Electric vehicles and charging stations fuel cybersecurity concerns

October 21, 2022

Montana Lending

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The increase popularity of electric vehicles prompted the Biden Administration to announce that the government would allocate $5 billion to fund the growing demand for electric vehicle charging stations across the country, but these stations can pose an invisible danger.

Check Point Software Technologies’ Pete Nicoletti recommends that manufacturers of all-electric vehicles address a myriad of cybersecurity risks, saying “hackers can affect a large number of electric vehicle chargers at once.”

Nicoletti argues that EV chargers aren’t “hardened” against physical attack and could easily be used in the same way hackers target ATMs to steal data. “Hackers all know that if you can touch it, you can hack it easily.”

GM and Lead Company to Build Coast-to-Coast EV Fast-Charging Network (GM/Fox News)

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Electric cars are vulnerable to data breaches and “man-in-the-middle” attacks, as discussed in UN Regulation No. 155. Hackers can steal personal information, open unauthorized files, and gain Internet or physical access to a car’s server.

In the event of a hack, all data held on the backend servers could be lost or compromised. Any easily leaked information about an electric vehicle can allow someone to eavesdrop on communications. Drivers can use data manipulation to falsify the driver’s identity when communicating with toll systems. It also allows someone to change their mileage and driving speed.

A hack of an electric vehicle charging station could cause network hostages to be blackmailed, for example stability issues by starting and stopping charging on many chargers synchronously.

EV charging station

An electric vehicle charging station lights up green in the parking lot of a Ralph’s supermarket. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images/Getty Images)

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“In addition to knowing what makes an EV charger safe, it is important to understand common attack vectors that can make EV chargers vulnerable. unpatchable security breaches and application and ecosystem vulnerabilities,” said Mike Sheward, a security professional at IoT Particle. “EV chargers must be physically tamper-proof and equipped with the ability to detect energy theft.”

There are ways to mitigate these threats if you are driving an electric vehicle to avoid being the victim of a crime.

Location of the Tesla Supercharger

Electric vehicles (EVs) at a Tesla Supercharger location at a Hilton hotel in Bozeman, Montana, U.S., Wednesday, July 20, 2022. Across Montana’s 147,000 square miles, the state government recently counted 57 charging stations charging, mostly grouped together (Getty Images)

Nicoletti suggests drivers “report any suspicions, use a one-time password when setting up top-up accounts, use two-factor authentication upgrades whenever possible, update your cars and EV code as recommended by the manufacturer, monitor the manufacturer of your EV charging station and those you use in public, use a separate credit card for EV charging to easily monitor transactions and keep update your EV charger code.”

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Sales of electric cars (including all-electric and plug-in hybrids) doubled in 2021 to a new record high of 6.6 million, according to International Energy Agency. There are more electric cars sold each week than in all of 2012. This pattern of growth continues through 2022, alongside growing safety concerns regarding electric vehicles.