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USB Type-C authentication program launched, will help protect your devices from malicious hardware

The authentication program will work like DRM for Type-C devices.

  • Published: January 4, 2019 11:18 AM IST
usb type-c

The USB-Type C standard was announced a few years back, and it looked quite promising for a number of reasons. First, unlike microUSB, Type-C is a reversible connector, meaning you can plug it without worrying about upside down. Secondly, it offers faster data transfer speeds, fast charging, and also acts as a media source, doing away the need of having HDMI or VGA ports on laptops. These are a few reasons why an increasing number of OEMs have been implementing Type-C on their laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Now, USB Implementers Forums (USB IF), which is a non-profit organization that looks after USB standards has announced a new ‘USB Type-C Authentication Program.’ It is aimed at protecting devices from malicious hardware and security hazards.

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“As the USB Type-C ecosystem continues to grow, companies can further provide the security that consumers have come to expect from certified USB devices,” USB-IF president and COO Jeff Ravencraft said. To make this happen, USB IF will work alongside DigiCert, who will manage the PKI and certificate authority services for the program. It will make use to 128-bit cryptographic-based authentication.

The program will confirm the authenticity of the USB device and cable to protect against non-compliant USB chargers, and thus reduce risks from malicious firmware. The authentication process will take place from the very moment the connection is made. It will restrict all inappropriate data and power from being transmitted.

If you hook up your device with an unknown USB Type-C charger, there is a potential risk of data theft and security. Also, high wattage third-party chargers post of risk of overheating your device when extra power is pushed. Under the new USB Type-C authentication program, connecting a non-compatible charger and data cable will not only terminate data transfer, but also not allow power to pass through.

  • Published Date: January 4, 2019 11:18 AM IST