Sci-tech

USB Type-C Authentication Program launched to protect your devices

USB Type-C Authentication Program launched to protect your devices”

The USB-C standard has advantages over the normal USB connections that you find, such as higher data transfer speeds, faster charging and the ability to display video (in the case of Thunderbolt 3).

USB-C cables could soon come with built-in security thanks to the newly-launched USB Type-C Authentication Program [PDF].

It is optional for OEMs to participate in the Authentication program as of now.

Created to replace both ends of a USB connector, USB Type-C is becoming increasing popular - not least because it can be connected either way up, putting an end to the seemingly-impossible task of plugging in a USB cable the right way up in fewer than three tries.

Though USB-C is undeniably the cable standard of the future, living the 'dongle life' isn't as simple as it should be given cables adopt varied standards and purposes. An MFI Certified product means it's safe for your iOS device.

The USB Type-C Authentication Program is supposed to address two potential issues with Type-C hardware.

What is USB Type-C?

One way an attacker can compromise a system is by hacking a USB device and making modifications to the firmware or other hardware.

Support for authenticating over either USB data bus or USB Power Delivery communications channels.

The USB-IF might have the best of intentions here, but the program could cause some headaches for consumers.

"USB Type-C Authentication gives OEMs the opportunity to use certificates that enable host systems to confirm the authenticity of a USB device or USB charger, including such product aspects as the descriptors, capabilities and certification status", said DigiCert in a press release.

To protect devices from damage through incompatible chargers and malware attacks, USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) - the organization that supports and promotes changes for USB standards - has introduced an authentication program for USB-C connections.

There are a few companies out there with certifications to make chargers and cables, but the smaller ones won't be able to survive.



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