USB-IF is a non-profit build specifically for the development of the USB standard, and it's being supported by companies such as Microsoft, Intel, Apple, HP, and many others.
With the USB-C Authentication in place, any host machine that receives an input from a USB-C device - say, a charger for example - will be able to accurately determine whether or not that device is authentic and whether it poses a risk to the machine and the contents therein.
Now, the USB Implementers (USB-IF) has launched a new USB Type-C Authentication Program that aims to mitigate this issue, at least to some extent.
The spec uses 128-bit security and "existing internationally-accepted cryptographic methods for certificate format, digital signing, hash and random number generation".
Trustingly plugging a USB charging cable into any available public port can leave your device open to attack from hidden malware, could cause permanent damage from a power surge and may even open the door to your personal or business data. An MFI Certified product means it's safe for your iOS device.
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USB-IF has chosen to work with DigiCert which will be the certificate authority service for the program. This could also be used in enterprise, with a company limiting access to only verified USB-C devices.
That is all marvelous, but because every tool can be a weapon when used improperly and we can't have anything nice, there are fears that this program is essentially a DRM mechanism.
"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. The whole USB Type-C plan was about using one connector to support all manner of protocols, from Thunderbolt 3 to Power Delivery, and letting OEMs figure out which ones they wanted to implement.
The goal of the program is to create a secure handshake between different USB Type-C devices. More security is always a good thing, right?