Security flaws may allow hackers to remotely switch the chargers on and off, remove the owner’s access, and lock or unlock the charging cable.
Israeli tech media NoCamels analyzed the potential risks of EV charging stations being targeted by hackers. According to the authors, disabling entire networks may cause havoc, as the charging stations connect to the electricity grid and can jeopardize power supply in general.
The first risk is denial of service, which means you cannot charge your car. The second risk is that your EV is talking to the charging station exchanging messages on how much charging time and how much battery is left. That could be an entry point, actually to hack into the vehicle,
says Yoav Levi, CEO of Upstream Security, an Israeli startup providing software protection to keep EV charging stations safe.
There are currently around 2 million public charging stations globally and many more private ones. The numbers will rise exponentially in the coming years as car manufacturers phase out fossil fuels altogether and go electric-only. In this context, EV chargers can allow hackers access to the grid.
Somebody could give a command to the whole fleet of charging station to start charging, creating fake demand from the grid, that it can’t supply, and it shuts down,
In November 2021, a vulnerability in the app of a UK domestic car charging provider revealed the full names, addresses, and charge history of more than 140,000 users. In July 2021, researchers uncovered security flaws in devices from Wallbox and Project EV that allowed them to remotely switch the chargers on and off, remove the owner’s access, and lock or unlock the charging cable.
In March, a group of hackers disabled EV charging stations on the highway between Moscow and St Petersburg in Russia, as a way to take revenge for the Ukrainian crisis. They posted “Glory to Ukraine” and “Death to the Enemy” on the screens of the chargers.
These cases highlight the risks to individual drivers, but the bigger danger is a full-scale ransomware attack, that can bring down huge public network of charging stations. So far, there are no known cases of such cases, but industry experts believe they will happen in future.