Subject: General Tech | January 3, 2019 - 12:46 PM |
Tagged: DRM, usb-c, usb-if

2019 is already shaping up to be an odd year as the USB Implementers Forum has proposed a way to utilize DRM for good!  Instead of focusing on preventing you from displaying media in inventive ways, they seek to use it to prevent dodgy USB-C cables from releasing the magic smoke from your favourite electronic devices.  They propose to include a bespoke 128-bit encryption key in the USB protocol which will only allow power to pass over a cable which can match a valid key, with the option to allow sysadmins to create their own to prevent non-approved USB devices to connect to secure systems.

The Inquirer does bring up one possible fly in the ointment, the proposed standard encompasses USB 3.0, USB 3.1, HDMI, DisplayLink and Thunderbolt; which may lead to some interesting repercussions.

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"But the USB-IF working group, which represents manufacturers of products that offer the standard, aren't giving up, with plans to create an "Authentication Program" to ensure that only reliable products can be used."

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January 3, 2019 | 03:47 PM - Posted by DoesOneEverFullyTrustDeviceOEMsIsTheRealQuestion (not verified)

As long the Crypto IP is only used to Verify that the hardware is vetted/certified and fully supports the Type-C/Other USB-IF cable standards and can be used to keep any NON certified USB Cable/Connector Knockoffs from frying folks PCs/Laptops/Devices.

I'm all for that BUT there is that DRM(Digitial Rights Management) dark side of this USB-IF Crypto/Certification standard force that could be used for hardware/ecosystem Lock-in and other OEM nefarious sorts of things that need to be Kept Out of the USB-IF's industry standards organization Type-C/other USB hardware standards.

I'd hate to see the PC/Laptop market become too John Deere like, for example, with farmers unable to make repairs or full usage of their Farm Equipment without paying the Man with the intrusive DRM. So that's what has me concerned with any limiting folks from making the most from the hardware that they purchased.

Maybe the USB-IF will have full control over the certificate granting and certificate management process so after the hardware passes the USB-IF's vetting/certification process the USB-IF will be the one that's in control of that part of their standards. I'd hate to have OEM's in control of that certificate granting process other than submitting their hardware to the USB-IF for vetting/certification.

The USB-IF is made up of all its Industry Members so that includes all the Big CPU/GPU processor makers, monitor makers, cable makers, and all the OEMs(MB, Laptop, other peripheral OEMs) also that make up the USB-IF's membership.

January 4, 2019 | 01:15 AM - Posted by Hakuren

Stupid move. If anything it'll empower corporations more. Perfect for Apple tho. Instead buying simple 5$ adapter (which works super fine BTW) you'll need to cough up 80 or 120$ for same adapter just with Apple logo on it or without logo but just sold by Apple (infamous catastrophic abomination in form of VESA mount for iMac Pro). Even more. Apple can kill MFi certification for good with USB/TB/DP/whatever DRM.

In all it is a long process of limiting user influence what he/she can do. UEFI was the first step of taking control away from PC user. Now corps like M$ can screw your system in a single command. You need Secure Boot for that, but you have no opt-out clause. If you don't use Secure Boot, can't use our OS. Simple. With BIOS everybody had to follow same rules and nobody went outside the limits. Now it is UEFI wild, wild West. UEFI was worst thing that happened to PCs and now we getting crypto-DRM-cables in near future. Don't fool yourself that it is for your own good.

January 4, 2019 | 06:20 AM - Posted by Drazen (not verified)

Thanks God (hackers) now we have malware infecting UEFI :)
So, thanks Chinese for cheap copies!
Is there any protection not broken yet?

January 5, 2019 | 09:21 AM - Posted by Becky (not verified)

Are you calling hackers God?

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