USB Condom – Keeping you Safe

Come on own up how many times have you had unprotected power ups from a 3rd party USB port. You know the scenario your smart phone is on its last legs and you urgently need to connect it to something, anything, just to give you a quick blast of power to satisfy your hunger for more social interactions.

Of course we all know that plugging our smart phone (or tablets) into any random USB port just to give it a power boost is risky (don’t we?). The problem is that when you connect your phone or tablet into using a USB cable you’re not just saying “please charge me” you’re also saying (whether you realise it or not) oh I while I’m connected feel free to help yourself to whatever data you fancy on my phone or tablet!!

Any USB cable that you use to charge your smartphone is designed to do two things – transfer data and transfer power. At the moment you can’t get one without the other because both functions are built into a single six strand cable. Even more worrying is that the data-transfer is two way so not only do you put your data at risk of being copied but you could find that malware is transferred to your phone or tablet – Oh the price of a quick, cheap charge!

It’s not impossible to see a scenario where some unscrupulous people might deploy fake charging stations purely to harvest data from unsuspecting users.

There are two simple ways to protect yourself:

  • Don’t ever plug your smartphone or tablet into any PC or charging station (via USB) unless you are absolutely sure that it’s safe to do so.
  • If you absolutely have to plug in to a 3rd party source the use a USB Condom.

Xipiter USB Condom

What on earth is a USB Condom I hear you asking yourself! Well, some very clever people at Xipiter have developed a handy little device that you plug your USB cable in before you connect it to any untrusted PC or charging station. The USB Condom (aka SyncStop) blocks access to the data wires in a standard USB cable but still allows the power cables – effectively it puts a safe sheath over the end of the USB connector, hence the reference to it as a “Condom”.

Xipiter is currently raising funding via KickStarter so if you want to jump on board early the go check them out. In the meantime have fun but stay safe when charging.

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