New software protocol authenticates USB Type-C cables and protects from malicious attacks

Not too long ago, it was found that a substandard and out-of-spec USB Type-C cable. So bad, that it damaged a Chromebook Pixel 2. After that, Amazon made a point to ensure bad USB cables are not sold via its marketplace. Though it did help to curb an issue to an extent, it wouldn’t stop the cables from being sold.

Now, the USB implementers forum that’s headed by companies like Intel, HP and Microsoft have announced a new authentication protocol. The new protocol will check if the USB Type-C cable, device and/or the charger before allowing it to transmit power and allow data to and from the device. The encryption protocol will be using a 128-bit signature to authenticate the cables. The purpose of this cable is not only to prevent bad cables from being used, but it also ensures that no malicious hardware or software would no exploit any devices or systems via USB.

It’s unclear how this would be implemented or if it would apply for currently available devices, but its good to see that there is a solution that’s come up. Many of these devices that use type-C connectors are of a premium variant. We’ve already seen one of the well-known manufacturers who did not provide any information about an unsafe cable until it was tested by a Google engineer.

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