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USB-C Authentication Protocol to Protect against Non-compliant Devices

We’ve reported in the past that non-compliant USB-C cables and devices can damage or destroy connected hardware. To address this problem, the USB 3.0 Promoter Group has announced the USB Type-C Authentication specification, a cryptographic authentication standard for USB devices. A phone equipped with USB-C authentication could reject a connection to a non-approved charger, for instance, if it hadn’t been certified as meeting necessary specs. However, the authentication protocol could also be used to prevent devices from connecting to fully compliant devices that didn’t meet some other business requirement. That would let companies restrict access to only verified USB storage devices, but could also allow manufacturers to lock customers into a proprietary ecosystem of approved devices. In short, beware the unintended consequences!

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