USB Type-C is getting safer with cryptographic authentication

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

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.

This means that users can charge a device at a terminal, knowing that it is a certified charger. Additionally, a company would be able to set a policy for its PCs that only allows them to read verified USB devices.

The USB-IF says that with its new authentication protocol, the host device would be able to in effect enter in a secure "handshake" with another USB-C device, confirming its identify. The USB Type-C Authentication Program was launched yesterday and is said to be an important milestone for the advancement and adoption of USB technology.

128-bit encryption will be deployed in the certified devices to ensure that no modifications have been made in the cable. DigiCert is managing the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and certificate authority services for the program, a fact the group touted in its own press release.

USB Implementers Forum today announced the launch of its USB Type-C Authentication Program that brings cryptographic-based authentication for USB Type-C chargers and devices.

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At the current time, participation in the authentication program is optional for OEMs.

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.

Support for authenticating over either USB data bus or USB Power Delivery communications channels.

The goal of the program is to create a secure handshake between different USB Type-C devices. It will surely be relishing the prospect of the payments that will flow when the USB Type-C Authentication Protocol is implemented.

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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