True Logins

Announcing True Logins

With nearly 50,000 sites protected by Clef, we have proved that thoughtful design can keep us safer online. I’m excited to announce another piece of our protection package — today we’re releasing True Logins, the first tool to protect against phishing attacks. Phishing attacks prey on ignorance and have been some of the hardest to combat since they take the user away from trusted sites. This is a security breakthrough and it’s only possible because of the incredible interaction design research happening at Clef.

Phishing is when an attacker disguises themselves and pretend to be another website. They might use or so you think you’re in a normal, safe place. Then, if you type in your password for the real site, they can steal your account. You’re not on the real site, so there’s nothing the real developers can do (except nag you about always checking yourself).

But telling users to protect themselves isn’t good enough. We can’t all be vigilant all the time, and so phishing continues to be a popular attack.

True LoginClef is uniquely able to solve a problem like this because of our approach to security and our position across sites. At Clef, we know that good security has to be automatic, and that motivates the interaction design research that makes Clef magic. Because Clef credentials are decentralized and work across sites, we’re also uniquely positioned to solve the user problem, instead of just solving problems for one site. True Logins couldn’t come from anyone else because of the way the industry thinks about security, and the silos that have traditionally existed between sites.

True Logins add a simple check when you log into a new computer. After you sync the Wave, Clef temporarily redirects you to a safe site and your phone asks a simple question to confirm you’re in the right place. If anything is suspicious, Clef cancels the login and sends you to where we can be sure you aren’t being phished. Otherwise, you’re logged in like normal and we remember the computer so you only have to do the extra step once.

As a company we’re focused on protecting Bitcoin and cryptocurrency sites that traditionally see a huge amount of attempted fraud. More daunting than protecting the sites themselves is the task of rebuilding trust with their users.  A lot of security talk can be very technical and hard to understand, so even as we do more of the security work for our users, we’re always working to make the process more obvious and easier to understand. It is absolutely critical that we build trust with folks who don’t have any knowledge about the technology that powers a feature like this.

Updates for Clef with True Logins are in the iOS and Android app stores, so go upgrade and let us know what you think!

FastComet joins the Safer Hosts program

fastcomet-clef-blogI’m super excited to announce that FastComet is now a part of Clef’s Safer Hosts program. In joining the program, FastComet is installing Clef by default for all of their shared-hosting customers — adding better security by default to their SSD cloud hosting.

FastComet is a US based web host that powers websites for thousands of customers all over the world. After seeing Clef in a CloudFlare presentation on web security, they got in contact about protecting their customers. In the words of Daniel Lee, FastComet’s Director of Partnerships,

As a hosting provider, one of our primary goals is to keep our customers protected from malicious activity on their websites. Clef is an easy-to-use solution that keeps everyone safe.

After joining Safer Hosts, FastComet took things to the next level. They created three awesome tutorials on setting up Clef for different platforms: WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. Totally awesome.

We’re super excited that FastComet is joining us in making good security the default.

If you’re in the market for fast SSD-based cloud hosting for any platform, check out FastComet.

New year, new look

By any measure, 2014 was an incredible year for Clef. We started the year powering logins on a little over 100 sites and ended it on more than 30,000. We hosted 50 Clef Cooks dinners in Oakland and we raised $1.6m to fight passwords.

We’re starting 2015 in a brand new office and with a bunch of incredible new teammates (our team is already 7 people)! But we’re just getting started and today we’re unveiling a new logo for Clef to bring us into the new year.


The Clef Wave is at the very core of what we’ve built with Clef and we want to embrace that in our logo and brand identity. The Wave is who we are and we wanted that to be reflected in how we presented ourselves. You’ll see this changing everywhere you’re used to seeing Clef — our app icon on your phone, the login screens where you use Clef, and across our website and social media accounts.

We’ll have new t-shirts and stickers soon that we’d love to share with you! Send us a note on Twitter (@getclef) or email (support at getclef dot com) and we’ll send them your way once they’re ready. 

We’re also announcing a new feature — offline logins. Until now, it was impossible to log in with Clef if your phone wasn’t connected to the Internet. This doesn’t happen a lot, but it’s annoying for folks who are travelling or trying to log in on airplanes. Logging in offline looks just like a normal online login (you scan the Clef Wave like always), but then you turn your phone’s screen around and show another animation back to the computer.

It’s pretty cool. If you want to try it out, you can put your phone in airplane mode and log in anywhere that uses Clef!

We have an incredible year ahead of us with many more exciting announcements coming soon. Stay tuned :)

A bigger, better Clef

Clef is two-factor authentication from the future (learn more here). We’re excited to announce raised $1.6m from Morado Ventures and some amazing angels led by Raj Mehta to help us build the company we love, solve two-factor authentication, and kill passwords. 

Until very recently, Clef consisted of three people — Mark, Jesse, and I (Brennen). For the last two years, we’ve been on a mission to kill passwords and we’ve built an amazing product to do it. We launched in June of last year and have been living, breathing, and dreaming Clef ever since.

Along the way, we’ve been extraordinarily fortunate to find communities that have welcomed us. With their support, we’ve grown from less than 100 sites using Clef at this time last year to more than 16,000 today. In WordPress, we’ve blown away every other two-factor authentication option by focusing on what we do best: creating a beautiful login experience that delights instead of frustrates. We could not be more proud of, or grateful for, everything that has happened so far.

But we’re not finished yet: we have huge goals and miles to go before we sleep. To help us achieve those goals and build the company we love, we’ve raised $1.6m from some incredible investors, including Morado Ventures and a group of wonderful angels led by Raj Mehta.

In the next year, we’ll continue rapidly expanding our presence in platforms like WordPress, but we’ll also be adding a new focus: Bitcoin. As cryptocurrencies are adopted by everyday Internet users, an important challenge arises: how can we keep users who refuse to use traditional two-factor safe? Clef is the answer. We’ve built the best two-factor in the world and as passwords die, we’ll keep Bitcoin users safe with an experience they love.

We announced a few weeks ago that Laurence had joined the Clef team to help with support and today I’m happy to announce two other hires: Darrell Jones III will be joining us in December to do business development, and Sasha Heinen will be joining us in January to build our apps. Darrell is a force of nature we were all inspired by in college and Sasha is one of the best engineers I’ve met.

As we grow, we’ll never lose sight of the many people and communities that helped us on our way. To everyone who has supported us: Thank You. We are so grateful for your support.

To celebrate, we’d like to extend an (always open) invitation to our 67th weekly community dinner in Oakland. Swing by our office anytime after 6:30, enjoy some home cooking by Mark, Jesse and I, and celebrate the beginning of a new era in Clef’s life.

Making two-factor easy with Installatron

logo996Today, we’re excited to announce that Installatron is now offering Clef as a part of their WordPress installer, bringing the best two-factor in the world to even more hosts and users by default. In the words of Phillip Stier, co-founder of Installatron:

“Two-factor authentication is essential now, and Clef’s solution is the most elegant available.”

Installatron is one of the leading providers of web application installation and management products for hosts. They’ve become a standard because they take simplicity and security seriously, creating a beautiful user experience for the hosts they serve and end-users.

We connected through one of our Safer Hosts, WPPronto, and are so excited to be working with them to make the Internet a safer place.

The Safer Hosts initiative

If you’re a host that uses Installatron, we’ve created the Safer Hosts program to bring you on board. As part of Safer Hosts, you’ll be able to use Clef on your own domain for free when you offer Clef two-step logins for your customers’ sites (Clef will always be free for sites with less than 1,000 logins per month).

We’ll also feature and promote you as a Safer Hosts on the Clef blog and hosts page to make sure you get the love you deserve. You can read more about the Safer Hosts program here.

Protecting users by default

As the web has grown, everyday users have been left in the cold when it comes to security. Often times, we only protect those who have the resources and time to research best practices on their own.

Every user in our community should be protected from the start. We are so pleased to be working with Installatron to make good security the default.

You can read more about the Safer Hosts program here.

Welcoming Duco Hosting to Safer Hosts!

logo1Today, I’m excited to welcome Duco Hosting to our Safer Hosts program. As a Safer Host, they’ll be installing Clef by default in their WordPress hosting plan — from the second you set up your site, you’ll be secured with beautiful two-factor authentication.

From games to hosting

Started by Cas Eliëns a little more than a year ago, Duco originally started as a game host. As they signed up more customers, however, they realized that their high quality hosting services were attracting people more than their focus on games. After some deliberation, they decided to refocus on the only thing that mattered: building the best hosting product that they could.

Many of Duco’s customers host business-critical services like WHMCS, so security has been a top priority from the beginning. In Cas’ words,

The more security the better! I started using Clef, and then I found out about the Safer Hosts program and figured spreading the word would be the right thing to do!

We’re super excited to have Duco as a member of Safer Hosts!

If you’re looking for small business hosting, check out Duco Hosting. malware warning on blogs displaying the Clef badge

UPDATE: this issue has been resolved. Google accidentally blocked and has now corrected the mistake. All blogs with the Clef badge displayed will display normally. Neither nor Clef were compromised and there is no reason for concern.

Early this morning, Google blacklisted in their Safe Browsing list, which led to links to being blocked in Chrome & Firefox. When users visited a site that used links, they saw the following error.




This impacts Clef users who enable the Clef badge (we love you!) because we use a link to link to the badge image. If your site is affected, you can disable the Clef badge in the Clef settings on your WordPress dashboard. Google fixed their mistake, there should no longer be an issue!

We’re very sorry for the inconvenience here — enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Touch ID for Clef

From the moment we started working on Clef, we’ve been driven by the philosophy that the only security that matters is the security you actually use. If it’s too hard, we won’t use it, regardless of its level of security. That’s why the majority of Americans have never used traditional two-factor, and why we reuse weak passwords even when we know better.

Making the Internet more secure means baking security in by default. It also means crafting an experience so intuitive that people don’t need to second guess whether they are taking the right steps to keep themselves safe online.

That’s why we’re pleased to announce that you can now use Touch ID instead of a PIN to unlock the Clef app on your phone.

Farewell PIN

Touch ID for Clef

We’ve worked hard to make Clef the best two-factor authentication in the world. But every time we opened up Clef on our phones, we were greeted by the PIN, a necessary evil to keep Clef accounts safe from phone thieves.

When you enable Touch ID, logging in with Clef is as simple pointing the app at your computer screen. You’ll still need to remember your PIN if you want to activate Clef on a new device, but it’s a step closer to our vision — a seamless login experience where your phone does all of the hard authentication work for you.

Touch ID is available on iOS 8 for the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. We think you’re going to love how fast and easy it is.

Say Hello to Laurence!

On August 7th, 2013, I received a fateful email, though I didn’t know it at the time. In response to a survey about using Clef for payments[1], I got a very well thought out answer from a user named Laurence.

Dear Jesse,

I’m excited to hear about the progress on payments. Go Clef!

To your questions:

… 400 words …


While we didn’t end up pursuing payments, this email started a relationship that today takes a new turn. Laurence has been a Clef user from the start and one of our most vocal advocates. That’s why we’re so excited to announce that he’s joining our team as our Head of Support.

If you’re looking for help with Clef, and you run into Laurence, make sure to give him a warm welcome!

How to fix “Problem with the SSL CA cert (path? access rights?)” error

Note: if you’re not seeing any issues, there’s nothing to worry about!

Last week, the shellshock vulnerability in bash required an update that has temporarily broken SSL for many servers running PHP around the web. For the Clef for WordPress plugin, this is an issue because the secure login handshake happens over an SSL connection with the Clef servers.

To resolve the issue, you’ll need to restart Apache (or nginx). If that doesn’t fix the problem, you’ll need to restart your entire server.

Once you’ve done that, HTTP request over SSL will work normally and you’ll be able to log in with Clef.

If you have any questions about the issue, or need help getting it resolved, don’t hesitate to join our support room or email us at