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USB group steps in with software solution to rogue USB-C cables

Le 25 July 2016, 08:29 dans Humeurs 0

USB group steps in with software solution to rogue USB-C cables

ROGUE USB TYPE-C CABLES could soon be caught before they fry things, thanks to an announcement from the group that designed the specification which is being ignored by so many.

The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) has announced the "USB Type-C Authentication specification", a set of software-defined rules that a device can use to protect itself from potential sizzlage.

The announcement explained that "host systems can confirm the authenticity of a USB device or USB charger, including such product aspects as the descriptors/capabilities and certification status. All of this happens right at the moment a wired connection is made, before inappropriate power or data can be transferred."

Concerns about USB-C safety have been championed by Google engineer Benson Leung, whose one-man crusade to single out shonky USB-C cables for sale on Amazon led to the sacrifice of his £1,500 Google Pixel C.

The new software promises a standard protocol for authenticating devices, cables and power sources, made over data bus or power delivery channels with products retaining previously set security policies.

It will use 128-bit security and standard cryptographic methods for certificate format, digital signing, hash and random number generation.

Of course, the premise of software-defined USB control is as old as time itself, or at least the Tesco Hudl 2, which suffered for a long time from a software 'feature' designed to stop you using the wrong charger, but which in reality stopped you using any charger at all.

“USB is well established as the favoured choice for connecting and charging devices,” said Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 Promoter Group chairman.

“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.”

The software, which could be embedded in any device or operating system, can also protect against malware hidden in a USB interface. However, equally, The INQUIRER wonders whether this software could itself be a target for hackers who could tell a benign USB cable to fry a device.

“USB-IF is unwavering in our mission to solidify USB Type-C as the single cable of the future,” said Jeff Ravencraft, USB-IF president and COO. “USB Type-C Authentication is an important contribution to enable a thriving ecosystem of compliant, interoperable products.”

Earlier this week, another team of Google engineers revealed a first draft for WebUSB, a protocol that will allow USB devices to communicate directly with the internet, offering the potential for true plug and play. μ

Toddy Cable Launches Kickstarter For Customizable Lightning, Micro-USB Cables

Le 14 July 2016, 09:11 dans Humeurs 0

Toddy Cable Launches Kickstarter For Customizable Lightning, Micro-USB Cables

If you’re reading this site, chances are very good that you’ve got a smartphone. If you’ve got a smartphone, you undoubtedly know all about having to keep that smartphone charged. You may work with other people who own smartphones, and you may, on occasion, share your charging cable with those people. While there are some variations in Lightning and Micro-USB cables, more often then not they all end up looking pretty similar to one another.  Toddy Gear, a company based in our home city of Chicago, has made its name with some outside the box designs for power banks, device stands, and cleaning cloths. They have recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for their newest creation: The Toddy Cable.

Toddy Cables offer a quality USB to Lightning or Micro-usb wall chargers and sync cable that you can customize to your liking (no USB Type C at this time, sorry!). You can choose from any one of the numerous designs already available, or if you’re feeling creative you can even provide your own design to be printed on your cable. The customization doesn’t stop at the cable itself. You can even have your name, organization, favorite silly word, etc. printed onto the USB plug itself.

You might be thinking that cables are cheap, and will just break with limited use, but Toddy Cable has you covered there too. Toddy Gear was kind enough to send me an early sample, and it’s definitely a well-constructed usb cable — check back soon and we’ll have a full review. It’s sufficiently thick without feeling too bulky, the Micro-USB tip is nice and slim, and the design and customization definitely look great.

There are still quite a few of the early bird tier pricing still available, which will get you your own customized cable for just $12. This might be a couple bucks more than your standard bulk cable, but for the price you’re getting a quality cable, (Apple certified in the case of the Lightning model) customized in a way that will be unique to you. Toddy Cables would make great gifts too. Several commenters on the project page have suggested that this would be a great way to keep their kids from poaching each other’s cables.

Check out the Kickstarter video below, and head on over to their project page to show your support. The project will close on May 19th, and they’re currently a little over a quarter of the way to their goal.

What do you think about Toddy Cables? Tell us the kind of design or customization you’d like to have in the comments below, or on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter; and don’t forget to check back for our full review coming soon.

Seidio USB Cables Review: High Quality USB Cable Options

Le 6 July 2016, 09:28 dans Humeurs 0

Seidio USB Cables Review: High Quality USB Cable Options

We’ve recently reviewed some Seidio cases here on Techaeris, and our Seidio USB cables review takes a very quick look at some of their USB-C cable offerings.

Like most USB cables, Seidio’s design is pretty straightforward. Whether it’s the USB-A to USB-C, USB-A to Micro-USB, or Micro-USB female adapter to USB-C cables, each cable is covered with a smooth finish black and grey Nylon braided cable which increases durability and longevity. The connector ends are housed in a hard sturdy plastic shell, which provide a good grip and rigidity when inserting it into your charging adapter or device. The cables are also available in 0.5′. 1′, 3′, and 6′ lengths — depending on which cables you’re looking at. The longer cables also include a velcro strap for easier storage when the cable is wrapped up. As far as USB cables go, the Seidio cables are pretty classy looking with the braided cable design.

Nothing unexpected here, these cables worked exactly as expected. Whether connecting to a Micro-USB or USB-C device, the connectors are solid, and fit snugly into all the devices I tried. The cables powered, charged, or transferred data just fine, and I had no issues at all using the USB-C cables with my Nexus 6P or my wife’s Nexus 5X. The Micro-USB female adapter to USB-C adapter worked like a charm as well, and I had no issues using it to achieve rapid charging with my Nexus 6P.

While the Seidio USB cables aren’t the cheapest around, they’re also not the most expensive. Ranging in price from $9.95 for a pair of USB 2.0 to Micro-USB to $16.95 for a single USB 3.0 to Type C cables, the Seidio cables are pretty reasonably priced for the build quality. Coupled with their current site-wide 30% off spring sale, you’re definitely getting a great value with these cables. Enter the promo code SPRING16 at checkout for your discount.

If you’re looking for high-quality USB cables, you can’t go wrong with the cables offered by Seidio with their Nylon wrapped cable design.

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