Published: Fri, January 04, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

C might soon offer more protection from security risks

C might soon offer more protection from security risks

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).

While having one cable for everything is incredibly convenient, the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) - the big kahuna of USB technology - is anxious about the future security of USB Type-C.

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

With the arrival of USB-C a few years back, plugging into laptops, tablets and smartphones became even easier than before.

The USB-IF has chosen DigiCert to operate registrations and certificate authority services for the new specification, which makes use of 128-bit cryptographic-based authentication for certificate format, digital signing, hash and random number generation. It can also recognize certificates and capabilities of the connected device (such as an external hard drive).

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Jeff Ravencraft, President and COO of the USB-IF, commented: "USB Type-C adoption continues to grow and the interface is quickly establishing itself as the solution of choice for connecting and charging an endless variety of devices". An MFI Certified product means it's safe for your iOS device.

What is USB Type-C?

It's called USB Type-C and as you've probably noticed ...

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

With the USB-C Authentication in place, any host machine that receives an input from a USB-C device - say, a charger for example - will be able to accurately determine whether or not that device is authentic and whether it poses a risk to the machine and the contents therein.

For the moment, this authentication will not be a mandatory addition to USB-C devices, but this could change going forward according to the Forum. We'll have to wait and see how restrictive the implementations are, but this certainly gives Apple an opening to make the next iPhone Type-C and force you to purchase its expensive first-party cables.

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