"Better safe than sorry."
However hackneyed a sentiment, it's tried to the point of trueness. Safety has become the compass navigating the design of everything from cradles to cars. A paramount concern in the computer world, anti-viral software is a near mandatory side purchase when buying a PC.
But what about tablets and smartphones, those devastatingly popular gadgets we are virtually helpless without? How safe are they when we say, plug them into random computers for a quick power boost? Unfortunately, not very, and until now this has been an accepted peril.
Both the tool and the data stored within are at risk when we plug them into public computers, particularly the ever-alluring free charging kiosks at airports, for instance. It's called juice-jacking: a smartphone dumps its data into the source charging it, and the source — if rigged with malware — could steal private data like photos and videos. These free for all charging booths could even pass on its viruses to the device.
Hence the much needed for protection. Int3.cc, a security startup, has stepped up to the plate with its USB condom (nope, there is no other branding for it), a gadget whose name says it all. This tiny device is engineered to protect smartphones and tablets from the dangers of data exchange when connecting to another source, Discovery.com reports. Stephen A. Ridley created the USB Condoms. They work by cutting off the data pins in a standard connector so that only power pins to connect through. Bye bye data exposure, hello charging action!
The USB condoms are slated for release this week. There's no price yet published on the company's website, but the company says they will be available for "very, very cheap." It's a huge problem solved in a quite small and simple way. Even the U.S. government, perpetually cautious of hacking, should be pleased with this invention, if it hasn't already got its own.