Thursday, 17 January, 2019

C Is Going to Get A Lot More Secure

New USB-C protocol paves way for more secure connections with USB-C to get security programme
Sherri Watson | 04 January, 2019, 02:47

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.

Now, the USB Implementers (USB-IF) has launched a new USB Type-C Authentication Program that aims to mitigate this issue, at least to some extent.

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

In addition to providing an added layer of security, the authentication program can also be useful in protecting against non-compliant USB chargers that might attempt to draw more voltage than is necessary, or safe. It can also recognize certificates and capabilities of the connected device (such as an external hard drive). First, it's possible to damage your devices with faulty cables.

"DigiCert is excited to work with USB-IF and its CA Program Participants from the industry at large to provide the technical expertise and scale needed for the USB Type-C Authentication Program, and we look forward to implementation", said Geoffrey Noakes, Vice President, IoT Business Development at DigiCert.

The other selling point of USB-C authentication is security.

One way an attacker can compromise a system is by hacking a USB device and making modifications to the firmware or other hardware.

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.

The USB-IF might have the best of intentions here, but the program could cause some headaches for consumers. And if you could still say that too many devices in 2018 still used the old microUSB port, chances are that in 2019, USB-C will truly be everywhere. Also, an OEM could conceivably use the program like DRM to force you to purchase specific accessories. It will surely be relishing the prospect of the payments that will flow when the USB Type-C Authentication Protocol is implemented.