USB Implementers Forum has announced an upgrade for the USB-C standard which would allow for cryptographic security. This built-in security feature will enable any system which uses the updated standard to ascertain whether a USB-C port or cable is authentic right when the connection is made.
This isn’t that different from Apple’s MFi or Made for iPhone program. MFi-certified cables and chargers are manufactured to a defined standard and are thus completely safe for iOS devices. Non-compliant cables and chargers can often end up damaging devices.
The USB Type-C Authentication will allow for increased safety. For example, it will thwart bad actors who replace charging points in public places like coffee chops with a device that’s programmed to deliver malware. It will also protect devices against cheap chargers that don’t deliver the right amount of power.
According to the USB Implementers Forum, the cryptographic authentication happens right when a connection is made and before any sort of device access is permitted. It can take place over either data or power delivery channels. It’s pertinent to mention here that this updated standard is optional at this point in time. It’s up to OEMs or device manufacturers to decide whether or not they want to adopt it.