'USB condom' protects devices charging of untrusted computer from data transfer

'USB condom' protects devices charging of untrusted computer from data transferUSB ports are ubiquitous on our electronic devices as a way to charge them and transfer data. But they’re also an easy entry point for malware or other nasty viruses.

Enter the USB condom. These prophylactics for your digital devices are plugged into the end of a USB cable, and allow electricity to flow through while preventing data from being transferred or accessed. People seem to be fascinated by them.

The attachments are touted as removing the risk of hacking or contracting viruses when a device is plugged into public USB ports, or computers that a user can’t vouch for. The device also speeds charging by up to four times, claims its maker, a company called PortaPow.

USB connectors contain pins that transfer data or electricity. Removing the data pins means only electricity gets transferred when a connector is plugged in. You can even make your own with a bit of soldering. PortaPow is far from the only vendor selling USB data blockers. A company called SyncStop sells them (it says it coined the term in 2013, although PortaPow says it’s been selling cables that prevent data-transfer since 2008) in bulk to clients like Morgan Stanley and Facebook, according to its website.
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