Friday 30 September 2016

USB Type-C may soon protect you from dodgy chargers

Mark O'Beirne

Published 13/04/2016 | 15:34

USB Type-C
USB Type-C

The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) has spoken about a possible solution to the issue of dodgy USB Type-C charging cables.

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The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) is working on a solution, which could protect consumers from dodgy USB Type-C cables.

Its solution is a cryptographic-based software solution (utilising 128-bit encryption) that verifies a USB charger or device's capabilities and certification when it's plugged into the USB port.

This, according to Ars Technica, happens before any data or power connection occurs. So even though the USB cable will be plugged in, it won’t fry the device that it’s plugged into. Not only that, but it can protect a device against maliciously embedded hardware and software. This should be reassuring news for IT departments if nothing else.

The USB-IF says that support for these new specifications could be implemented via firmware and software updates. However, you’ll have to replace adapters, cables, and other accessories that can't receive firmware or software updates.

Dodgy USB Type-C cables are something to be watched out for. Amazon recently clamped down on USB Type-C cables, updating its listings to get rid of those that don’t meet the USB Type-C specification revision 1.1.

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