USB type-C gains ability to securely verify certified cables and devices

USB type-C may be the wave of the future, bringing its advanced connectivity to the latest generation of smartphone flagships, but its rise to prominence has been plagued by some bad PR, especially as poorly-made cables and adapters infiltrated the market and found themselves blamed for damaging some expensive hardware. Retailers and concerned consumers had taken it upon themselves to identify and stop sales of non-standard USB type-C accessories, but would that be enough to win back the trust of shoppers? The USB 3.0 Promoter Group isn’t taking any chances, and today announces a new authentication protocol designed to allow secure certification of chargers, devices, cables, and power sources.

The system allows devices to interrogate all the hardware connected to them over USB type-C and verify details like power-transfer capabilities. More than helping to weed-out shoddily made cables, the authentication system has the capacity to allow devices to define their own security protocols: maybe a business could enhance security by only letting its employees transfer data via approved white-listed USB drives, for instance.

While all this sounds noble, should we be just the slightest bit apprehensive about cryptographic certification over-complicating something that really should be quite simple? Sure, there appear to be some very real benefits from this scheme, but are we looking at a future where USB becomes as locked-down and controlled as Apple’s proprietary Lightning cables (with their own controversial authentication chips)?

We’re trying not to get too paranoid here, and will reserve judgment until we start seeing this system in action.

Source: USB 3.0 Promoter Group
Via: Phandroid

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!