Protect your devices with a $10 'USB Condom'

Protect your devices with a $10 'USB Condom'

Summary: The USB Condom is a small and unobtrusive dongle that effectively turns any USB cable into a secure 'charge-only' cable to allow safe recharging from untrusted USB ports.

(Source: Xipiter)

When you connect your mobile devices to USB ports to get a much-needed recharge, do you worry about what else that USB port might be up to?

The USB port is a wonderful concept – after all, being able to transfer data and power through a single connection seems genius, but how do you know that your device isn't leaking your secrets in exchange for that power top-up?

If you're worried about juice-jacking, then this is the device for you – a $10 USB Condom designed and built by security R&D consultation firm Xipiter. This is a small and unobtrusive dongle that sits between your device and the untrusted USB port, allowing your device to be recharged without fear that your data will be stolen or your device infected with malware.

It works by electronically disabling the connector's data pins, which converts your USB cable into a charge-only cable, and thus prevents data from being transferred to or from your device.

All you have to do is pop the USB condom on the end of your charging cable, and you're ready for a recharge.

The USB Condom is available in three different flavors: Type A, Mini B, and Micro B connectors.

For $10, this seems like a must-have for road warriors and other folks who find themselves having to recharge their devices from untrusted USB ports.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Security

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  • I'll spoil the beans

    For 10 bucks, it's a ripoff. That thing doesn't do anything, it's just like if you stripped any USB cable and cut the data wires. Which by the way, would look way better than an ugly PCB (and it's way too big, considering it doesn't have any components. If you look at the picture, it only has some sort of resistors, which play no role on what it's supposed to do. This is no "condom", it's just a stripped wire in the form of a PCB.
  • Alternative approach

    So people can buy this "mush-have", and carry it around along with a USB cable, hoping to find someone stranger's USB port to charge.
    Or they can carry one of their own ultralight USB chargers, one of those that came with each of their last 3 phones and 2 tablets they bought.
  • Except...

    ...that you can purchase power-only usb cables that do the same thing.
    • Apple problem

      Then you run into the Apple proprietary cable problem.
      Buster Friendly
  • You Are an Easy Mark

    "For $10, this seems like a must-have for road warriors and other folks who find themselves having to recharge their devices from untrusted USB ports."

    While you are at it I got the deed to the Brooklyn Bridge. I can sell it to you for a good price.
    As others said a wall charger is cheaper or used and old charger cable or usb cable and tape over the center two pins.
  • Turn off your device?

    Couldn't you just turn off your device before plugging it in to charge?