Free Software Will Help Detect Faulty And Malicious USB-C Cables

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HP, Intel and Microsoft-backed USB-C authentication guidelines will help protect against security threats and damaged devices

New authentication protocols will help protect consumers, and any work machines they might use, from malicious or faulty USB-C products.

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group, which developed the technology back in 2008 and includes major companies such as HP, Intel and Microsoft, hopes the official USB Type-C Authentication specification will help end a number of recent incidents where sub-standard cables have either ripped off buyers or damaged devices

Software will be made available to download free of charge and can detect whether an approved cable or charger is being used, and will warn the user if this is not the case.This protection will even extend to checking whether the cable carries the correct encryption and security protocols in order to keep the user safe from advanced hacking tactics.

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USB cable Type A Typeb B © JIANG HONGYAN ShutterstockIt’s hoped that the new authentication protocol will allow devices to alert that may be using a non-authenticated cable before it begins charging, and allow PCs to detect if a USB Type-C drive is properly encrypted before it begins to access the data within.

Given the stature of some of the supporters of the technology listed above, it’s expected that hardware manufacturers could either ship their devices with the authentication system in place or release it as an update at a later date.

Earlier this month, Amazon said it would be adding USB-C cables and adapters that do not comply to standard regulations to its list of prohibited electronics items.

The new guidelines will apply to any merchant selling items through its Amazon Sellers programme, with any firm found out to be disobeying the rules facing a shutdown of their Amazon account and the destroying any of their products stocked in any Amazon fulfilment centres.

“USB is well-established as the favored choice for connecting and charging devices,” said Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 Promoter Group Chairman.

“In support of the growing USB Type-C ecosystem, we anticipated the need for a solution extending the integrity of the USB interface. The new USB Type-C Authentication protocol equips product OEMs with the proper tools to defend against ‘bad’ USB cables, devices and non-compliant USB Chargers.”

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