Aside from being super skinny and having less horsepower than its MacBook Air cousin, the new MacBook also came with one very notable feature: just a single, solitary port for everything. On the surface, the USB type-C standard seems pretty magical. It can be used to power a laptop and it’s totally reversible. It’s also one big security threat.
According to Gizmodo, USB-C could represent a fairly big security vulnerability, particularly on a machine like the new MacBook where it is the only option not only only for input and output, but also for power. This is because USB, in general, is very unsafe. You might remember the BadUSB malware from last year. You could avoid this by avoiding random USB flash drives and USB devices, but you can’t avoid having to charge your new MacBook.
What this means is that BadUSB, among all sorts of other bad things, can make its way onto your MacBook (or Chromebook Pixel) through your USBV type-C power supply. Should the NSA sneak its way into your power brick, like how it reportedly snuck its way in through your hard drive, you could be giving the spy agency full access to everything on your laptop. This could be a case of paranoia, to be sure, but it could also be a very legitimate concern. Indeed, just a compromised USB type-C cable is enough to sneak some malware onto your computer without your knowledge.
And maybe it’s partly because of this potential vulnerability and security threat that Apple isn’t completely claiming ownership for inventing the USB type-C standard, even if recently unearthed patents seem to indicate that they did. To be fair, a lot of what we see in USB Type-C reeks of being a faster, more powerful version of Lightning, don’t you think?