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The Solo is an open-source FIDO2 security key. This article describes how to set up and use it.


The Solo (or SoloKey) is a small USB Security token supporting Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) requests, thus acting as a second factor for authentication. It also supports the newer FIDO2 standard allowing for passwordless logins.

Compared to a YubiKey it offers less features but supports firmware upgrades to extend the functionality in the future. Both hardware and software are released as open source.


Special drivers are not required for the key to work. It is recommended to install the Solo software and upgrade the firmware of your Solo.

Upgrading the firmware

Managing your Solo, e.g. upgrading the firmware or setting a PIN, requires the solo-pythonAUR package. After installing the package, first check if your key is detected.

$ solo ls
:: Solos
123456XXXXXX: SoloKeys Solo 3.0.1

Then you can use solo key update to perform a firmware upgrade, solo key set-pin to set a PIN, and solo key change-pin to change your pin.

Test the Solo in your browser

Visit the Webauthn demo, type in a username and click on "Register". Your Solo's LED will flash until you click it. After that, you can login to the page only using your Solo, no need for username or password.

Authentication for websites

U2F is supported by major sites like Google, Facebook, Twitter, or GitHub. Check out or to find other websites and links to setup documentation.

Authentication for Arch Linux

Yubico, the company creating the YubiKey, develops an U2F PAM module. It can be used to act as a second factor during login or replace the need for a password entirely.

Installing the PAM module

The module is part of the package pam-u2f.

Adding a key

Keys need to be added with the tool pamu2fcfg:

$ mkdir ~/.config/Yubico
$ pamu2fcfg -o pam://hostname -i pam://hostname > ~/.config/Yubico/u2f_keys

Click the button of your Solo to confirm the key.

Note: If the hostname of your system changes, e.g. because of DHCP in different networks, you would be unable to login. In order to prevent that, it is recommended to specify the abovementioned options and replace hostname with the actual hostname.

If you own multiple keys, append them with

$ pamu2fcfg -o pam://hostname -i pam://hostname -n >> ~/.config/Yubico/u2f_keys

Passwordless sudo

Warning: Before making any changes to your configuration, create a separate terminal window with superuser permissions (sudo -s). This way you can revert any changes if something goes wrong.

Open /etc/pam.d/sudo and add

auth            sufficient origin=pam://hostname appid=pam://hostname

as the first line. Be sure to replace the hostname as mentioned above. Then create a new terminal and type sudo ls. Your Solo's LED should flash and after clicking it the command is executed.

GDM login

Open /etc/pam.d/gdm-password and add

auth            required nouserok origin=pam://hostname appid=pam://hostname

after the existing auth lines. Please note the use of the nouserok option which allows the rule to fail if the user did not configure a key. This way setups with multiple users where only some of them use a Solo are supported.

Note: This method will not work with encrypted home partitions because the decryption is not done before the login process completed, so the u2f_keys file is unavailable. In this case use a central mapping file as explained in the official documentation of pam-u2f.

Other authentication methods

Enable the PAM module for other services like explained above. For example, to secure the screensaver of Cinnamon, edit /etc/pam.d/cinnamon-screensaver.


If you managed to lock yourself out of the system, boot into recovery mode or from a USB pen drive. Then revert the changes in the PAM config and reboot.

See also