Set up a security key

Last updated: August 11, 2022

Follow these steps to set up a security key (also known as Universal 2nd Factor, or U2F) device for Duo two-factor authentication (2FA) at the University of Washington. Once you set up your security key, you can use it to sign in with 2FA.

What is a security key?

A security key isn’t a one-button hardware token! If you’re looking for information about regular one-button 2FA devices that display a passcode, refer to Hardware Tokens.

A security key implements WebAuthN, an open standard for user authentication. You or your department can purchase your own compatible security key.


Security keys only work for signing in with 2FA on the web.

Refer to Does Duo support Security Keys for a list of compatible browsers.

Set up your security key

In your browser

Follow these steps using a compatible browser:

  1. StepsActions
  2. Navigate to
  3. Sign in with your UW NetID and password.
  4. If you haven’t already, agree to the Duo terms of service.
  5. If this is your first 2FA device, read the brief information to “Protect Your University of Washington Account” and click Start setup. If you already have a device set up, sign in with one of your 2FA devices and click “Add another device”.
  6. Select “Security Key”.
  7. Click Continue.
  8. Read the brief “Enroll Your Security Key” information and click Continue.
  9. A pop-up window will open. If it does not, you may need to temporarily adjust your browser settings to allow a pop-up window.
  10. Insert your security key into your computer. If your device has a light and it is flashing, tap the contact on the device. If the light is not flashing, remove and re-insert it. After tapping the contact on your device you should see a green check-box in the pop-up window and then it will automatically close.
    • Note: Some systems will show another prompt, in addition to the pop-up window, that instructs you to insert your security key and tap the contact. This is expected, and will occur both during initial enrollment and when the security key is used to sign-in. Other systems do not display the additional prompt.
  11. Set up is complete. Duo will show “My Settings & Devices”. Note: the ‘check enrollment’ button will not work correctly if the only enrolled device you have is a security key. If you reach the “My Settings & Devices” screen after enrolling the device, you’ve successfully completed the enrollment process. On this screen you can change the name of your device or add another device (recommended).

What’s next?

Now that you have set up your device, you’re ready to sign in with 2FA when it’s required.

We also recommend setting up one other device in case you lose your primary device.

Need help? See 2FA FAQs or contact us for support.