You are rushing to the airport and forgot to have your smartphone charge. So, you decided to have it charge at the airport, using some strange USB ports. Although you are risking to have your private data syncing to another devices or high in getting unwanted virus to your smartphone, you have no choice because you can’t afford to have your phone turned off.
Does the scenario sound familiar to you? It might happen to you at least once, if not countless of times considering how fragile a smartphone’s battery life is. While not everybody carries an external battery, those who do not have one are risking having their devices charge at fake charging stations, which can backup your data to a computer and making it accessible to others.
Worry no more. Security experts have recently created a device which can prevent accidental syncing of your information or getting unwanted viruses. Known as the “USB Condom”, this small chip comes along with both male and female ports.
As the ports connect the power cables between your smartphone with the unknown USB port, it however, will severe any other potential data connection. The USB Condom will cut off the data pins in the USB cable and allowing only the power pins to connect through the device, preventing possible attacks such as “juice jacking”.
Wrapped only in a single protective cover, USB cables are composed of few entwined cables, which some of it allow data transfer while two provide five volts of electricity. To charge your devices, only the two cables that transfer electricity are needed, and that’s what the USB Condom will do – filter the other cables that will put you at the risk of infection by malware or unnecessary data transfer.
USB condom was first launched and sold by Xipiter, an information security firm last year. It was launched as an experiment at the security resource website INT3.cc and the first batch of USB condoms were quickly sold out.
The second batch of USB Condoms are now being funded and manufactured via Crowd Supply, a production website, and is available to the public. The USB Condom is sold at USD10 (SGD12.50) per piece or USD72 (SGD89.80) for a pack of 10 units or USD499 (SGD622.30) for a pack of 100. To purchase or for more information on the USB Condom, please visit its Crowd Supply’s page.