OSOM’s OV1 charging cable claims to protect user privacy while the smartphone is being charged. Is this concept actually useful, or merely a gimmick?
OSOM‘s new charging cable claims to protect user privacy when the smartphone is being charged. While there are simpler ways to protect phones from data thieves when charging them, OSOM’s “Privacy Cable” does present an added convenience for users who are serious about privacy. OSOM is also making an OV1 smartphone which will be powered by a Snapdragon 8-series processor and is expected to ship in late 2022.
When Android co-founder Andy Rubin’s Essential company shut down in 2020, many of its employees joined forces to build their own. The result is OSOM, a privacy-focused phone brand made up of ex-Essential employees. The upcoming OV1 (short for OSOM Vault 1) smartphone puts a major emphasis on privacy in both hardware and software, and is considered as a spiritual successor to Essential’s PH-1. While the OV1’s design is similar to the Essential Phone, the company is banking on security to be its selling point, and this is a focus with its charging cable too.
In a Tweet, OSOM teased its Privacy Cable, which seems to be an adaptive smart charging cable that ships in the box with the OV1 smartphone. The cable itself appears to have a sturdy, braided design, with the inclusion of a physical switch that sits below its charging light indicator. OSOM claims toggling the switch turns off data collection when charging. According to a previous report from NBC, “juice jacking” is a pretty serious threat that involves hackers injecting malware into phones of unsuspecting victims using compromised public charging stations. OSOM’s included OV1 accessory aims to address that problem with the flip of a switch.
Do Users Really Need A Privacy Cable?
Most charging cables included in smartphone packages are usually dual-purpose, in the sense that they come with both data and charging pins, allowing users to both charge the phone and transfer data. The physical toggle on OSOM’s Privacy Cable acts as a ‘kill switch’ that deactivates the data pins used for transferring information. However, that doesn’t mean users have to get this type of cable to avoid a juice-jacking predicament.
Users can simply use ‘dumb’ cables that are meant strictly for charging whenever they need to charge in public. These cables don’t include data pins, which in itself, already takes away the hacker’s ability to mess with the phone’s data, and are fairly common and usually cheaper than ones that are capable of data transfer. Since this threat usually happens in public spaces, another solution is only charging a phone when at home and if needed, using a power bank when away from home. While OSOM‘s USB-C charging Privacy Cable isn’t exactly a must-have, it does present a convenient all-in-one solution that, at the very least, attempts to address a growing problem.
Next: How Android Privacy Sandbox Protects You From Invasive Ads
Sources: Twitter/OSOM, NBC
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