Ankers away! USB-C cables recalled over freakin' fried phone fears

Now USB-C it, now you don't

Video Peripherals builder Anker has issued a recall after researchers found that one of its USB-C cables could potentially cause serious damage to connected hardware.

Researcher Nathan K found that the Anker PowerLine USB-C cables (model A8185011) used an improper method of identifying themselves, presenting as a device. This, in turn, can allow the cables to send a higher-than-intended voltage when plugged in as a charger, resulting in damage to connected devices such as smartphones or tablets.

Nathan's demo

The condition was later verified by Google's Benson Leung, an engineer who has carried out a one-man crusade to warn against the dangers posed by poorly-designed USB-C cables that, because of their ability to carry both data and power, have the potential to cause serious damage to connected electronics.

In this case, Leung says, the Anker cables could wipe out a smartphone if they were previously connected to a higher-voltage device like a notebook.

"Stop using the cable immediately, especially if your household has Type-C laptops like Chromebooks with 15V or 20V power supplies as well as 5V-only ones like Nexus phones," Leung said after the issue was verified.

While Anker did not respond to a Reg request for comment on the matter, Leung has received a notice the company sent out to customers who purchased the dangerous connectors through Amazon.

"To ensure that all of our customers are getting only the best-quality products from Anker, we have decided to recall all units of our Anker PowerLine USB-C A8185011 immediately," the notice reads.

"We are offering all of our PowerLine USB-C A8185011 users a full refund. In addition, we would like to offer a free Anker PowerLine USB-C cable to affected customers once we have improved Anker PowerLine USB-C A8185011."

Needless to say, anyone who receives this notification should stop using the cables immediately. ®

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