C Just Got a Huge Upgrade - What You Need to Know

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

This may not be the harm in the form of malicious intent but down to the fact that the charger or other device is manufactured poorly and does not comply with expected USB-C standards. The suggests usage of a cryptographic-based authentication to ensure a secure connection between USB Type-C devices and chargers, amongst other accessories.

The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) is ringing in the New Year with the launch of its USB Type-C Authentication Program, an optional security protocol that could potentially make it less risky to plug in a USB device. Though this issue exists with USB-A, the problem is compounded by the fact that USB-C is created to transfer data, charge devices and connect external displays.

"Any host system using this protocol will be able to confirm the authenticity of a device or charger, including descriptors and capabilities, right at the moment a connection is made", reads the report.

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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The USB-IF originally announced the authentication program in 2016, but it's taken all this time to get ready for launch.

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. Indeed, it gives OEMs a lot of control over those ports, and that control could be abused to, for example, lock out competitors' devices. The whole USB Type-C plan was about using one connector to support all manner of protocols, from Thunderbolt 3 to Power Delivery, and letting OEMs figure out which ones they wanted to implement. They say the "USB Type-C Authentication empowers host systems to protect against non-compliant USB chargers and to mitigate risks from malicious firmware/hardware in USB devices attempting to exploit a USB connection".

This has backfired a bit, though, because you can't tell by looking a given USB Type-C port what it actually offers.

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