USB Type-C Authentication Program launched to protect your devices

New USB-C protocol paves way for more secure connections with

One is avoiding wonky USB Type-C chargers, which is a well-documented and immensely frustrating hazard of owning a USB Type-C device.

"USB-IF is excited to launch the USB Type-C Authentication Program, providing OEMs with the flexibility to implement a security framework that best fits their specific product requirements", said USB-IF President and COO Jeff Ravencraft. If you buy with a computer or phone that uses the USB Type-C authentication scheme, you could end up returning a lot of uncertified Type-C accessories and cables because they won't work with your hardware.

The new protocol from the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) can be used to validate the authenticity of a cable, charger or hardware at the moment of connection, and stop attacks in their tracks.

128-bit encryption will be deployed in the certified devices to ensure that no modifications have been made in the cable.

Furthermore, DigiCert has been named as the chosen company to oversee and manage the registration and certification side of the equation for the standard.

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As of now, hooking up your device with an unknown USB Type-C charger could be a major potential threat in terms of data security.

Participation in the program is voluntary for OEMs.

Another scenario that the USB-IF noted is when an organization needs to secure its IP (or state secrets, or whatever) on laptops that travel with their personnel. The authentication keys would prove a USB-C device is safe, allowing your computer or phone to connect.

There doesn't seem to be a timetable attached to this new type of authentication, and it remains to be seen how the rest of the companies that are not part of USB-IF will receive the news.

This new security feature will allow devices to authenticate USB-C connections for legitimacy, both on charging and data connections. This handshaking, the USB-IF explains, can take place either over the USB data bus or the USB Power Delivery (PD) communication channel. More security is always a good thing, right?

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