timeframe from this key as well.

Via my local cable dealer webshop I bought this USB 3 male to female adapter (non-referral link). I cannot for the life of me think of a usecase for this specific plug, until now, but I'm happy they sell it. Check your local (china) shop, I expect this is sold everywhere.

Here's my Yubikey Nano XL Rugged:


The two seperate parts:


Here is a comparison between the Nano XL Rugged and the regular Yubikey:


They are almost the same size wise, the XL Rugged is three times as thick (height).


This of course is not an official Yubikey product. I cobbled together an adapter and a Yubikey Nano and thought of a nice name. You can buy a regular Yubikey, which will probably be a better (at least less thick) choice.

Tags: backups  blog  hotp  lastpass  nano  nitrokey  password  rugged  security  usb  yubikey