breadcrumbs: '' page_name: security-keys title: Security Keys

Security Keys Policy

This section documents Chrome's policy around Security Keys. Questions may be directed to

Registration and authentication attempts by sites

Web sites can attempt to register or authenticate Security Keys at any time. This ability should not be used in an abusive manner, in a way designed to compromise the privacy of the user, or in a way that triggers excessive notifications in Chrome or by the devices themselves.

If Chrome becomes aware of abuses of this ability we may withdraw Security Key privileges from certain websites, or alter our behaviour in other ways to ameliorate the problem.

Site attestation requirements

Chrome’s users have an interest in ensuring a healthy and interoperable ecosystem of Security Keys. To this end, public websites that restrict the set of allowed Security Keys should do so based on articulable, technical considerations. They should regularly update their set of trusted attestation roots that meet their policies (for example, from the FIDO Metadata Service) to ensure that new Security Keys that meet their requirements will function.

Chrome expects Security Key manufacturers who have passed FIDO certification to keep their attestation metadata updated in the FIDO Metadata Service.

If Chrome becomes aware that websites are not meeting these expectations, we may withdraw Security Key privileges from those sites. If Chrome becomes aware that manufacturers are not maintaining their attestation metadata we may choose to disable attestation for those devices in order to ensure a healthy ecosystem.

Attestation Batches

Security Keys are able to present an attestation certificate when registering with websites. These attestation certificates are intended to provide assurance to the site about the level of protection provided by the Security Key. However, they are also a privacy concern if the certificate is unique to a small number of Security Keys.

Google Chrome expects Security Keys to meet or exceed the FIDO guidance in this respect and thus have attestation certificates that cover at least 100,000 devices. When starting a new batch, manufacturers may temporarily have fewer than 100,000 devices using a given certificate. But, in the long run, Chrome expects at least 100,000 to share a certificate. However, Chrome expects at least 100,000 devices to share each new certificate before a new batch is begun.

If Chrome becomes aware that certain Security Keys are not meeting these requirements we may choose to disable attestation for those devices in order to protect the privacy expectations of our users.

(This does not apply to registrations where Chrome has signaled to a Security Key that it is operating in an enterprise context as detailed above—certificates may be individually identifying in this case.)

If Chrome becomes aware that devices are overly identifiable via other aspects of the protocol we may choose to cease allowing registrations, or to cease all interoperation with these devices for the same reason.

User presence tests

Some Security Keys are required to confirm user presence before performing certain operations. This is expected to prevent silent registration and silent authentication, both of which could violate our users’ privacy expectations. Chrome requires Security Keys to conform to the relevant specifications and to effectively implement these checks when required.

If Chrome becomes aware that certain Security Keys can be abused to allow silent registration or silent authentication we may choose to cease interoperating with these devices in order to protect the privacy expectations of our users.

User verification tests

Some Security Keys are capable of verifying the presence of a specific person, for example with a fingerprint sensor or PIN entry. Chrome expects these Security Keys to effectively protect this personal information.

If Chrome becomes aware that certain Security Keys are disclosing personal information, such as PINs or fingerprint hashes, then we may choose to cease interoperating with these devices in order to protect user privacy.

Attestation Behavior

Chrome supports two APIs for interacting with Security Keys: U2F (based on the FIDO U2F API, but supported via postMessage and an extension) and webauthn. (The latter may need to be enabled with a flag.)

Prior to Chrome 66, the U2F API always returned attestation information directly from security keys without obtaining user consent, while the webauthn API was unavailable.

Starting with Chrome 66, the U2F API has been altered to align it with webauthn: an additional member of the RegisterRequest object is supported that mirrors AttestationConveyancePreference from webauthn. Sites that have been using the U2F API will experience a change in behavior as the default will no longer cause the device's attestation information to be returned. To get the old behavior, sites should add an “attestation” member to the RegisterRequest object with the value “direct”. However, they should note that this will trigger a permission prompt.

Additionally, the attestation behavior is affected by the SecurityKeyPermitAttestation enterprise policy. This list can contain either U2F AppIDs (which are full URLs) or webauthn RP IDs (which are domains). Its affect on attestation is detailed in the following tables:


“attestation” valueAppID not listed in policyAppID listed in policy“none” / not givenFresh, self-signed certificate returnedFresh, self-signed certificate returned“indirect” / “direct”User prompted for consent. If granted, attestation from device is returned. Otherwise, fresh, self-signed certificate is returned.Attestation from device is returned (with “individual attestation” hint sent to the device).


“attestation” valueRP ID not listed in policyRP ID listed in policy“none” / not givenEmpty, “none” attestation returnedEmpty, “none” attestation returned“indirect” / “direct”User prompted for consent. If granted, attestation from device is returned. Otherwise a permission error is generated.Attestation from device is returned.“enterprise”Same as for “direct”.Attestation from device is returned (with “individual attestation” hint sent to the device).

(The behavior of “indirect” attestation in webauthn may change in the future but, for now, it is identical to “direct”.)

Individual Attestation

Security Keys are required to batch attestation information across at least 100 000 devices to preserve privacy (see below). However, in some enterprise contexts it is desirable to be able to track individual security keys. To enable this the SecurityKeyPermitAttestation enterprise policy can cause a signal to be sent to security keys to indicate that an individual attestation certificate may be returned for some registrations.

For U2F, the most-significant bit of the P1 byte in a U2F_REGISTER message will be set when an AppID is listed in the policy. It is up to the Security Key to act on this if it wishes.

For webauthn, that bit will be set if the RP ID is listed in the policy and “enterprise” attestation was requested. This is because RP IDs are coarser than AppIDs and so enumeration in the policy may not offer enough control.

Inadequately batched attestation certificates

Some security keys have been found to contain attestation certificates that do not meet the 100 000-batch requirement. Specifically, older models of the following products contain individually unique certificates:

  • KEY-ID FIDO U2F security key
  • HyperFIDO K5
  • HyperFIDO Mini

Because of this, attestation certificates with an issuer of “FT FIDO 0100” will be considered to be individually identifying certificates in Google Chrome 67 and later. Such certificates will be replaced with a fresh, self-signed certificate in U2F and will result in an empty, “none” attestation in webauthn—even when direct attestation is requested.

This measure is expected to also affect the following products, which we suspect have the same issue but which are not clearly commercially available and thus we have not tested:

  • Feitian ePass FIDO USB

Users of all these products could, potentially, find that they are unable to register these security keys when using Chrome 67 or later. However, at the time of writing, testing shows no impact in practice.

The SecurityKeyPermitAttestation enterprise policy will override this behaviour and cause the individually identifying certificates to be returned for the enumerated AppIDs and RP IDs. (See Individual Attestation, above.)