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. The suggests usage of a cryptographic-based authentication to ensure a secure connection between USB Type-C devices and chargers, amongst other accessories.
The new protocol from the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) can be used to validate the authenticity of a cable, charger or hardware at the moment of connection, and stop attacks in their tracks.
When the Authentication Program comes into existence, hardware manufacturers will be able to build this technology into, say, a PC, which will then be able to confirm that any USB device plugged into a port isn't malicious by nature. Instead of playing Russian roulette with a third party charger, whether it's one you buy from Amazon or a charging port at a public terminal, the authentication should ameliorate any risky connections.
The Forum has also announced that it has selected DigiCert as the certificate authority for the Program.
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It is optional for OEMs to participate in the Authentication program as of now. Sure, you may end up without the ability to juice up your phone at the airport, but it's better than the alternative.
There doesn't seem to be a timetable attached to this new type of authentication, and it remains to be seen how the rest of the companies that are not part of USB-IF will receive the news.
Certain software policies will be imposed on Type-C devices that will allow OEMs to restrict certain USB functions on the basis of the certification status.
Presently, there is no standard to determine the authenticity of USB Type-C connectors, and this poses a challenge for system administrators; they have to take additional measures to prevent the exploitation of USB ports. It will also include support for USB power delivery communication channels with 128-bit encryption for all authentication methods. More security is always a good thing, right?