Menu
The nightmare of rogue USB-C cables and adapters will end soon

The nightmare of rogue USB-C cables and adapters will end soon

Proposed USB Type-C Authentication spec will verify that cables, chargers and power sources are compliant with standards

The wave of rogue USB-C products that poses risks to PCs and mobile devices hasn't gone unnoticed, and the USB Implementers Forum has taken steps to eradicate the issue once and for all.

A new specification announced by the USB 3.0 Promoters Group, which is part of USB-IF, aims to eliminate rogue cables, ports and chargers. The USB Type-C Authentication protocol will verify and ensure a USB-C connection won't fry a port or damage a device.

A host device like a smartphone or PC will first verify the authenticity of the cable, charger or power source before any data is transferred. If everything checks out, a connection will be established.

So if a smartphone or PC won't charge from a USB port in a public place, it's perhaps because there's a non-compliant component.

The goal is to protect devices, said Brad Saunders, chairman of the USB Promoters Group.

There's more to the authentication protocol, though. Policies can be established so only authorized USB-C products work with a host device. That's useful for businesses, who want only specific thumb drives or other USB-C devices to work with computers as a data protection measure.

Problems with rogue cables were first highlighted late last year by Google engineer Benson Huang. He pointed out the risks posed by such chargers and cables; the issue was mainly related to connections between USB-C and USB Type-A or Type-B devices, which have different sizes and power capabilities.

Huang praised the release of the new specification in a blog entry on Google+.

"Future Type-C chargers and devices will verify one another before enabling charging and data connectivity in order to protect from uncertified or counterfeit chargers and other accessories," he said.

The USB-C port first appeared in Apple's 12-inch MacBook Air, which was announced in March last year. It soon started appearing in other smartphones and PCs. Amazon currently does not sell USB-C cables or adapters that aren't compliant with specifications.

The rogue cables were mainly cheap cables released by little-known companies. Prominent companies are advertising their USB-C products as being compliant with the latest USB specifications to ease buyers' concerns.

USB-IF didn't immediately respond to questions on when the new authentication protocol will come into effect.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

HP channel recognised at 2017 Partner Awards

HP channel recognised at 2017 Partner Awards

The HP Partner Awards 2017 at Shed 10 kicked off with an AMD-sponsored hackers lounge, a mysterious gaming style area filled with dry ice and red lasers, the waiters wearing Mr Robot style masks.

HP channel recognised at 2017 Partner Awards
Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30

Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30

Leading figures within the technology industry across New Zealand came together to celebrate 30 years of success for Lexel Systems, at a milestone birthday occasion at St Matthews in the City.​

Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30
HP re-imagines education through Auckland event launch

HP re-imagines education through Auckland event launch

HP New Zealand held an inaugural Evolve Education event at Aotea Centre in Auckland, welcoming over 70 principals, teachers and education experts to explore ways of shaping and enhancing learning using technology.

HP re-imagines education through Auckland event launch
Show Comments