Never plug in without this security device.
August is a deadly time to visit Las Vegas thanks to Defcon, one of the world’s largest hacker conventions. If you take your chances and visit Sin City during that time, you could easily become a target for attacks – even when you just want to charge your phone. When you plug your smartphone into a random USB port to charge, you risk infecting your device with any number of viruses or malware. Nowadays it is risky plugging in via USB ports anywhere at any time. I won’t plug my devices into any random USB ports because of the risk of malware being injected. Fortunately, there are security accessories that can help protect you from those sort of attacks. StarTech.com created the Secure Charging USB Data Blocker Adapter, a little device that helps block unwanted data transfer. Now, I carry it with me everywhere I go.
The Secure Charging USB Data Blocker Adapter is small. It’s basically just the size of a USB flash drive – if not smaller. The purpose of this adapter is to allow for a device to charge without being able to transmit or receive data signals. The adapter does not have data pins, which provides actual physical data blocking. The absence of these pins also prevents theft/corruption and data leaks. The adapter is ideal for using while at corporate or public events. The adapter delivers 5V/2.4A of power (12W max) and works with all USB Type-A cables. It has smart onboard chips that identify the device’s power requirements and adjusts the output accordingly. The adapter is portable and measures 1.3″L x 0.7″W x 0.4”H. It is made with TPE plastic for durability and features aluminum-mylar foil shielding for noise-free DC power to devices.
The Secure Charging USB Data Blocker Adapter arrived in a small ziplock style bag with the StarTech.com info printed on it. There is no software required for operation. The adapter is simply plug-n-play. I tested it out in a couple of ways. First, I wanted to see how the adapter fit on a traditional USB-A plug. I didn’t have any issues with connecting the cable to the adapter. It wasn’t stiff or hard to plug in at all. The second part of the test was to see if the device I was connecting to my computer would show up as a data-based device. For example, when you plug an iPhone into a MacBook, you will usually receive a prompt that shows that data syncing is available. That was the type of notification I was looking for. Fortunately, the adapter did its job and I was only able to power connected devices and not fully connect to them.
This little EDC adapter can save you from that chance experience where you are desperate to find a quick charge just to find out later that your device is now infected with whatever the exploit might be. This USB Type-A 4 pin male to USB Type-A 4 pin female adapter allows for charging but it removes the pins needed to transfer data. This makes it harder for hackers to force inject your device with malware when you plug into some random USB port. It’s been said for years that you should never pick up a random USB drive at Defcon for this very reason.
Once USB charging ports were discovered to be able to hold malware infection, devices like this Secure Charging USB Data Blocker Adapter from StarTech.com had to be designed. The problem lies with people not knowing how dangerous it is to go unprotected in highly trafficked areas. You may never even know that you came in contact with malicious software or a person trying to infect you. With smartphones being the center of everyone’s life and so much of that life is stored on them, extra protection and security are a must.
The Secure Charging USB Data Blocker Adapter makes it possible for you to charge at USB 2.0 speeds but allows you to protect your data while doing it. This little device fits easily in a pocket or in your computer bag. It’s a shame that devices like this have to be made but luckily companies like StarTech.com have been able to produce them.