USB Type-C products that are non standard compliant can be so dangerous that the USB 3.0 Promoter Group has introduced an Authentication protocol, to enable smartphones, laptops and other types of devices to detect out of spec USB Type-C cables and chargers.
The "authenticity" of the cable or charger will be determined "right at the moment a wired connection is made -- before inappropriate power or data can be transferred", so, for instance, there will be no risk of damaging your phone when you plug in a bad cable to charge it.
The USB Type-C Authentication solution is meant to be implemented by OEMs, so its effect will only be seen once major players start adopting it. "In support of the growing USB Type-C ecosystem, we anticipated the need for a solution extending the integrity of the USB interface. The new USB Type-C Authentication protocol equips product OEMs with the proper tools to defend against 'bad' USB cables, devices and non-compliant USB Chargers", says USB 3.0 Promoter Group chairman Brad Saunders.
As noted by the USB 3.0 Promoter Group, the solution offers:
- 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
- Specification references existing internationally-accepted cryptographic methods for certificate format, digital signing, hash and random number generation
Another benefit is that enterprises will be able to enforce a policy that only allows verified USB products to connect to the PCs under its roof. While the vast majority of PCs do not yet offer USB Type-C ports, this will slowly change and this option will no doubt start to get some attention from IT departments.
Of course, none of this helps if you have a USB Type-C device and want to make sure right away whether the cables and chargers that you plan to buy are adequate. So, we advise you to check reviews before purchasing anything, and also check the official list of approved USB Type-C cables and adapters.