Possible cybersecurity risks from EV chargers | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Although there have been no security threats made to electric vehicles (EV),  experts believe that EV chargers can pose a risk and are highly unregulated. 

What You Need To Know

  • Electric vehicle sales were up 30% in March 2024 compared to March 2023
  • There are currently no guidelines or best security practices for electric vehicle chargers 
  • The Department of Energy has several offices working on research and technologies to keep charging stations more safe and secure

Last month, more than 122,000 hybrid electric vehicles were sold in the U.S., which is up almost 30% from the sales seen in March 2023. The country expects to see more electric vehicles hit the road over the next few years due to various initiatives and legislative actions taken by the Biden Administration. However, researchers are concerned about how secure charging stations are. 

They have found several vulnerabilities on popular brand charging stations. Hackers have the ability to infiltrate the devices in the vehicles which could give them access to user data, interrupt charging, or cause a blackout of all surrounding chargers. 

The risks posed to EV charging stations is no different from risks posed to newer technologies. However, the National Cybersecurity Alliance said that due to the massive push to get more EV chargers online, companies might not be doing all the necessary testing to ensure their product is safe and secure. These security risks could be hackers tapping into systems remotely or physically. If they are physically tampering with the chargers, the process mirrors that of a credit card skimmer you might find at a gas station. 

The Department of Energy is working to fund research and technologies that will make it safer for zero emission vehicles, but the National Cybersecurity Alliance said that there also needs to be standards and practices before more charging stations are rolled out. 

“Making sure firewalls are installed, making sure that you can’t just access the software in a charging station and things like that, and just really locking them down and making them difficult for anyone to tamper with,” said Cliff Steinhauer who works with the National Cybersecurity Alliance. “Having a way for them to be tested for vulnerabilities, and if they’re found, a way for them to be fixed at scale is just as important.”

Steinhauer said that there should also be rules, regulations and guidelines companies have to follow before going to market. He also recommended a certification process that we’ve seen in other technologies. 

“You know, Nest has worked on a UL type of certificate that you can put on an internet connected camera, for example, or your refrigerator or things like that just shows that the device is meeting minimum security standards,” said Steinhauer. “Those right now are optional and they’re still in development, but at some point, we’re going to want to make those mandatory.”

Experts and researchers are also calling for more research and testing to address how to fix and update EV charger technology remotely on mass, rather than sending out individual technicians. If you are an electric vehicle owner, the Alliance says to pay extra attention when charging. If a charger is not responding or seems to be tampered with, you might want to change locations. It is also important to monitor routinely any accounts you use when charging or that might be stored on your vehicle’s hard drive. 


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National Cyber Security