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USB-C security boosted by authentication system

(Image credit: Image Credit: Denvit / Pixabay)

It's nothing new that USB devices can be a risk to use, but what people may not realise is that USB cables and charges can also pose a risk. For example, inappropriate power can hurt a device's battery and, in some cases, smartphones won't accept a system upgrade unless connected to a computer via a compliant USB-C cable.

USB Implementers Forum, or USB-IF, is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to eliminate this problem by standardising all relevant USB-C devices through the Authentication Program.

The USB-IF Authentication Program's goal is to confirm the authenticity of a USB device, cable or charger. This will happen the very moment a device is plugged in, so no data or power should be transferred.

DigiCert will be managing the PKI and certificate authority services for the program.

"As the USB Type-C ecosystem continues to grow, companies can further provide the security that consumers have come to expect from certified USB devices," USB-IF president and COO Jeff Ravencraft said.

According to ZDNet (opens in new tab), the USB Type-C Authentication solution will include the following:

- A standard protocol of authentication for USB Type-C chargers, devices, cables, and power sources;

- Support for authenticating over either USB data bus or USB power delivery communications channels;

- Products that use the authentication protocol and retain control over the security policies implemented and enforced;

- 128-bit security for all cryptographic methods; and specification references for existing internationally-accepted cryptographic methods in relation to certificate format, digital signing, hash, and random number generation.

Image Credit: Denvit / Pixabay

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.