2 min read

Yesterday, the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the organization that supports the adoption of USB technology, launched a USB Type-C Authentication Program. The USB Type-C Authentication specification defines cryptographic-based authentication for USB Type-C chargers and devices.

The USB Type-C has been introduced on leading notebooks, smartphones, and other connected devices as it allows faster data transfer and more power delivery than the widely deployed USB Type-A interface. These USB devices while being extremely helpful in the computing landscape have also introduced new risks that result from simply plugging in a malicious USB device.

With the new authentication program, host systems can protect against non-compliant USB chargers and also mitigate risks from malicious firmware/hardware in USB devices that attempt to exploit a USB connection. The protocol also helps the host systems to confirm the authenticity of a USB device, USB cable or USB charger. All of this happens right at the moment a connection is made before inappropriate power or data can be transferred.

USB-IF President and COO Jeff Ravencraft said, “USB-IF is excited to launch the USB Type-C Authentication Program, providing OEMs with the flexibility to implement a security framework that best fits their specific product requirements. As the USB Type-C ecosystem continues to grow, companies can further provide the security that consumers have come to expect from certified USB devices.”

Characteristics of the USB Type-C Authentication program:

  • A standard protocol for authenticating certified USB Type-C chargers, devices, cables, and power sources
  • Support for authenticating over either USB data bus or USB Power Delivery communications channels
  • Products that use the authentication protocol retain control over the security policies to be implemented and enforced
  • Relies on 128-bit security for all cryptographic methods
  • Includes accepted cryptographic methods for certificate format, digital signing, hash, and random number generation

USB-IF selected DigiCert to manage the PKI and certificate authority services for the USB Type-C Authentication Program. Geoffrey Noakes, Vice President, IoT Business Development at DigiCert said, “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.”

To know more about this news head over to the USB Type-C Authentication specification.

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