Earlier this year the alarm was raised on a practice called “juice jacking,” where malicious bad actors use public charging ports to steal your data. OSOM, the privacy-focused brand that was building the spiritual successor to the Essential Phone, has a solution in its new “Privacy Cable.”
The OSOM “Privacy Cable” is a USB-C to USB-C cable capable of handling 60W charging and data transfer, but it has a special trick up its sleeve.
On one end of the cable, you’ll find a physical switch that controls whether or not data can be transferred through the cable. It’s a simple premise, and one that OSOM executes well. The braided cable feels extremely premium, and the two ends have metal casing, too.
And, in practice, it works rather well. I don’t many public charging spots in my local city, but testing with a laptop’s USB-C port and my Pixel Fold, hitting the switch immediately killed data access as advertised. The cable also ensures it’s reasonably easy to see if transfer is turned on at a glance, though it feels a little unintuitive at first.
When transfer is enabled, you’ll see an LED turned on and a red dot next to the physical switch. When the cable is only allowing charging, there’s no LED or any other indicator. I would have liked to have seen a green light when transfer is enabled and a red light when it’s off, but either way, it works well enough once you’ve tried it out at least once.
But, as premium as the cable is and as well-executed as the product is, I can’t ignore that there are way simpler solutions to “juice jacking.” The $30 spent here could easily go to a really solid power brick, or even a decent battery bank. Both of those skip the way “juice jacking” works entirely. And, anyway, the cable is USB-C to USB-C, which isn’t super relevant in this context given most public charging ports are USB-A.
The other unfortunate flaw is the transfer speed. The OSOM Privacy Cable is limited to USB 2.0 speeds, which is a crying shame in 2023, especially for a product this pricey.
Still, OSOM’s Privacy Cable just earned a place in my backpack. The excellent quality speaks for itself from the moment you pick it up, and the utility of having a cable with this safety trick may not come up often, but it’ll be handy to have that available on the go.
You can buy the OSOM Privacy Cable for $29.99 on Amazon, but for Prime Day this week, it’s down below $24, which makes it a bit more enticing.
More on Android:
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.