C to get improved security in fight against malware-laden USB sticks

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

USB-C to get security programme

USB-IF is a non-profit build specifically for the development of the USB standard, and it's being supported by companies such as Microsoft, Intel, Apple, HP, and many others. This new program will enable host devices to protect against uncertified USB chargers.

Now, the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) - the big dog in the advancement of USB tech - has launched its USB Type-C Authentication Program, which will help mitigate these issues.

Relies on 128-bit security for all cryptographic methods. "All of this happens right at the moment a connection is made - before inappropriate power or data can be transferred", notes the announcement from USB-IF.

In other words, if one was concerned about charging one's phone at a public terminal, said phone could implement a policy that only allows charges from certified chargers.

USB-IF has chosen to work with DigiCert which will be the certificate authority service for the program.

At the current time, participation in the authentication program is optional for OEMs. Sure, you may end up without the ability to juice up your phone at the airport, but it's better than the alternative.

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It will also keep host systems safe from cheap or entirely non-compliant USB-C chargers and devices which could otherwise cause harm.

That is all marvelous, but because every tool can be a weapon when used improperly and we can't have anything nice, there are fears that this program is essentially a DRM mechanism. This handshaking, the USB-IF explains, can take place either over the USB data bus or the USB Power Delivery (PD) communication channel.

USB Type-C™ and USB-C™ are trademarks of USB Implementers Forum.

Given the fact that there are multiple different and malicious attacks out in the wild that wreak their havoc via USB, this Authentication Program will be particularly welcomed.

It's ultimately probably for your own good, but now you can add "Are these two devices that share a universal physical connector actually compatible, or is the authentication failing?" to your list of troubleshooting questions to ask when things go awry.

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