USB-IF launches USB Type-C authentication program

USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the support organization for the advancement and adoption of USB technology, has launched its USB Type-C Authentication Program, marking an important milestone for the optional USB security protocol. The USB Type-C Authentication specification defines cryptographic-based authentication for USB Type-C chargers and devices. USB-IF selected DigiCert to manage the PKI and certificate authority services for the USB Type-C Authentication Program.

USB Type-C Authentication empowers host systems to protect against non-compliant USB chargers and to mitigate risks from malicious firmware/hardware in USB devices attempting to exploit a USB connection. Using this protocol, host systems can confirm the authenticity of a USB device, USB cable or USB charger, including such product aspects as the capabilities and certification status. All of this happens right at the moment a connection is made – before inappropriate power or data can be transferred, indicates the press statement by the company.

“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,” said USB-IF President and COO Jeff Ravencraft. “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.”

Key characteristics of the USB Type-C Authentication solution include:

  • 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.

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