In a nutshell: In an age where more people are falling victim to hackers, hardware security keys are becoming increasingly popular. Now, Swedish company Yubico is allowing people to log in to local Windows OS accounts using one of its USB devices.

Yubico's keys are already used to protect Gmail, Dropbox, password managers and more, and can also be used to log into Mac and Linux machines. After six months of testing, the firm has now released a stable version of the Yubico Login for Windows Application.

Yubico writes that the app is designed for individuals who have local accounts on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 computers. After installation on a Windows machine, the Yubico key can be used as a second layer of authentication. Users will still need to type in their passwords, but they'll also need to insert the USB key to complete the login process.

In addition to improving security, the application includes new core features, including enrollment for backup YubiKeys and lost YubiKey recovery mechanisms.

The app does not support local Windows accounts managed by Azure Active Directory (AAD) or Active Directory (AD).

Earlier this week, Google announced that it had worked with Yubico over the past year to develop a USB-C hardware key. Priced at $40, it's compatible with Android, Chrome OS, macOS, and Windows devices and will be sold alongside existing USB-A / NFC and Bluetooth / NFC / USB Titan Security Key variants.

You can download the Yubico Windows app from the company's website.